In 2012, I saw Lee Pearson's dressage test at the Paralympics. He didn't win, but it didn't matter. The next week I rang up a stables and booked in for a riding lesson, my first in nearly 10 years.
I adored horses growing up, but lack of money and time meant I thought that was pretty much it for me and horse riding. I managed a solid six months after the Paralympics before a work course sucked up my Saturdays, and I ended up being sucked into running, and then running the marathon instead.
In 2015, I started riding again, and this time, it's stuck. It's been a bloody hard slog, because in my 30s, you're probably not used to doing anything regularly that you aren't very good at - certainly, this was the case for me. In November 2018, I went on a life-changing adventure with Relief Riders, an organisation which combines horse riding adventures with humanitarian work, reports from which will be published in 2019.
I have basically spent the last three years crying a lot, and spending a lot of money, and discovering that horse riding is actually a brilliant thing to do if you're someone prone to anxiety. A horse is a flight animal: you absolutely cannot also be a flight animal. It falls to you to be the one in charge, and give them the confidence to not jump 30 feet in the air because they've seen a particularly terrifying plastic bag (Jay), or cannot stand the look of the jump fillers with the moons on them (Mr Darcy).
I document my progress - slow though it is, steady it definitely is - in a series for The Gaitpost called The Urban Equestrian, on my Instagram, and on my Facebook page, also called The Urban Equestrian.