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The Jump Up Family

 

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Fred

Several years ago I met a man who was offering carriage rides at a local Summer fete.  I was attending the same fete doing draughtwork demos with my dogs.  The connection was immediate and we spent the afternoon discussing carting and the differences in the harnesses.

His horses were stunning and by the end of the day I’d fallen in love with them, particularly the big fella, and as we parted company I told him Charlie was coming home with me.  Little did I know what was coming!

A few weeks later I had a call from Fred who asked whether I really was interested in the horses because he would be retiring in the near future, and it was massively important his horses went somewhere special.  I admitted it was just a flippant comment and I wasn’t really in the market for a horse and carriage business, but that I’d love to come out driving with them if he didn’t mind……………….is it only me that didn’t see where this was going?

The rest is history, as they say.  From then on I traveled to Fred’s most days and he taught me to drive.  Eventually, when we agreed the time was right, my boys came home.  It was actually my birthday, 28th February 2013, and what an emotional day that turned out to be!

Fred continued to ‘learn’ me as he often said, and we spent many happy hours pootling on the carriage!  Fred nicknamed me ‘Smiler’ and people who saw us often commented on how we were always laughing, happy days indeed.

Sadly, in May 2013, Fred passed away quite suddenly, and left me bereft.

Fred had driven teams of Shires for Tetleys Breweries in his younger days (he owned 21 Shire Horses at one point!), these Cobs were his was of ‘down-sizing’ as he got older.  At 75 he was as capable of looking after his boys as he had been 30 years earlier, I just don’t know how he did it.  Fred was a phenomenal horseman who taught me so much.  I forever strive to be the horsewoman he believed I could be.

I miss him dearly.

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Me (Im the one in the middle!)

My love for animals goes way back.  Despite having eczema, asthma and hayfever as a child, and being allergic to just about everything I came into contact with (horses and cats being the absolute worst), I always managed to surround myself with furry critters, much to my parents concern!  I was obsessed by horses, my Grandparents would buy me books on them, I had a fabulous rocking horse, Dad even put a stable door on his shed so I could pretend ‘Blacky’ (my imaginary horse!) was in there.  My parents regularly gave in to my pleads for riding lessons, but they would always end in tears as I swelled like a balloon and struggled for breath!  It became obvious I was never going to share my life with a horse.   I finished school, went through college, started work, and put horses to the back of my mind…………..until I met Fred!  I still have to use an inhaler and take anti-histamines, but its bearable, and my boys are SO worth it!  Along with the horses I also have 3 Leonberger dogs and a parrot.  My little furry family is just perfect, and Im honoured to have each and every one of them in my life.  They bring so much joy to so many people it makes me proud, very proud, and to make this my profession too, is a dream come true.

It’s funny the twists your life takes to reach your destiny.

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Lesley & Graham Davies

What can I say?  The most wonderful selfless people I have ever met, and I couldn’t do it without them.  We’ve shared tears and laughter……………..but mostly laughter…………….in fact, lots of laughter. Life is more fun with a Davies!

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There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’

There are many more people (too numerous to name) ‘behind the scenes’ who help make Jump-Up possible, and my love and thanks go to every one of them.  From web-design through to carriage maintenance, I couldn’t do it without them.  I am blessed indeed.