Equestrian

Equestrian

An Irish sojourn for Jo Foster

I’m on a high after recently returning from a few days away in Ireland mixing work with pleasure. It feels like I’ve lived a lifetime since I was last over in the Emerald Isle, so much has happened in the last seven months.

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Jo Foster finds she has her hands full with her Patterdale pups. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Jo Foster attempts to house train her Patterdale pups

If two words could describe certain parts of my life at the moment it would be ‘dog poo’. If it’s not changing the bin in Baffle’s secure dog field, picking it up off the driveway where customers have accidently left a pile, then it is cleaning up after my Patterdale’s three pups, which remain from the original seven.

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Jo Foster. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Jo returns home at last

I have been allowed to stand up for the first time in nine weeks. Last week I was given the precautionary go-ahead to begin the transfer from my wheelchair to crutches by the surgeon. It was a massive relief. It’s been a trial for all of us.

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: Yearning for freedom

Being contained inside for months can be mentally destructive. I can understand why caged wild animals lose their sanity. The times I yearn for space and freedom, craving to regain some control and independence in my life. I look out of the window and dream of endless horizons, to feel driving moorland rain against my face. Rural life in its harsh reality.

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Out of hospital but long road ahead

A long road of recuperation stretches rather bleakly ahead. I was finally released from hospital last weekend. Part of me was sad to leave behind the security of my room where staff could not do enough to make me comfortable, regular meals brought to my bedside and everything on hand at the press of a button.

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: Cutting it fine

Our airport shuttle chugged along and eventually pulled up outside the terminal. “Oh, terminal one,” I said to my perspiring Irish friend, “and we’ve got 34 minutes before our flight leaves – terminal two.”

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: Frankie goes hunting

Last week we took a couple of the racehorses out hunting for the first time. Hunting provides invaluable experience for unraced youngsters with crowds of energetic horses they have to react quickly to the new challenges they encounter.

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: A life spent breathing and dreaming of the outdoors

My friend sent me a copy of his new book recently. It is called True to the Line by Adrian Dangar, and I am proud to say it is a highly entertaining read based on his memoirs as a huntsman and countryman – a life spent breathing and dreaming of foxes, hounds, wildlife and the countryside. I met Adrian years ago when he was hunting the Sinnington hounds. He was an old classmate of my boyfriend at the time and we have remained friends ever since so I awaited his first book with keen interest. Last week it arrived and I began reading, keen to fill in the gaps he had often hinted at but rarely divulged to us in much detail. Adrian has written many articles for The Field, Horse and Hound and Country Life in his articulate and witty manner.

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster.  Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: Digger duty

Life is never dull at Brookleigh and bank holiday was no exception. We spent it re-surfacing my schooling pen. It seemed like one of the more straightforward jobs on the ‘to do’ list (which includes building a house, an outdoor school and draining ‘the bog’– a vast peat swamp which could swallow up a JCB overnight).

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster.  Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: The joys of party time

My charity party a few weeks ago was a success. On the day, we worked under a cloudless sky to finish of last-minute jobs. Signs went up, tables laid, wine put on ice. The run up had been hard work. Everyone’s spirits were high if a little jaded after such a busy few weeks. I was glad when the night finally arrived.

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