How has another month gone by already? It’s the end of August which means it is time for another One Club member blog! This month we meet Georgia and her horse Junior who live in Cornwall and enjoy taking part in a variety of activities together. Georgia’s equestrian journey hasn’t been plain sailing and we find out how riding has kept her going through tough times. 


Hello! My name is Georgia Abigail Gardner, I’m 20 years old and live in Cornwall. First things first, we need to get one thing out of the way, I need to introduce my conditions too. I suffer from fibromyalgia, a hip displacement, stage 2 endometriosis and myalgic encephalomyelitis (also known as ME). This recipe of chronic illnesses makes life interesting and unpredictable, which means riding is much the same. After my diagnosis with fibromyalgia and ME, I had to learn to ride in a completely different way. This means accepting that wonky stirrups are sometimes helpful, that seat savers are a lifesaver and finding the perfect saddle is so important.


The most interesting things to re-learn have been my balance, posture and grip. I am often slightly leaning to one side, not sitting ‘straight' and struggling with my grip on my reins in certain situations. Luckily, certain products on the market make life easier. In reality, the best piece of kit you can have is an honest, hard-working and gentle horse to work with, this is where I can introduce my best friend of six years, Junior.One Club member Georgia


Junior came into my life in November 2014 but he wasn’t exactly what I had wanted. He was a 12-year-old, 16.3hh thoroughbred cross who hadn’t done much apart from being a hunt service horse in Exmoor, something about him made him feel like the perfect horse. Now, this is where the story gets messy, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows (sorry). Junior had a huge issue with napping, particularly rearing and spinning, refusing to leave the yard, jogging and bursting into canter randomly on the roads with no care of traffic and others. This led to a few accidents and I felt like I had brought an unpredictable horse that I could barely ride, not from inexperience but because in fear of having an accident. A long road of hard work, re-breaking, vet visits for ulcer treatment, trips to A&E, tears, blood, sweat and bruises followed for the next three years. We did manage to compete in this time, but due to his napping and unpredictable behaviour results varied dramatically. 


In 2017 we decided to move yards, and to this day this was the best decision of my life. After lots of time, hard work and support, Junior is now the horse of my dreams. A level headed, hard-working, gentle horse who loves a cuddle, wants to be the best he can be and most importantly, is a horse I trust with my life. He now reacts to the subtlest seat and leg movements, change in grip, voice cues and body positioning. He is my best friend, my world, my life.


So! Now you know us, let’s get into 2020. 


All I can say is, what happened? In January I was recovering from surgery for endometriosis, I had high hopes and lots of plans for competing and training this year, my calendar was full, my show gear ready. Then, Coronavirus and lockdown hit the UK. My dreams, like many others, were dashed in seconds and plans of eventing, showjumping and hunter trials went out the window. But on reflection, it has been a blessing in disguise. It has given me time to work on bad habits caused by my conditions but also to make sure Junior is working to his full potential and working correctly. It has also given us time to have fun, relax and try things we haven’t for a while.


Unfortunately, I lost my job during the lockdown, my beloved dog passed away suddenly due to renal failure, life at home was tough and I found it extremely difficult to be confined within the walls of my house and my room. As someone who has struggled with mental health issues in the past, this was my worst nightmare. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with Equestion on a mental health awareness podcast and to write a few blog posts which helped take my mind off my inner demons.


Now it’s August and things have improved. I am enjoying riding again and it’s fair to say Junior has once again been my saviour. My partner and I are looking at buying our first house together and planning for our future, we also welcomed Eleanor to the family, a 19-week old black Labrador puppy, she is keeping me on my toes. It’s good to be enjoying life and riding again, with lots to look forward to!