In her own words, Jilly explains how she developed her unique approach and special equine awareness:
"I have always had love and compassion for horses, as a child I would cycle 15 miles every weekend to spend time "helping out" at a local riding school. From the age of 12 years, I had the privilege of spending all my spare time and school holidays with the most wonderful Irish Thoroughbred gelding called Tullamore (Tully) and he became my closest friend and soul mate during troubled teenage years. On reflection, I was being guided into my current lifestyle as I always felt at peace, safe and comfortable when I was with Tully. We spent many hours together, Tully was the first horse to teach me the magical experience of feeling entirely at one with a horse and I forgot about the chaotic outside world. I recall the sadness when it was time to resume the daily, arduous pattern of attending school! When dearest Tully left this world, he took a very large piece of me with him.
My passion for horses remained very strong, I was 37 years of age when I finally achieved my goal of buying my first horse. I will never forget the feeling of riding my precious mare home on the most exciting day of my life. This was the start of a beautiful new friendship and lifelong partnership. Skye had been brought over from Ireland by a local dealer and we found each other when she was on loan to a farmer friend. Skye was 7 years young at the time and she is now 24, we've had the most incredible 17 years together and I have so much to thank her for. Skye has taught me so much and if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today. Having entered my life during a dark time, Skye is my saviour, my spirit guide and my earth angel.
It was my rather obsessive interest in equine bodywork and alternative therapies that drove me to enter into the field of equine therapy. I now realise Skye was leading the way on this adventure, I was determined to give her the best care and often felt my knowledge base was inadequate. It really was a case of the more knowledge I gained about this fascinating subject, the more passionate I became about it, and it was throughout my journey into the various equine therapy modalities that I learned that it was actually the horses who were my teachers; I was continually amazed and inspired by the horses and ponies who I came into contact with who each demonstrated, in their own way, immense releases from the restrictions and tensions that they were housing. More often than not, I was finding that the horses were extremely sensitive with a keen awareness of themselves that the approach of “less is more” came into being for me. It was during this exceptionally exciting time of learning that I increasingly became aware of my own healing abilities and sensitivities, that many new avenues opened up for me. I just went with the flow and followed them and never looked back.
On this amazing voyage I discovered and learned many things, from Myo-fascial Release Therapy, Acupressure, Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Chakra Balancing, Meridian Therapy, the incredible power of essential oils and flower essence remedies.
All this, alongside my own growing awareness, allowed me to become fully rounded and unique in developing my own equine centred therapy approach, which set me apart from other therapists out there. The horses I connect with are always my guide, telling me what they want and need. This approach not only allows me to give a unique and specific treatment tailored to our equine friends, but it also allowed me to give them a voice as the individuals that they are, which may have gone unheard for years.
I can hand-on-heart say that I have been honoured to connect with horses both physically and spiritually since I began listening to what they were telling me. The results speak for themselves, as many clients and students have witnessed and will give testimony. The decision to follow my inner compass and listen to the horses was the most rewarding thing I have ever done, it changed my life forever, and those I have come in contact with.
As the saying goes, ‘from small acorns come mighty oaks’, and by the same token my humble beginnings have led me to growing my own business and becoming the UK’s No.1 equine holistic therapy and training provider. With students as far as Canada, Spain, South Africa, Italy, Iran and Australia, and happy customers abounding, I cannot argue that this was not my destiny.
I have so much to share about my voyage with horses, Skye has been by my side every step of the way, communicating, teaching and advising during my explorations and discoveries. We now have an equine sanctuary and our family currently consists of 9 rescued horses and ponies.
My beautiful mare continues to teach me and the rest of our herd, her wisdom and strength filters through to the younger horses. They mirror her behaviour and body language and respect her intuition. I love to sit and watch the herd dynamics and gratefully cherish all the memories.
I feel very lucky to share the lives of these magnificent animals, their presence is totally therapeutic, their intuition is phenomenal and they continue to be my teachers every day.