Interview with Author and photographer and horse lover, Tina Collins
Hi Tina, I’m so excited to chat with you about your experiences with horses today. We’ll get right to the questions so readers can learn about how horses have helped you.
Tell us how you got involved with horses.
At the age of 16, I left school and took a college course, Pre-Nursing Course, in Stroud, Gloucestershire. However, half way through, I figured it wasn’t what I wanted to do, and applied for an interview at a riding school in Ebford, Devon. I was accepted to become a working pupil at the stables and for the remainder of my college course, I did work placements at local riding schools.
I started the working pupil job in Devon, in 1987. From there, I trained as a groom for 2 years, obtaining BHS Stage 1 Theory and Riding and Stage 2 Theory. At the end of the training I was employed as Head girl for the next 2 years. Unfortunately, things went sour and I left in 1991 and came back to live with my parents in Wiltshire. I had various jobs from then on, including one where I was a home help/groom for another riding stables for about a year. However, they wanted to train me to be a teacher and it wasn’t what I was open to, so was laid off from that job. That was the last job with horses I had. From then, children and marriage got in the way. For the next 20 odd years I was horseless. My next contact with horses was when I moved to London in 2000 and volunteered at a RDA stables in 2014. Things didn’t work out for me there, either. My contact with horses since then has been sporadic with huge gaps between riding lessons. I hugely regret the decisions I made regarding the opportunities I’d been given to further my training and career with horses.
You have a wonderful foundation with horses and riding, Tina. I’m glad you live in the UK where the sport of riding is so popular.
How has riding helped you?
To be honest, until now, I’ve never looked at riding as ‘helping me’. I think this was because I was just so grateful to be with horses! A lot of things were happening to me at this point in my life and continued to do so after I left Devon. Despite the difficulties with everything that happened, being with the horses helped me through, even if it was sub- consciously. I look back now, and I still wish I was there, even over 20+ years later. The stables, however, went bankrupt soon after I left and all the horses were sold on.
Do you have a favorite horse? What did you like most about him?
When I was working in Devon, I had a favourite horse called Woody. He was cream-coloured, sensitive, loved his jumping and was so sweet natured. I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to him when I left. I have photographs of him though.
My favourite horse from my local riding school in London was a horse called Pocca. He was grey, sweet-natured and would stop as soon as you thought about it. Good jumper although I never jumped him. I was too interested in the dressage side of things. I never did get to learn shoulder-in on him. Sadly, he injured himself in the field and was put down only last week.
I”m so sorry to hear that your favorite horse had to be put to sleep, Tina. That’s very difficult, but I’m sure you treasure your memories with Pocca.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Horses have always been my life and my passion even though I haven’t been lucky enough to spend enough time with them. Now, I know that they are going to help me to live through equine assisted therapy. Without them, I’m a wreck and I know that I couldn’t not have them in my life. I resigned myself to the fact that I would never get to own one, many years ago but have never been jealous of those who do. All I want and need now is equine assisted therapy. I’m scared that I will never get my wish but won’t give up trying!
Amazing things can happen in life, Tina, especially for those you persevere like you do. I hope you are able to spend lots more time with horses because they are your passion. Whenever our lives involve things that we are passionate about, wonderful things can happen.
Thank you so much. Deanie, for interviewing me! This is has been a huge honour and I hope it’s been interesting to read, too.
Yes it has been interesting learning more about you and your love for horses, Tina. It’s my pleasure to spend time with you today, Tina. So glad you enjoyed our chat. Wishing you the best in all of your endeavors, as always.
Special note: Tina is having a contest. If you answer the quiz on her blog, Guiding Horses, you can win a Kindle copy of one of my award-winning children’s books. You can choose between these 5: My Life at Sweetbrier, Charlie the Horse, Charlene the Star, Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes, and Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog Contest ends Sept. 1 so take the quiz today! The answers are posted too!