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Meet your island committee - Andrea Durham

16 July 2013


In the next part of our series of interviews designed to introduce BHS Isle of Wight members to their local committee, we meet Andrea Durham, a welfare officer…

Name: Andrea (or Annie - long story!) Durham Isle of Wight committee member Andrea Durham with her New Forest pony Magnus
Where do you live: Horringford, Isle of Wight
47 - apparently, it's just a number
Family: Me, him and Frankie the wire haired fox terrier
Current Occupation: Self-employed cleaner/housekeeper
Tell us about... your first pony: Lucy Locket, a 14.3hh bright bay Hackney x Thoroughbred mare. I saved obsessively until I was able to buy her (with a little help from my parents). The only trouble was, I couldn't afford a saddle so I rode bareback for months!
Tell us about... the first fall you can remember: Aged 9 on a PGL adventure holiday in the Forest of Dean. The pony was called Clover and she unceremoniously dumped me against a tree.
Tell us about... the first rosette you won: First place in a fancy dress class, done up as a clown in an outfit made from a neighbour's horrendous 1970's heavily patterned curtains!
Tell us about... your horsey highlight: No huge competition wins or accolades, just sticking it out in lodgings in Wiltshire in order to attain some BHS qualifications. 
Tell us about... your most embarrassing horsey moment: Numerous! At college I was the smallest, so always got the mischievous ponies to ride. Needless to say I spent a lot of time eating dirt! I remember Snaps and Frosty were masters in the equine art of shoulder dropping just before a jump. 
Andrea and Magnus (right) with friendsTell us about... your current horse: Magnus, a 14hh dark bay New Forest gelding who never fails to make me smile and who constantly teaches me so much.

What's your favourite horsey activity? I thoroughly enjoyed the one BHS Trec competition Magnus and I took part in, and I would love to do more. I'm also very interested in Monty Roberts' philosophies and those of his Recommended Associates in this country, especially Sarah Weston's Logical Horsemanship. 
Tell us about... your equine ambition: I love the fact that with horses and ponies you never stop learning. How good is that - a subject matter that is always there to be looked at with fresh eyes and a new approach? So my ambition would have to be simply to keep on learning about a subject I've held dear for over 40 years.
Share your best tip for time saving, please: Don't waste time looking for a knife to open bales of hay/straw - keep a length of old string handy and open the new bale with it instead. This is also much safer than having the possibility of knives getting lost in the barn. Children love to learn this neat trick too and it's safe for them - plus it keeps them amused for ages!
What about money saving tips: Invest in some small luggage or fishing scales and weigh your hay rations. Haynets and haybars have become so large these days that it's so easy to simply fill them up and over feed, thus wasting valuable hay supplies.
What is your role on the committee and what does it involve? My role as a welfare volunteer involves working closely with the BHS (and other local welfare volunteers) and responding in a friendly and approachable way to any welfare issues and cases that may arise on the island.
How long have you been on the committee? I've been on the committee and a welfare volunteer for roughly a year now.
How did you get involved with the BHS? Initially I joined the BHS in 1982 in order to take exams. More recently I saw the request for welfare volunteers and felt it was high time I gave something back to the animals and a society that have given me so much over the years.

Thanks, Andrea! Next time, we'll meet another of the BHS Isle of Wight committee members.

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