Real People of the Pocket - Hello Jess!
This week we speak with Jess - the Fig Tree Pocket Equestrian Club (FTPEC) President, who has been instrumental in helping organise our 'last Friday of the month' get togethers at the club (speaking of - one is coming up May 31st - an awesome way to meet your neighbours and watch the horses do their thing!)
Jess is so wonderful, and a passionate, proactive and optimistic community member - a true asset to our area!
How long have you been living in Fig Tree Pocket, and why did you move here?
I've lived in Fig Tree Pocket all my life, except for a few years after I graduated from University and moved out of home. My husband, son and I moved back to the Pocket about 4 years ago, as it's just a great place to live and so convenient for us with horses at the club, and our involvement with the club these days.
Please tell us about your role as president at the equestrian club. What do you do there?
As President of FTPEC I have a great deal of responsibility to ensure the club is run effectively, and that we are providing a safe and enjoyable atmosphere and facility where members and non-members alike can come and enjoy their horses and equestrian pursuits. My day-to-day jobs there include a range of different tasks like engaging contractors to carry out work and maintenance, interacting with members, running international competitions and managing the club's governance systems. I have also put a lot of time and energy into renewing the club's council lease and improving our relationship with the local community over the last two years. I do all of these tasks and more in conjunction with the other six members of the committee. It's a real team effort and I am incredibly lucky to have a fantastic committee of hard working volunteers to work with currently.
What do you love most about horses? What can you say to assure people who might be a touch scared of them?
That's a fairly common apprehension for people to have! They are large animals and if you aren't familiar with them I guess they can be intimidating. I have been riding horses since I was 8 years old. That's when I first joined Fig Tree Pocket Club. So I am pretty comfortable around them. You do always need to stay aware around horses as they can sometimes be unpredictable. All of the horses at the club are performance horses that are handled on a daily basis so they're all well behaved, generally speaking. I would always suggest to only approach horses with an experienced handler or person who owns them (the horse). That way they are with someone who is in control and the horse is most likely to be calm and friendly. Horses are a lot like people in that they put creature comforts as first priority, which means they need to feel safe and secure to be happy. This can be provided by other horses in their herd or people they know and trust. They also love treats and a scratch in the right place!
What do people actually do at an equestrian club?
The riders who utilise our facility are mostly competitive riders who use the grounds to train on. We also have quite a few members who are just pleasure riders. We have an olympic-sized sand arena, full cross-country course and access to trail rides along the river, so everyone is catered for. People can train dressage, show jumping or cross-country, or they can just enjoy a leisurely hack out in the paddocks or on a trail. Our members range from trail riders to competitive event riders in training for major three-day-events in the country.
When you're not with your horses, what do you love to do?
That time is somewhat rare these days, but I do really love spending as much time as I can with family and friends. There are some really great spots to eat at in the 4069 postcode nowadays, and it's always nice to take the dogs for a walk down to the river. I also really enjoy reading. Crime fiction is my favourite!
Do you have any lovely travel plans to look forward to?
We do a lot of travelling with the horses as a family, to compete throughout the year. We usually travel to other competition venues at places like Tamworth. As for proper holiday time we always enjoy getting away to the Gold Coast for a break whenever we can. You can't go past the close location of the sea for a lovely break. That's the bonus of living in FTP, you're so close to both the north and south coasts.
What's the life advice you live by?
I'm an event rider so 'living on the edge' is probably one of my life mottos! Just enjoy life and live it to the fullest. Don't get caught up in material things and your position in the world. Just enjoy the little things and be happy with what you have. People don't remember you for what you have, they remember you for how you made them feel. Another piece of advice I often utilise is that you can't control other people's behaviour, only your own, so be satisfied with that. Be a good person even when others aren't. It takes too much energy to be angry and unkind. Living in FTP certainly brings a lot of peace and happiness!
Thanks so much Jess - you're doing such a great job down at the club - and we LOVE our monthly get togethers. Cathy x