Moortown mum 'transformed' by horses after anaesthesia mishap left her with post-natal depression

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It is not uncommon for people to rediscover childhood hobbies in adulthood but for Grace Olson, rekindling her horse-riding habits was more than just a trip down memory lane.

Grace, 48, started riding horses as a five-year-old after being introduced to them by her mum.

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She developed a love of horses and had weekly riding lessons alongside her sister until the latter stages of her teenage years.

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Grace turned to horses following a traumatic experience.Grace turned to horses following a traumatic experience.
Grace turned to horses following a traumatic experience.

Little did Grace know, it would be a traumatic and painful experience that would eventually lead her back to horses.

Whilst giving birth to her first child, an emergency caesarean section was performed and during the stitching process, Grace's anaesthetic wore off.

"It was horrific," Grace explained. "I ended up with post-natal depression. I was so hurt that I just realised I needed something."

After taking up lessons again, Grace found herself in need of a particular bridle which was sold by a woman in Wales. It was this woman that would introduce Grace to equine-assisted therapy, which would go on to completely transform her life.

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Grace has written a book about her journey.Grace has written a book about her journey.
Grace has written a book about her journey.

"I just thought I was going to Wales to learn how to use this particular bridle," Grace said. "She had all these horses and she took me out into the field, and just started doing all this incredible therapy work with me and the horses.

"It completely transformed me and it was magical. It was the most beautiful setting that you could imagine, surrounded by llamas and peacocks and the random farm animals, doing stuff I never thought was possible with horses."

It was the horses she was introduced to in Wales which gave her the love she needed - even though she feared one of them at first.

"She said, 'choose some horses that you like, and then pick one that you don't like'," Grace said. "So, I picked one that immediately made me feel absolutely terrified because it was a massive sports horse.

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"She brought the horse over to me and he put his nose on my heart, and basically he could feel my energy of fear.

"He was showing me that I didn't need to be afraid and that made me cry.

"Then, she started asking me how I was feeling as I was interacting with the horse. It was a combination of her asking really clever questions and observing the body language between me and the horse because horses are very sensitive, they respond to your energy.

"He was giving me love that I needed, because he could sense that."

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Grace has documented her journey in a book called 'The Yard', which will be released on 27 June.

Her step into the world of published writing came as a result of a Facebook short story and a lockdown comedy series.

"It was lockdown and I couldn't work and I've always loved writing, I absolutely love it beyond description," Grace explained. "So, I wrote a short story and I posted it on Facebook.

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"Within minutes, I had hundreds and hundreds of likes, and loads of requests to write more. Then, I set up my own page, and wrote one weekly episode of my experiences with horses, but I did it in a comedic way.

"The subject is deep, post-natal depression, it's miserable. There are so many big characters who have horses, so it became a comedy."

Comparisons were drawn between her writing and the work of James Herriot, a revered author who wrote books on animals, owners and veterinary practice.

"Every week, I've got hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of emails from people saying how much they loved it, and how much it made them laugh and cry," Grace said. "People really needed that in lockdown and then I got a request to write it as a book."

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The book launch event will be held on 26 June at Hope Pastures, a horse rescue centre on Weetwood Lane, which will also receive a percentage of the money generated by the book sales.

Book launch details can be viewed here and Grace's book can pre-ordered here.

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