Tuesday 14th of January 2020
The Wobbleberry Blogger

The Wobbleberry Blogger

Introducing our new Wobbleberry blogger Tahnee Fournier as she chases her childhood dream & kicks cancer’s butt for Willberry Wonder Pony. Follow her journey of moving from happy hacker into a full blown proper eventer!

When I was a young teenager I would watch the movie International Velvet and dream of owning a bay horse and competing in the 3-day equestrian event. I loved the thrill of the cross-country and the solitude of Sarah’s character.

It was a hidden dream to event. It was too unrealistic for words given my situation, a single kid living with her Dad. It was too far-fetched seeing we were city folk.

I was fortunate to dapple into horses for about a year, learning how to ride western but then I relocated to a different city and life happened and I moved on. I grew up, I travelled, I became a yoga instructor, I got married, and I had kids, the usual.

I did become a horse owner at the age of 40. My time with Sweaters was amazing and he was a bay! I loved him but as we lived in cowboy country we never got the opportunity to event, or really show-jump for that matter. We were happy hackers until I had to re-home him and we moved from Canada to Cambridge England.

Last year a young girl died. We never met. During her last year she charged fearlessly forward against all the odds. She had a bucket list and determination. 

Read her amazing story here. Bring tissues. *If you know her story, then read it again and be inspired again. It’s moving and beautiful.

She started a charity for cancer and lived as fully as she could given all the setbacks that she experienced, which were far too many for a girl that age.

Her charity, Willberry the Wonder Pony involved the story of a stuffed pony that had his own blog. He brought her comfort and they went everywhere together. He even went around Badminton, one of the greatest 4* events in the world. I happened to be at Badminton and saw Willberry tucked into Ben Hobday’s body protector as they went around the course; it was wonderful to see.

While Hannah got sicker and sicker with bone cancer and other complications no one should go through, she also became more brave, courageous and inspirational with her fight to #kickingcancersbutt. She wanted to ensure no other kid experienced the depth of suffering she endured. 

This past August at the tender age of 18, she moved on to greener pastures and died from her illness after an 18-month fight.

She left a legacy.  The sad passing of her death inspired many, including some women to do something MORE.  If this young girl can face the horrors of her immense challenges with such optimism and positivity, then they thought ‘so can we’. They got creative and “what would really challenge us and raise some money”??

And the wobbleberry challenge was born.

Because of legacy of Hannah Francis and her strength I get to full-fill a child-hood dream I never ever thought remotely possible. 

I’m going to event. 

So what is a wobbleberry you ask?  

We are older women and a few men, who have loved horses our whole lives but been caught up with life, responsibilities, and taking care of our families (many a pony club Mom now back in the saddle!) who are either unfit and or wimpy (my category). Most of us have done minimal to no jumping, have confidence issues in the saddle, but are willing to give it a great go.

Hannah Francis was an eventer, who sadly lost her fight with a rare and an aggressive bone cancer.  Cancer affects everyone; no one is immune anymore. My Aunt died of bone and breast cancer. My Grannie had breast cancer and my Mom recently kicked lung cancer to the curb.

So of course I jumped on board. I had to. I felt that deep in my bones, even though I was only riding 2-3 days a week and having mild panic attacks in the saddle both hacking and in jumping. I had horrendous nerves in the saddle and yet I adore riding and horses. Makes it only slightly awkward doesn’t it?

However there was a call in my heart to do this and I answered.

Now I’m a proud Wobbleberry and thanks to Hannah’s legacy, an eventer.

Stay tuned as we navigate the learning curve of moving from being a happy hacker into full blown proper eventers!

Love,

Tahnee

 

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