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Jess Walace

Friend of FOAH


Hi, I'm Jess.

I grew up with horses and began lessons at the age of four with an ex-cavalryman in the shadow of Pinewood Studios in England. When he finally retired I followed the traditional path through the Pony Club and hunting field until I was apprenticed in the racing industry. I rode professionally as a National Hunt jockey for six years before retiring and becoming an artist. 


Some years later, a friend of mine had a copy of Bill’s book, which had just arrived in the UK. I was fascinated by that book, though I didn’t really understand why. A couple of years later, I had the opportunity to attend one of Leslie’s clinics in Scotland. It was a revelation to me.  At one point Leslie said: “ for yes to have any meaning, no must be perfectly acceptable”.

I knew this was a quantum leap in thinking right there. Leslie was doing things with horses that looked like magic and would have been impossibly intimidating but for her generosity as a teacher. All that I had intuitively felt about horses but never been able to articulate or justify, all that I had felt about the wish to have a partnership with horses rather than dominate them, came into glorious focus. This shift in thinking made having horses back in my life not only possible but imperative.


Twenty years after that moment, I now realise that like all really worthwhile things in life, Bill and Leslie’s teaching is a lifetime’s study, which repays the time and energy invested with an endless unfolding of levels understanding. Understanding horses better, of course, but also myself. This has profoundly informed my art work as well as my relationships with my horses. I feel so fortunate to have found Bill and Leslie and deeply honoured to be able to encourage others to find this life enriching path for themselves and their horses.

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