A lovely lady called Fiona sent Willberry an application for a Willberry’s Wish for her good friend Joanna, who was diagnosed with brain cancer. Jo, like our Hannah, had been working through a bucket list of her own, and Willberry and his team were delighted to be able to help tick one or two of them off her list.
So it was that Jo was treated to a wonderful day out care of Willberry’s Scottish hero and international event rider Wills Oakden. Jo had asked for a flatwork lesson with him on her horse Freddie, and as soon as we asked him he was delighted to be able to help.
With Fiona as driver, they left home about 8am, all packed up with Joanna, Freddie, FredBerry, his cousins BalhaganBerry and BikerBerry!
When they arrived, Wills met them and took them to meet all the horses, and how many there were! Wills showed them a little black mare, telling them the story of how he bought it in a deal which involved riding an unbacked donkey that you couldn't catch! Jo and Fiona had concocted a plan with Jemma, Willberry’s Scottish Angel who works for Wills, as a little surprise for him too!
Almost every horse gave Jo's head a good sniff, like they were giving her their own support and love.
After the yard tour they sprung their challenge on Wills to have a ride on Freddie Side Saddle – and he gallantly agreed!!
Then it was time for Jo's lesson. Freddie, Jo's homebred horse has a wicked sense of humour which he demonstrated when he saw the mirrors but settled down and behaved impeccably with Jo. “I don’t think I have trotted or cantered so much in a lesson recently, but my cardiovascular stood up to it and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Riding Freddie always makes me feel better and free.” Wills really made them work, but wow what a transformation - Wills was thrilled at how well it all came together.
They then swapped saddles to the side saddle, Joanna got on and gave Wills a short demo of How to Ride Sideways. Wills then popped on board and had a short lesson and certainly rose to the challenge, riding in walk trot and canter and looking quite a natural! It really made Jo’s Day watching Wills riding her homebred boy!
To complete the visit they were also treated to a lovely lunch and chat with Wills, his wife Stephanie and their gorgeous little girl Charlotte. What a day! Fiona took them all home again where Jo, Freddie and all the Berries had a well-earned lie down but some wonderful memories to re-live
Our enormous thanks go to Wills for making a dream come true for Joanna and her boy Freddie, to Stephanie for her generous hospitality, and also to Jo’s great friend and supporter Fiona, who helped make this happen. We couldn’t do this without the kindness and generosity of people like you 💗
In the meantime, Jo’s Bucket list goes on and the Challenges are still getting added, so watch this space for more news!