Finding Me Again

Jackie Coull shares her story about how horses helped her to find herself again after becoming a mum for the first time:

To begin my story, it is important for you to know how much my ponies mean to me. I have had my Highland gelding for over 10 years. He is my first pony, and my mare Gracie, I have had for 5 years. They are part of my family, and my husband Gordon sees them this way too. We have them on a DIY yard about ten minutes from our home.

In January 2018, when I was 7 months pregnant, I nearly lost Cru to colitis. Gordon had brought both ponies in for the night and had noticed Cru seemed out of sorts. When the vet came out, he reckoned it was a form of colic, possibly the dreaded grass sickness. The next day was a trip to the Edinburgh Vet School, where colitis was diagnosed.

What seemed treatable turned very serious and I was warned with a late-night call of the worst news. He spent 16 days in total at the vet hospital and those 16 days were the most stressful of my life. I worried about him the whole time and on top of that, worried what this stress was doing to my unborn child. Each day, I still saw to Gracie, seeing Cru’s empty stable was torture, but my little mare helped see me though my days. My special boy somehow recovered and when he returned home, he needed a lot of care which I saw to myself.

On the subject of doing the horses, I would recommend to any woman who is pregnant to stay as active as possible. Until the day I had my baby, I was up mucking out and filling hay nets in the morning, and most nights bringing them in from the field.

  I would say after having Lizzie, it took a long time for me to feel like me again. Being a mother didn’t come naturally to me. Suddenly there was this little person who needed me and I just wasn’t prepared for it.

Time at the yard helped me feel like ‘ME’ again, even if it was just mucking out, or brushing one of the ponies, it reminded me that I was still me. That I wasn’t just a mother but a person of my own too, and it was important for Lizzie that I looked after myself too. I will never forget the support and encouragement that I got from my husband to do this.

From a few weeks old, Lizzie was included in all aspects of our lives, from walking the dog every day, to seeing to the ponies. I remember pushing her round in her car seat that I had sat in the wheelbarrow and she watched as I filled hay nets or brushed the ponies.


There is a perception that in becoming a mother - that it is all you are! But I would disagree, I love being a mother, I cannot imagine a world without my little Lizzie. But I am also a woman with her own passions, her own desires. I also don’t think it does a child any favours for the world to revolve completely around them. 

Lizzie has thrived from an environment where jobs had to be done and she was included.

To be around horses both pre- and post-natal has been a wonderful gift. I got through, past and beyond my introduction to motherhood with my ponies playing a huge part in it. It would be remiss of me not to mention my family and friends, who supported me in all aspects of my new adventure into motherhood.

If I were to summarise; I would say to any woman who is struggling for whatever reason, that however you feel now; you will not always feel that way. All clouds pass, the sun is still up there. You are more capable than you know.

Jackie Coull

Thank you Jackie for sharing your story with us.

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