Sarah-Jane Venning

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I am a part time groom to around twenty two young show jumpers and a full time mum to two young children, Isabella five and Freddie two. I know which job I find the hardest!

I live in Normandy, France, right in the heart of the breeding region and soon to be home of the World Equestrian Games in 2014.

I came to France nine years ago to visit my parents after having been in America for two years, working with hunters, in the Sonoma valley. After studying French at school from the age of six and finding I had no real aptitude to it I hadn't really planned on living here, perhaps just the odd holiday. And I certainly never envisaged finding a job, a boyfriend, buying a house, gaining five dogs and having two children, all in grammatically bad French … it's funny where life takes you.

Before the arrival of Isabella,  I was a groom/rider for the Haras D'elle, the no.1 breeders in France. The Haras breeds around 25-30 foals a year, using all the best blood lines in Europe, then producing and selling the horses. I worked with some amazing horses and seeing them now on the international stage, having known them as naughty four year olds, really does make me proud .

After the arrival of Freddie I felt that continuing a full time job with horses was no longer viable, children and horses need so much commitment, in fact they are very similar - apart from coming in to your bed at 2 am.

I now work for a French eventer turned show jumper, at a smaller yard, still producing young horses. I work part time,  riding three or four horses a day then it's off to pick Isabella up from school, it's bliss.