Gillian Ware has written her debut book, Horseplay
TWELVE years ago Gillian Ware was left devastated when she was diagnosed with an incurable form of bowel disease, changing her life forever.
But, after chance led to her buying a horse, Mrs Ware went on a journey of self discovery and ended up writing her debut book.
Mrs Ware, 57, who lives in Blean, grew up in Canterbury after her parents moved from London when she was 13.
After spending some time in Greece, she returned to Kent in 1991 to settle down as a Home Office civil servant and buy a house.
But, her life was turned upside down in 2000 when she found out she had ulcerative colitis, a form of bowel disease which left her unable to work full-time.
The diagnosis had a huge psychological impact on Mrs Ware who had recently decided to fulfil a childhood dream and take up horse riding lessons at Bursted Manor Riding Centre in Pett Bottom. It was her connection with the horses that helped her cope with the disease.
She said: “I will always have it [the condition] it’s just a case of managing it. Going to riding school made me forget about it all. I was amazed at how sensitive horses are. They pick up on your emotions.”
In 2005, Mrs Ware decided to buy her first horse, Sadie, which became the inspiration for her biographical story, Horseplay.
Despite the hard work, money and time needed to look after Sadie, their relationship helped Mrs Ware to deal with the physical and mental effects of the condition.
She said: “My illness did not exist in her eyes. She was not embarrassed. People do not know how to deal with it.
“She gave me the motivation to get up out of bed and get fresh air, exercise and feel better. It stops you feeling sorry for yourself. I can stay at home and feel sorry for myself, which is normal, but you have to get on with life. You have got to find out what gives you happiness.”
The idea for the book was born when Mrs Ware was reading her diary on the ups and downs of looking after a horse to her husband, Mike, 62. He found it so funny he thought it should be made into a book.
Mrs Ware said: “Mike has been very supportive. The book talks about all the funny things that have happened, times like when she’s trod on me and dragged me through the mud, and about how ignorant I was of what a horse needed.
“I did not think of myself as an author. A book allows you to step into somebody else’s shoes and get a glimpse into something you haven’t before.”
As well as humour, Horseplay gives an insight into how animals can help people cope with illness.
The reaction so far has been positive, with readers giving the book rave reviews on Amazon, hailing it as “inspirational” and “laugh out loud” funny.
Now Mrs Ware is considering her second book about her latest project, a young horse named Rosebud who joins her other horse Daisy.
Mrs Ware will be signing copies of her book at Waterstones branches over the next few months. She will be at Ashford on September 1 from 10am, St Margaret’s Street in Canterbury on September 22 from 2pm, and Lakeside on October 27 from noon.
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