If you’re looking for inspiration this week, look no further than English horsewoman Jane Dotchin. She’s been riding the same 1,000-km trail from Northumberland, England where she lives to Inverness, Scotland every year. And did we mention the trek takes seven weeks and she’s been doing this since 1972? And that dear Jane is 82 years young!?
Dotchin rides her trusty 14-year-old Irish cob mare Diamond while her disabled Jack Russell, a female named Dinky, sits snug in a saddlebag during the annual journey.
Dotchin, who was recognized by the British Horse Society with its Exceptional Achievement Award in 2020, is vision impaired and currently sports an eyepatch. She ran a riding school throughout her life and according to an article in the Hexham Courant newspaper who covered the award, “She also epitomizes sustainable horsemanship, having lived off-grid, working by hand in her fields to care for her horses and relying on her own intuition rather than high-tech riding gear.”
Photos on social media show the trio as they traverse the trail and encounter young hikers who are blown away by Dotchin and her animal companions. One Twitter user tweeted a photo of the three and wrote: “When you’re struggling on a morning run and meet the incredible #janedotchin on the path…”
On Instagram a user posted an image and wrote: “Went to watch a bike race and instead discovered an amazing, adventurous and inspirational woman…”
Dotchin and her crew camp overnight, she eats a diet of cheese, porridge, and oatcakes as Diamond grazes on a long lead. She keeps to the routes she knows well and looks forward to seeing and visiting with the same people along the way each year. The only year she skipped the ride was in 2001 because of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in England; she rode a bike instead.
Watch this video to find out more about this incredible woman and her four-legged friends.