We planned to marry next year - fiancée
The family of horse trainer James Roberts, 32, of Market Lavington, who died in a crash on the A345 near Manningford Abbots on Sunday have issued the following statement through Wiltshire Police:
“Our entire family are absolutely devastated at the tragic loss of James. He was a much loved son and brother and one of the most inspirational people of his generation. He was funny, charismatic, devoted to all of his family and a genius with horses.
"Our thoughts and hearts are with James’ fiancée Vicky and her family too.”
James’ fiancée, Victoria Craig, said: “James was born in Lincoln and from a very early age became passionate about horses, spending his childhood showing and show jumping.
"When he was 16 James then went on to fulfill his dream of becoming a farrier, training in Leicestershire with Stuart Spence before setting up his own successful shoeing business.
"It was a challenging horse that he couldn’t shoe, afraid of farriers, which led James to a Parelli Natural Horsemanship course. Once he discovered there was a way to help the horse this became his passion.
"James took the decision to quit his successful business to embark on a new journey, starting with an apprenticeship at the UK Parelli centre. He then spent two years at the Parelli Centres in Florida and Colorado to continue his training.
"Five years ago we set up the JR Foundation Station in Easterton and have since built a very successful business together, training young and tricky horses, as well as people.
"James had incredible natural ability to turn a problem horse into a calm, safe, rideable horse and helped countless horse & rider partnerships all around the world.
"His dedication to helping horses that would have previously been cast aside, has enabled hundreds to become safe, calm and successful riding horses.
"He went around the world training horses and teaching people - gaining a brilliant reputation with his unique style and huge personality.
"James’ passion for his job filtered through to so many and, because of him, many have gone on to become successful Parelli instructors.
"He was an amazing teacher, had high standards, and put countless hours into training his apprentices to become the best they possibly can.
"James was one of a kind. He never stopped smiling and joking, despite having to cope with some very difficult times during his life.
"He lived life to the full - he was the life and soul of every party, everyone knew him, he would talk to anyone and help anyone whatever walk of life they came from, and so many have been left devastated by his unexpected death.
"James proposed to me three years ago in his typical flamboyant style in a floating restaurant over the sea in the Maldives.
"We planned to marry next year and start a family.
"We have been overwhelmed by the amount of love for James worldwide and would like to thank everyone for their support - James recently raised over £6,000 for Wiltshire Air Ambulance with one of his events at JR Foundation Station.”