Jim Maxwell, an ILPH field officer for the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, talks about his career

Jim Maxwell has recently been appointed as a Scottish field officer for the ILPH. He replaces David Craig who is retiring after nearly 12 years in the post.

Jim hasn’t always been interested in horses. He joined the police force as a regular beat officer in 1971, before marrying his wife, Ann, a keen horsewoman in 1976. Initially Jim lent Ann a helping hand before deciding to learn to ride himself.

He quickly progressed from a recreational rider to a serious competition rider, competing in affiliated show jumping and eventing up to intermediate level.

He spent 15 years in the Mounted Branch in Strathclyde where, as well as general mounted duties, he was an instructor and trainer of remounts.

In September 1991, Jim suffered a crashing fall while cross-country schooling. He sustained severe internal injuries including a ruptured bowel and spleen. Luckily, he made a remarkable recovery following the accident and returned to compete in the spring of 1992.

But ill health, and the arrival of his son,were catalysts in Jim’s decision to stop eventing. In 1994 he took light duties and in 2000, after 29 years service, he retired from the police force.

Jim then worked as a graphic designer for a vehicle graphics company until the he heard the post of ILPH field officer had become available.

“While working in the mounted section, I formed a good relationship with the ILPH. The job of field officer had always appealed to me and I mentioned that if a position came up I would beinterested.”

The new job means a move to Fort William in north-west Scotland. Jim, together with his wife and 10-year-old son Jamie, will take residency in a new house that has been built for them.

An ILPH field officer normally works from a base at their home. They need an office with a computer, phone and fax line, but most of their day is spent out and about.

The role involves:

  • Inspecting horse fairs and sales
  • Inspecting potential loan homes for horses
  • Spot-checks on horses once they have been rehomed
  • Investigating complaints made to the ILPH complaints department
  • Keeping an eye on the equine population in and around their area.

Although Jim no longer owns a horsehe still maintains a keen interest in all things equestrian, and feels that this job is perfect for him: “I love being out in the fresh air and really enjoy meeting new people.”

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