Hayley Hankey was forced to rethink her life when her 59-year-old mother, Jane, suddenly died of a stroke earlier this year.
Not only would she have to move out of the Cotswolds family farm at Evenlode, but also find a new career, having worked in her mother’s horse-training business, helping to produce “Pebbly” ponies and eventing horses.
Ms Hankey, 38, said her mother’s friends had helped put her back on her feet, suggesting that she could run her own business.
Now she has exchanged her riding hat for a flat cap and warm scarf, offering coffee to early-morning commuters at Kingham, while continuing her career in eventing.
She did particularly well at the Blenheim Horse Trials this year, and she hopes her new business, Foxy’s Coffee, will allow her to train after the coffee shop closes at 11am.
As it is a Monday-to-Friday operation, she will also be able to continue competing at weekends.
She said: “A friend of my mother’s, Gill Hester, suggested I should look into running a railway station coffee shop, having helped the one at Haddenham, which started small.
“She gave me the idea and helped me work out the figures. “We had to do our maths and see if it was going to work. I know I have to build it up.”
Since the recent revival of the Cotswold Line, coffee shops have opened at Charlbury and Moreton-in-Marsh, but Kingham had nothing.
“I approached First Great Western and they welcomed the idea bacause there is no facility at the station. It’s quite small and very much in the middle of the country.”
Foxy’s Coffee is already proving popular, operating from 6-11am from a trailer in the station car park, which she plans to take to outside events as the business expands.
Her only problem is that commuters tend to arrive for the train at the last minute, without leaving themselves enough time to buy coffee.
“I hope people will get used to it being there, and hopefully they will get there in time. I just hope they’re willing to change their ways.”
She is still recovering from the shock of her mother’s death. “I didn’t expect that,” she said.
“I am surrounded by some wonderful people who have had businesses themselves and made a success of them. They have given me advice and now I have to work hard to make it a success. “You only get out of life what you put in.”