This year has gone extremely quickly. Sometimes taking stock of your achievements and the hurdles you have overcome allows you to put life back into perspective and treasure every moment along the way — something I think is particularly important to remember.
So far 2016 has been mind-blowing, there’s no other way to describe it. Of course I’ve had moments when my body just hasn’t been playing ball, however, to be lucky enough to have my life back and a future ahead of me, what more could I want? Not only that but to find out that I’ve ended up 32nd on the FEI world Paralympic ranking for this year and seventh best British rider is fabulous.
This doesn’t happen on its own though. There’s an integral team behind the horses and I that helps keep us both in peak condition. A massive part of my team includes everyone at The Talland School of Equitation and the team at Oaksey House, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today. I also couldn’t be without my fantastic sponsors, supporters, owners, friends and wonderful family.
It’s certainly been a busy few weeks not only with the horses but also with work (B&W Equine Vets) as we’ve had a recent hospital inspection, which involved a lot of practice standards protocols. I’ve also been for a weekend away visiting my great friend near Windsor and having a fabulous time being a bridesmaid last weekend in Salcombe.
Practice, practice, practice
Now winter is in full swing, the time has come to pack the practice in with my riding. I have been training hard on Abira and Sid with Pammy and Charlie Hutton, ready to come out next year having made improvements and marginal gains in my tests. This, combined with all the work I do with Daloni and Rob at Oaksey House, will be consolidated together to help my performance.
Sid (LJT Enggaards Solitaire owned by The Lady Joseph Trust) was on great form at Summerhouse recently, and won a novice test overall and the elementary silver section. Sid has got a great attitude in the arena and I certainly feel we are improving as a combination every time we go out.
BEF Excel cross-discipline day
Two weeks ago we were lucky enough to have an incredible and truly inspirational day at Moulton Collage for the Excel Talent programme cross-discipline day. We had a fantastic talk from Ben McBean, who served in Afghanistan, sustaining horrific injuries after stepping on a Taliban landmine. He lost both an arm and a leg, but he never stopped believing in himself. This is the strength that got him though a huge number of setbacks.
Not only this, but he ran his first marathon just 12 months after losing two limbs, also completing a climb to Everest base camp and completing the three peak challenge.
We also had various sessions on ‘sponsorship and marketing — what’s your unique selling point?’ and ‘media tips — lights, camera, action’. Needless to say I came away extremely motivated and inspired.
Wedding antics and a weekend in Windsor
The past two weekends have been full of fun and friends. Last weekend I was a bridesmaid for my fantastic friend Abi and her husband Jack. It was a very special day and the sun even came out for the photos to be taken. I managed not to fall over walking down the aisle and I even managed to keep upright on the dance floor. Job well done!
The day before the wedding we all had a lovely time in the spa at the Salcombe Harbour Hotel. It was lovely to chill and most importantly let my body relax.
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The weekend prior to this I spent time with my great friend Briony. I have known her since we were at Truro High School and our early Pony Club days. We have lots of stories including being sent out of French lessons for misbehaving. We were a bad combination at school!
Briony and I had a fab weekend, chatting, wandering around Windsor, watching fireworks, a bit of chilling and she even had me doing my physio exercises in the evening as she’s a physiotherapist in London. No rest for the wicked.
As most of you know now, my year never can be quite complete without some sort of added obstacle. Next week I am going into hospital for an operation on my ears. This operation is not solely due to my accident as I was born with a lot of hearing and ear drum problems. However more recently my ear drums have been bursting almost non-stop. This has been having a knock-on effect on my balance, especially as I have vestibular issues as a result of my accident. All fingers crossed that this will help!
“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself”