I’m now back from the UAE. I can’t believe how time has absolutely flown by and although I’m so happy to back with the rest of the Breen Team I do already miss it out there.
For my final blog about my time out there, I wanted to talk about the last show I was at. Although the other members of the Breen Team left at the end of February, I was lucky enough to stay on a bit longer so that I could attend the 5TH FBMA International Showjumping Cup in Sharjah, a show that I had been really looking forward to it as it is dedicated to female riders.
This unique show coined the hashtag #FBMA, which stands for Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sport Academy and its mission is to empower women and girls in the UAE through promoting them within the sport.
This event has highlighted to me how I have taken for granted the natural equality I have as a sportsperson in the UK, where equestrian sports sees men and women on a completely level playing field. The whole experience has opened my eyes to how awareness still needs raising in other places around the world — hence this academy, and the fantastic people working to bring to the credit of all sportswomen. I didn’t realise it before, but I feel quite strongly that whether you are a man, woman, girl or boy, we should all be given fair opportunities.
Showjumping is the perfect sport to use as an example. In many countries the sport shows that gender and age provide no barrier to making it to the top, and as we all know it is one of the very few sports where men and women compete at Olympic and championship level in in the same classes against each other. The now viral #thisgirlcan hashtag has never been so true to an industry as more and more women are proving there are no limits, so long as you are willing to work hard, and out here I have met so many hard-working, inspiring women.
For this show I had some of the top Z7 horses come with me, and none of them disappointed. Z7 Caretina and Z7 Qamar both placed well throughout the weekend. But of course my main man, Z7 Cash Up, got to show off and we finished with a third place in the grand prix, a class hotly contested by an impressive field of top female riders. In the video above I chat to the lovely Cecilie Hatteland about how she feels about winning this prestigious class (I think I might be a better rider than I am interviewer, but you get the gist!).
Like this? You might also enjoy reading these:
Writing these blogs for you guys to read gives me the opportunity to sit down and reflect on my trip. It really has been awesome, but in particular it has been invaluable experience for both me as a rider and for the horses. They have all excelled themselves when faced with high pressure classes in the blistering heat and all have achieved our goals for them. In my vlog I talk more about the horses and how they have come on and give you a little background as to why I rode one particular course like I did.
I’m now back, but am already packing my bags again as we have a couple of days to turn everything around and then we are off to Belgium for a show in Leir for two weeks (#thisgirlcan!).