I am hugely thankful for all the ongoing help and support I have from everyone surrounding me, including family, friends, everyone at Talland, work, sponsors, physios, doctors/nurses; the list is endless.
But a part of my recovery and life as it is now that I’ve found particularly hard to come to terms with is accepting help and asking for help when I am physically struggling to do something.
In some ways this is how I’ve managed to recover to the stage I’m at now. However, in many ways it’s been my achilles heel, as I tend to not respect my body enough and what it is ultimately only really capable of doing.
Prior to my accident this would be an area I also found difficult, so it is no surprise that this trait has continued! I would be lying if I said I didn’t find this adjustment difficult mentally, as I have always been such an independent character.
However, it’s about adapting and mentally accepting and allowing generous people to help.
Emotions running high
Over the weekend of the Para Winter Championships, held at Vale View emotions (happy ones!) were certainly running high.
To my amazement I became grade two open para champion on Abira (pictured top and below), especially as a year ago I was only just starting my journey into para dressage. Abira was on phenomenal form all weekend and gave me the most fantastic rides. I never thought I’d say this, but it felt much like a great cross-country round.
Abira also gained our personal best by a huge margin in the mixed grade freestyle on the Saturday, scoring 76.75%. He danced away and came third overall. He certainly lights up when the music comes on and knows his routine!
I saw my score and couldn’t believe it. Ruth had to double check and confirm my score! He certainly is an exceptional horse and I’ll never be able to thank Pammy and Charlie Hutton enough for letting me ride him.
My friend Ruth Townley, (who I work with at B&W Equine Vets), had braved grooming for me again. She was a fantastic help and we certainly had a lot of fun, even if she had to put up with me being slightly over excited! It was seriously cold and she even had the luxury of one of Abira’s rugs to help keep her warm in the lorry at night; what more can you ask for?!
By the time I got home Amo was feeling slightly left out. It wasn’t long before I was out competing on her again in my second prix st george test. She is such a kind and generous mare and tries her heart out and I really enjoy riding and competing her.
I have some very exciting news; Abira and I are off to compete at our first international in Waregem in Belgium in a couple of weeks.
The last time I competed abroad was in Portugal in 2008 on Sweet Jemima in the CCI2* event at Barroca. I certainly underestimated how much Lucy Wiegersma organised in terms of logistics for me looking back now!
Lucy’s previous head groom Tiggy (Gemma Fuller) is taking me, which is a bit like history repeating itself in that Tiggy drove me to Portugal all those years ago!
I’m extremely excited to have this incredible opportunity and I’m looking forward to gaining the experience of competing Abira in Belgium.
“Paraberry” is the latest edition to the “Willberry Wonder Pony” family. I feel extremely privileged to have been given a “Willberry” by Hannah Francis.
Paraberry will be going everywhere with me and he will go on various adventures along the way, as well as raising awareness of Hannah’s ongoing fundraising plans for #kickingcancersbutt.
Hannah and I had a great afternoon at the weekend catching up and chatting non-stop about her recent adventures and up and coming plans. Hannah never ceases to amaze me with her up beat zest for life regardless of her awful illness. Hannah is so brave and truly inspirational; many people could learn something from her.
In other news
The bank holiday Easter weekend was totally worth the five-and-a-half hour drive home to Cornwall. My weekend was full of catching up with friends, trying on my bridesmaid dress for my brother’s wedding later this year, having a very warm welcome from my Jack Russell Tapi (pictured below), spending time with my family, and obviously eating far too much chocolate! Shhh, I don’t think we need to tell the Excel programme nutritionist; surely Easter doesn’t count?!
Next on the agenda is the Petplan Area Festival Championships at Hartpury on Sunday with Amo and then it’s full steam ahead to get ready for Belgium.
“One small crack does not mean that you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart”