My June blog sees me 3 weeks post injury. I will be honest and say this is not quite where I thought I would be mid season, but, thats life as they say, so there’s no point getting down about it, instead I have been busy in other areas of my life.
In addition to riding, I also coach riders and I am also a fully qualified Sports Psychologist. I love being able to teach from the ground but I also love being able to help people with confidence and performance issues, which maybe stopping them from achieving their best.
This month, with the very kind help of one of my pupils who acted as a chauffeur, I have coached my regular Pole and Gridwork clinics and as a BHS assessor, I have been assisting pupils who are studying towards their BHS Intermediate Teaching Test.
I really enjoy coaching and combining my skills, and I have just spent a really interesting 2 days at Stoneleigh under the National Development Programme for Coaching Excellence. The scheme is a 12 month programme, and I am one of 4 BE coaches on the course.
Over the 2 days we looked at different leadership styles, how to develop riders mindsets and how to create, build and get the best out of a team – something I feel the nation is coming round to with the recent progress of the England football team. It’s all about learning from other sports as well, and we had a really interesting two days with Paul Shaw who was the ECB Womens Cricket Team Coach. All of this I find fascinating and I am always keen to get back home and start putting into practise with my coaching what I have learnt.
It hasn’t all been work work work! I was lucky enough to visit The Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show. Wow, is all I can say – I was blown away with the organisation, the venue, the atmosphere, the structure and the running of the show. All I can say is that it is the only show I feel in this country that is similar to an International event. It had the corporate sponsorship, the entertaining facilities, the VIP areas, the attention to every rider and sponsors requirements, I was quite blown away, and left really thinking that if our sport is to continue, and progress and develop then we surely have to be making our events more spectator and commercially attractive?
I also tried something a little different last month; I volunteered myself to commentate at Sparsholts Festival of Dressage. Taking place over 3 days, affiliated and unaffiliated riders took part in tests ranging from Prelim up to Grand Prix. The team at Sparsholt wanted to create an atmosphere and a buzz to the whole 3 days, so put out requests for commentators. I had a great time, it was a very long day, but so enjoyable to watch young and older riders getting out and experiencing what it’s like to ride in a Festival, there were some great tests, and I was really pleased to see a variety of breeds and sizes strutting their stuff down the centre line. All credit to the riders and horses that coped in the heat, they all did a great job and Im sure left that day with a sense of achievement. I was surprised to see how inclusive Dressage is and it did make me think how dressage as a discipline really does welcome all shapes and sizes of horses, and is a lot accessible than I thought. Just goes to show you should always be open minded and not afraid to look outside of your chosen discipline; like in the coaching we can all learn something from other areas that we are not so familiar with.
I expect you are wondering what the horses have been up to whilst I have gallivanting around!! Well, they have all been having some time off in the field. I decided when I knew the extent of my injury, that there was no point trying to keep them ticking over; they would come to no harm from just chilling out and relaxing for a month. Where I am can be quite wet, so over the winter months they did spend a lot time in, so I used this as an opportunity for them to go out and just have a bit of free time. They have all been perfectly happy eating and obviously the weather has been lovely for them to have a bit of down time in.
Their feed has been adjusted whilst they are out and I am happy knowing that they are keeping mobile with their continuing grazing and playing! Unfortunately (for them!) they will all start to come back in from the start of July and begin fitness training again.
Lastly, I would like to say how proud I am to be an Eventing Worldwide Supported Rider, even though this has been a difficult month it’s been lovely to know that I still have the support of the whole Eventing Worldwide community, something which is of comfort to me and I know is also a great comfort to Jonty Evans family. The response has been out of this world to the #WearGreenForJonty campaign and I am honoured to be part of the Eventing Worldwide team and what it is doing for Jonty.