I’ve been riding for over 35 years; you could say I was born in the saddle. I started show jumping as a junior in 1995, when I was 16, I got approached by the British junior team manager to see if I would be interested in joining the GB youth team. Unfortunately, I was very saddened to turn the most amazing offer down as I was turning 17 and going into seniors.
Over the 25 years of competing at BS I have competed at local and National level and have successfully produced many young or problem horses to Newcomers level, also having many wins and placings in big national classes. I have trained with some of the country’s top riders and advanced trainers along the way, I am a personal friend of Geoff Billington and have had the pleasure of training with Guy Williams, Stephen Hadley, Ian Stark and Joe Whittaker.
I now compete my main home-produced mare at Foxhunter and 1.25m level. I was placed 4th at the Royal International out of 160 riders in the Newcomers and was also placed in the top 16 in several other 1.10m classes at the Hickstead Derby Meeting and Royal International with over 150 entrants in most classes. This included having a super double clear and fast time in the jump-off section at the Hickstead Championships in the 1.20m open classic coming 8th, this was one of my goals for 2018.
My most pleasing achievement was qualifying for the International arena at Hickstead, we sadly had a pole down but I aim to qualify again and hopefully leave the jumps up! I also have a lovely new mare who I plan to get out in 2021 and have two youngsters that I bred from my old BS mare and they will be ready to compete in 2022 and 2024. I have an exciting team of 4 horses to compete over the coming years.
I coach many nervous novices to advanced level and have helped the more advanced riders develop further in show jumping. I was a team coach for the London Youth Olympics back in 2000 training a very novice team of 4 riders who had never competed before to Bronze position out of 35 other teams over up-to-height BS tracks.
In September 2019 I had a very unexpected nasty fall when jumping a height, I was jumping consistently and winning at (1.10m). I was also getting good placings in 1.20/1.25m and had started steeping up to 1.30m classes.
When you have been at the top of your game and winning, to not being able to do even the simplest of things is a huge knock back and it really makes you feel worthless. That one nasty fall is all it took to end my world as it had been, the bond with my horse had been shattered and that trust had been taken away like switching off a light.
Not being able to trust your horse plays a huge part in the game and you need that bond and trust with each other to excel and be the best you both can that day.
I went from jumping at a competitive level over some huge fences, to not being able to trot over a 30cm cross pole and it was devastating, frustrating and deeply upsetting to only name a few feelings.
Fixing this seemed simple, just keep trying to push on and it will come back next week. Yes, it did for a month or so, jumping small courses but the problem of trust and partnership was still broken so this did not last long.
To be able to admit your problem to its full extent and that you are at the end of a piece of string with no more to unravel is hard to do.
In some cases, like myself you are so desperate to continue to try and work through dragging along getting nowhere. It is only when you finally have that courage to throw the reins down in the ring and physically break down and admit that you need help and guidance, that is when you realise it is not just about lacking in a little bit of confidence. It is depression, stress, anger, embarrassment, frustration, desperation and everything else.
I started to have sessions with TFT and EFT tapping therapy, having these sessions helped me to understand my worries and problems and we began to work through them utilising tapping on the Meridian points. This all helps remove the negativity and emotions, enabling you to see things in a more positive light. The tapping may sound daft to some, but it is a scientifically proven therapy; for me it worked.
So, putting things in an easy way of understanding.
A big deep dark hole with a box of hidden matches!
When you finally admit and submit yourself to rock bottom in the pitch black is when you stumble across a box of matches, then you can take out a match and light it to see the first flicker of light which will help you to find the first step to getting up and out of the dark.
For myself it is a bigger box of matches and striking one at a time for each step up, but sometimes you come across a damp one what wont light up! At this point you have two choices, give up or continue. I am slowly getting back to where I was 18 months ago, and I want and will go beyond that!
As for others it may be as simple as needing help to find the box of matches to find a door and open it!