Coming back from an injury that forces you to stop riding is tough, really tough -emotionally and physically. My horses were performing really well, the hard work and training was paying off. Our goals were firmly set for the summer season. Sadly a freak fall put a massive full stop to all my plans. Not knowing how long the recovery time would be – 3, 6, 12 months – it sent my head into turmoil. If (like me) the world seems to stop if you can’t ride your horses, then my journey should give you hope and strength to get you back in the saddle.
Try and have a supportive team around you, people that are positive and proactive. You can never predict when something is going to go wrong. Remember to be willing to put the same effort back in if they need it!
I was fortunate enough to have Jay Halim take my horses in and keep them competition fit. Jay got on really well with Ascon Z. Taking a positive out of a negative situation, he stepped Ascon Z up to jumping a very successful world ranking class at Bolesworth. They were amazing! If I hadn’t had an accident, he might not have had the ride! Injury alters the path but the goals are still there – keep moving forward.
So with the horses being taken care of, I needed to get myself back on form and competing in the quickest way I could. I had my plan, which was the Hickstead Derby Show. 20-24 June. Once my injury had been diagnosed and properly assessed, I joined Nuffield Health gym in Letchworth and I hired a personal trainer. I was recommended a fantastic Physio in Stevenage (Ask-Physio) and with Karen Cooper at Shefford Osteopathic clinic, they have helped me back, it was painful but worth it.
I’m not a gym goer nor do I have the excess cash for therapists but they have been brilliant. I would highly recommend seeing these professionals. I could begin to drop the crutches and use my leg. I had been out of the saddle for 7 weeks and, like most riders, your eye on the ball drops away quickly! You loose your mojo. But don’t. Keep moving forward. Every day you see an improvement, it makes that day a better day. When you have a day that you can’t see an improvement, just keep going!
I managed to get back in the saddle but left myself very little time to prepare for ring – or jumping practise! I went to a local show to have a jump (and see how my leg would cope). To my delight it held up it was weak but possible. From there I went to Brook Farm in Essex and successfully qualified my 6yr old Dakota, with three double clears in the Newcomer second rounds, which qualifies me for the Masters. I’m still smiling!!
So I was still on track for Hickstead in my mind! With more physio, osteopathy and gym sessions, after lots of discussions I was allowed to take the six year olds (History and Dakota) and compete!
The horses were fantastic, really consistent jumping double clears and some nice placings, I was over the moon.
Jay jumped Ascon Z in the 4* and qualified for the speed derby and the 145cms which I was thrilled with.
I’m now preparing for my next show, a 2* at Keysoe next week. I’ve clipped the horses, they’ve seen their physio, Paul Darrington – it is vital (in my opinion) to keep the horses in good shape and checked over for any possible niggles. Any soreness can affect their performance and health. Just like us!!
So… try and not let set backs stop your plans. Just alter the path and… good luck. Always remember that your family and friends are there to help you. Lean on them when you need to! I certainly have mine, I couldn’t have done it without them !!