I have had a few setbacks during my showjumping career, producing showjumpers isn’t easy. I seem to have found out the hard way with a mix of injury, people letting me down or the green eyed monster of jealousy rearing its ugly head!
However, I have learnt and been told that self confidence and self belief is what carriers you through the ups and downs of a highly competitive sport such as showjumping.
I had a silly fall in 2015 which put me out of action for over a year. Getting back to fitness and back to competing felt like a mountain that I couldn’t climb. It felt like every time I got on a horse something at home or at the shows went wrong, which in turn resulted with me ending up on the floor, in a heap. My confidence and self belief were in tatters. I seriously thought I had lost it and couldn’t showjump anymore. I felt like everyone was talking about how badly I was riding, how good my horses were but how they would be better showjumping under someone else. I felt like everyone around had a negative criticism to make, rather than giving me the confidence to get up and do it again, unknowingly the showjumping industry was just knocking me further into a rut. And believe me, I didn’t need any assistance with finding that rut!
It all started changing when I took a step back from showjumping and competing. My parents found Claire Norman, a sport physiologist. One thing she said was that I had to be in my own bubble, to ignore any negativity and bad mouthing around me. She taught me how to plan for both my good rounds and the not so good. I now try to have a back up plan for when things don’t go the way I want them to in the showjumping ring, to have a plan B. Claire still drills into me the factors that I can change and control and the ones that are out of my hands – to differentiate between the two. She gives me tools to get into the right mindset when I am on the horse. The tools that if it’s not going well or someone says something negative it just bounces right off me.
I work hard schooling & jumping at home to solve and fix any issues my horses or I have. Things that I might be struggling with I work through with either my mum or my trainer. It’s important to have an educated pair of eyes to see from the ground what’s going on. The problems that I can’t control I do my best to ignore! I try to go back to my personal showjumping bubble! Horses have emotions and are opinionated so they don’t always do as they are asked, regardless of all the planning, this is not a controllable factor, so I try and move on and don’t give it another thought.
The people that know me well know that I am not the most self confident person but I believe in the horses under me and I believe that I can get there with all the support around me, whether it’s my trainers, friends, family – I have a fantastic support network. The negative people are always going to be there but I tend now to try and only listen to the ones giving me constructive criticism, I try to let everything else bounce off of me.
I have a plan and an end goal and I believe that I can get there, I am confident in both my ability and the ability of my horses. I’m sure there will be many more bumps in the road but I will continue to work hard and to believe in myself. One thing I’ve learnt is to keep going & be positive, riders are hard on themselves so now and again step back, give yourself a pat and enjoy your showjumping journey.