Monday, 31 December 2018

Number 3 of 'Five Things I'm Proud of in 2018' (Gymnastics)

Gymnastics this year has been immense! As a reminder, I started going to a disability gymnastics class at the beginning of 2017, and I loved it from the beginning. I now go to three sessions a week and sometimes an evening one if I can make it too. I hoped that going to gymnastics would help with my vaulting and with general everyday physical function. It's definitely done both! Here's how I felt about it back in January 2017...
In the first session, I had a bit of time walking with my crutch on the sprung floor, which felt heavenly on my joints... On the trampoline I also practise walking without a crutch... Yesterday, in my second session, I also tried the beam for the first time - but a very low down version, only about one inch off the ground! Walking along it with my crutch was OK but without my crutch I really struggled and kept falling off, so that's something to practise. I had thought it would be quite easy so it was a bit of a wake-up call to realise I couldn't do it.
I referred to this as 'my new playground' - and it still is! Except the pit foam has changed colour ;)
I also put this down:
Now, obviously, I'm not going to be doing the same stuff as I did when I was little.
Well, that was right. I'm doing SO MUCH more than I did when I was little! The year has been very busy and I've worked on loads of skills, so here is just a quick taster, month by month, of 2018...



In January I spent A LOT of time doing this. I'd had a nasty fall doing it in December and got whiplash, so I needed to practise it lots in January to 'get back on the horse'. I still hate bars.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Number 2 of 'Five Things I'm Proud of in 2018' (Courage)

I have sung throughout my life. When I was two, my oldest brother became a chorister and was closely followed by my other brother, so I spent most of my early childhood at the cathedral for their services. At that time, girl choristers in cathedrals were exceptionally rare, and there was no opportunity for female choristers where my brothers sang.
I spent many, many hours gazing at the ceiling and finding the deliberate mistake!
I was always insanely jealous of every aspect of what they did (although, truth be told, I wouldn't have been too happy about giving up my Sunday mornings at the stables). Fortunately, my school was a choir school and we all sang daily. In Years 5 and 6 we could audition for the 'Senior Choir', which sang at concerts but also at occasional evensongs at the cathedral. I loved it!

Number 1 of 'Five Things I'm Proud of in 2018' (British Vaulting Championships)

I've stolen the idea of writing about the things I'm proud of in 2018 from the wonderful Ruth Chappell at Dressage Anywhere. I was planning to write about all five things in one post but since I hadn't written about the British Champs yet this is just one long thing and the rest will come later!

British Equestrian Vaulting Championships 2018

Defending the title this year was HARD. It felt as if the fates were conspiring against me and I just had the feeling that I was drowning in everything. I was struggling so much with health and injuries and it was so hard to train. I wasn't getting any horse time because the way the vaulting club organised booking sessions trained so, because I wasn't sure if I could commit to a whole block of sessions (I was waiting for my shoulder op - and still am!), I could only book occasional sessions. I was still training really hard at home on my barrel and doing lots of conditioning. Basically, I was as fit and ready as I could be without actually practising on the horse.

Illness and injury

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Showjumping - Hartpury 2018

This post is about my showjumping class at the RDA National Championships 2018. I was going to group all the classes together but showjumping was such a trial that it merited its own post! Read on to find out how I got on...

Regional Qualifier
If the dressage was on a bit of a wing and a prayer, the jumping class was plain ridiculous. I was entered into Level 4 Showjumping - 70cm course with 9 jumps altogether (two doubles, so 7 fences but 9 jumping efforts). My experience at this level consisted of one session with my coach and the regional showjumping coach, which had been partly to sign off my coach as capable of coaching this standard (which of course she was, no problem) and partly for me to have a go at it and then film me doing the whole course, which would count as my regional qualifying round.
From the training session - I have no idea why I had the giggles but you can tell from my fashionable attire that it was hot, hot, hot!
Previously I had completed longer courses at a lower height (65cm - and those 5cm make all the difference) but this course did feel rather big. It was a burningly hot day too and both Rolo and I were struggling a bit in the heat. The crowning moment came when I did a spectacular cartwheel dismount over the fourth fence, which resulted in some impressive bruising and a torn meniscus (fortunately not felt until a few days later!), and also in me learning a very valuable lesson about the importance of not taking off for a jump until your horse does.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Catching up! Hartpury 2018 (Musical Ride and Dressage)

OK, so there are lots of excuses I could make for why it's taken me three months to write about July, but they're all poor and uninteresting so let's just crack on, shall we?!
I appeared on the front cover of the Rule Book three times in 2018 - see if you can spot me!
Regular readers or other RDA riders will know that Hartpury is the climax of the RDA. Hartpury College is a top-notch equine college in the countryside near Gloucester, in the west of England. It's also a major venue for international competition - particularly dressage, but it also hosts international showjumping and eventing - and a wonderful venue for the annual RDA National Championships.

This year I had entered a few different classes - this post is about the Musical Ride and dressage...

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Haters gonna hate and similar sentiments

Most of the time, I try to see the positive in situations and people. There are some good reasons for this - one is that you don't know what's going on in other people's lives when they're mean to you. Another is more selfish - why feel bad if you don't have to?!

It's hard to accept and even harder to enact, but you have the power to decide how you feel. Whatever someone else does to you, you shouldn't let them have that power over you. Recognise that they do NOT have control over your feelings. Rather, YOU do, and as such it is your responsibility to rise above how others would make you feel and take control of your own mind.

It's not easy, especially when you feel that your indignation, fury, frustration and grief are justified. The thing is that, although they may be justified, they're not helpful. They don't make you feel any better long-term. Sure, in the short run, it helps to let it all out, but ultimately you need to get over it.

To help you in that little transition period - the period which comes between, "SO ANGRY!", and, "I still think it's unfair, but I'm not prepared to sacrifice my own happiness for it" - here are some little quotations I've found on the good ol' internet. They cover something of a spectrum - enjoy.

Monday, 9 July 2018

3030 Challenge

Throughout June I took part in the 3030 Challenge, run by Active Essex. The idea was simple: for each of the 30 days in June, you had to be active for 30 minutes (or more!). I made a series of videos to document my efforts each day. Click here to see the full playlist on YouTube!

As I went through the month, I competed at the English Vaulting Championships and my first ever gymnastics competition. I did quite a bit of stretching, throwing myself around and coaching. There are quite a lot of horses featured over the 30 days. Happy watching!

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Wings for Life World Run

A couple of months ago my friend Claire and I had a hilarious morning when we met Colin Jackson, and were interviewed as part of the publicity process for the Wings for Life World Run.

The video is a little misleading as it cuts out the discussion that my disability is not a spinal cord injury. It's a bit irritating that they have just gone with 'wheelchair user, must be able to speak on behalf of people with SCI', but if it gets people interested in the event then never mind. You can find the video here.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Called to the bars

I've been working hard at gymnastics on some bars skills. Some people are natural bar workers; others aren't - and I'm definitely in the latter camp! I find everything on bars really difficult, which obviously means I just have to work harder. When I get it wrong (which is most of the time) it's infuriating and it often hurts. Here you can see the pain! Click here to watch the video on YouTube (for better quality).

Thursday, 29 March 2018

My fab friend Eleanor!

I'm so very proud of my lovely friend, Eleanor, who has been selected to ride on the East Region team at the Para Home International dressage competition next month. Eleanor rides at my RDA Group and doesn't have the luxury of access to her own horse, so this is an especially impressive achievement. She's incredibly determined and focussed and I'm so excited for her! Read more here.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Seven years

An awful lot can happen in seven years. All of World War 2 fitted into seven years. My entire time at primary school fitted into just under seven years, as did my entire time at high school. It takes less than seven years from birth for most children to learn to read, to learn some times tables, to learn to do a cartwheel, or to learn to play a musical instrument.
Someone else figured this out. I haven't checked if it's right or not. I don't massively care.
Seven years ago (and one day, because I wasn't well yesterday) my dad died, and it just feels bizarre that it's been that long. Each time I think about it, I feel that I know it has happened but I haven't yet responded emotionally to that. I'm not in a hurry to do so - I'm quite happy being emotionally functional! - but it does seem so weird that so much can happen and can change in someone else's life, as well as in my own, but this one thing still hasn't changed. 
 It still feels as bizarre now as it did seven years ago.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

LAMB Equestrian

My more professional website has been up and running for a year now, so it's time to show it off a bit more! You can find it here. There's information on the various equestrian disciplines I do, competition results, and a monthly blog post giving the low down on what I've been up to. This month's post can be accessed by clicking here or on the image below!

Friday, 19 January 2018

English Federation of Disability Sport

Over December and January I worked with a lovely lady called Courtney to put together a blog post for the English Federation of Disability Sport website, after I met Barry Horne (EFDS Chief Executive) at the RDA AGM in November.
The finished article is now live on the EFDS website - click here to read it!

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

One way to start the year!

At the moment, things aren't easy. When I have more energy I'll write a bit more about why things aren't easy, but for now this post for Your Horse will give you some more information.