Putting on the emotional handbrake

At Milton Keynes BE100

I’ve been quite tardy about blogging here for the past few months. It really does seem that life, work and babies have taken over (note that I include horses in the ‘life’ bit as they are a major part of that). I’ve also been writing a bit for Eventing Worldwide and a new project which hasn’t been formally launched yet. 

Eventing wise we had a great run at Burnham Market, My first BE 100 this season to come 8th which I was thrilled about as it was very competitive. Six days later we ran at Milton Keynes and I really struggled with nerves, but still got a double clear; although a load of time faults which knocked us out of contention. Following this we went to Rockingham, an improved dressage (lying 5th), but a very flat SJ round, on holding ground to have 2 down. Wanda felt very low that day and not her usual uppity cob character so we decided to withdraw from the XC as it was up to height and I was concerned she wasn’t on peak form. Within a day she was back to her old self but I’ve been unpicking our performance a little to work out why I haven’t been so confident of late. I’ve written a lot of detail in an EWW blog which will be published soon so won’t cross over into that, but in sum I think my private life as really had an impact on my riding and enjoyment of eventing.

I’ve been trying to get divorced for the last 3 years and it really has taken its toll on me emotionally and physically. I just feel worn out. Add to that raising 3 kids under 6, and one who is 10mths plus work and I’m pretty frazzled. But riding is my sanctuary and it’s not something I’d give up lightly; although things did get that bad a few weeks ago I thought I might need to. 

So how do I work through this? Well I had a little break from riding Wanda for a couple of days last week and headed off to Badminton Horse Trials to meet some friends and also spent the weekend reporting and blogging in the media tent. Possibly the most tiring thing I’ve done in a while but somehow it really restored my batteries and made me realise just how much a big part horses play in my life. 

I’ve also been having some help from Jo Davies, who is a sports psychologist. www.jdpsychology.co.uk Over the phone we have talked about my nervousness and confidence issues, developing some really tangible ideas that I can use when out competing. I really want to knuckle down and work through these ideas as I feel very positive that they will help to make my eventing so much more stress free. 

Today I’m back in the saddle after my mini break and decided to have a little jump and see how I felt. After one or two pops I was really back into the groove. So much more relaxed and Wanda was really taking me into the fences. I definitely didn’t have the handbrake on. For the first time in a little while I had a real sense of achievement and a little high. I’m hoping this isn’t a false dawn but today was a good one and I’m now getting excited for our next event at Little Downham. Hopefully I will be Kicking on!

At Rockingham. Photo by Lens Vanity Photography

One thought

  1. Good luck at Little Downham!
    It’s funny isn’t it how depending on the circumstances of that day/week/stressful situation, how horses and riding can completely unwind and help you see things clearer. Or become another factor of stress and guilt!

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