Self Acceptance

It’s been a few weeks since the start of outdoor sport and more recently the opening of non-essential retail. Not sure what is more exciting; going to a show or getting my hair cut! I didn’t rush out to a show on day one, but I don’t blame anyone who did; it’s been a long time waiting for a chance to go somewhere. I was keeping an eye on the EHV situation as well as stepping up my horse’s fitness level. Wednesday 14th was finally the day after six months away from competition and although a bit spooky and strong, we got a nice double clear in an easy class which was just what I planned for. I was very pleased with that. My own fitness has taken a bit of a nosedive recently due to a strained Achilles tendon. I was doing quite well with motivation considering I hate the winter and I hate exercise! Ha ha! The most annoying thing was, I strained it whilst exercising on Zoom with my fab HIIT and Pilates group. They have been excellent and great fun. Sometimes instead of HIIT we do Dance Fit, which I am fairly uncoordinated at; I do wonder how I stay on a horse with my lack of skills. Being in a rush to start on time I thought it would be fine to do in my socks. Turns out it isn’t and you really should wear trainers if you are going to jump about in your living room. So of course, being an equestrian, I gave it a few days and then cracked on! A week later it was worse which ended up meaning a month of wondering if I would have to put a stair lift in or just crawl up the stairs and go down on my bum. No running and no HITT made me feel a bit rubbish but I was still able to ride at least. My motivation to enter the show was still there but there was a real concern my show gear might not fit! I wouldn’t say it was an easy fit but good enough. Hopefully, I can get back to working out regularly again now – in my trainers!

There are many things that can change the course of your plans. I think equestrians are some of the best people to understand that but sports people in general are a resilient bunch. It could be easy to get overwhelmed by events which may push you off course especially when you might already be in a vulnerable place. I think we are all potentially in a vulnerable place right now due to the stresses of the past year so do be aware of that when/if there are bumps in the road. We are tough but remember we are all human too and sometimes we will find ourselves struggling a little. I feel incredibly lucky to have a connection with horses and just animals in general. They always give me a reason to keep trying. I know I will get back on track with my fitness in time. Starting again from where I am now is fine.

During the Centre 10 Advanced course we were fortunate to learn so much from Charlie Unwin. We were introduced to some great podcasts, TED talks and interviews which sparked my interest to learn more from other sportsmen and women in different sports. It is not just sports people who can give good advice of course, but I think in sport we have so many opportunities to mirror life and learn skills which can be applied to anything. The benefit of that is we are learning whilst having fun, struggling whilst keeping focused and often aspiring to emulate others or aspiring to reach goals. We do all of that usually for no other reason than we want to. Learning is often most effective when it is not forced. I love to learn and am curious. I am always developing my coaching style to allow more opportunities for riders to explore ideas for themselves with guidance. Learning in that way relies on riders to make new connections by finding answers themselves. The neural pathways are created in your mind like a roadmap when you search for answers yourself. There are no connections made when problems are solved for you and answers given. I have so much to share with you from my learning and I will continue to learn from you too. 

One of the podcast series I was introduced to is ‘Don’t Tell Me The Score’ with Simon Mundie on BBC Sounds. I have listened to many of them and I can highly recommend you look it up if you are not already a fan. He will be setting up the series on another platform from next month, but for now you can access all of his back catalogue on the BBC. I will put a link here to an incredible interview with the young racing driver Billy Monger. It is titled Self Acceptance. He had a horrendous crash at just 17 years old which resulted in him losing his legs. The immense bravery and acceptance of his accident has allowed him to not only survive but to thrive and be an inspiration to so many others. He is an outstanding role model and only 21! Listening to stories like his is a humbling experience. I certainly find a better perspective when I listen to others.

Enjoy listening and exploring the series. I have many more to discover on my road trips. Next show this week so I will be listening to more.