This months blog has been really difficult, because of how much I want to write, which is why it’s taken me longer to post! You may have read in last months blog that Alfie had some time off after tweaking something from slipping in the field!

Well bringing him back into work hasn’t exactly been plain sailing, due to the fact he’s been a lot sharper than usual, as well as being a lot more spooky too! For that reason, it’s meant my time out the saddle has been prolonged!

Eight weeks out of riding has really made me think about how much it enables me to be as mobile as I am! It’s rare that I have more than a week out, and the gym usually tides me over until I get back on, but I’ve actually been extremely uncomfortable over the past couple of months because I’ve been so stiff.

As you may already know, I originally started riding as a form of therapy for my disability, but the more I’ve ridden over the years the less of a noticeable effect I’ve felt it’s had on my body, which ultimately has lead me to take it all for granted.

Despite the fact I’ve not ridden for such a long period of time, I’ve religiously been going to the gym to keep my fitness up, but I’m also surprised at how little that has helped keep me as supple and as mobile as possible to so that I’m comfortable!

If anything, going to the gym has probably made me feel worse in a sense, because without the riding, I’m not able to do quite as much in the due to being stiff, which I find frustrating seeing as I actually enjoy going to the gym anyway, but i’ve found t’s been a bit of a catch 22 situation, as going to the gym has made my hip hurt more because I’m so stiff, but by not going to the gym, I’d of become a lot stiffer, which would of made it a lot harder to get back into riding when Alfie was ready.

If i’m being completely honest, I find it scary how much the riding does benifit my body and the way I feel physically, which has also lead me to ask myself whether I could ever see myself without horses in the future. This particular question has made me think about quite a lot of factors, one being how easy life would be without  horses, as the past two months have been so frustrating, and quite frankly upsetting in a way when I think about it, because of how much things have changed in such a short space of time.

Just a couple of months ago, training was going amazingly well, and although we set the bar high in terms of what we were aiming for, it all seemed achievable! We went out, and got a couple of good scores, and were on track to compete at Bishop Burton International. Despite the fact I had no real expectation in terms of what scores I wanted to get, I honestly thought we stood a real good chance of getting sufficient scores to have the opportunity to go to Selection Trials for World Class in December.

It really does astonish me how fast everything changed within a matter of hours, One day, training was going so well, to the point we were all getting really excited to see how well Alfie and I would perform at Bishop Burton, and the next day, we had to withdraw from the competition.

It’s pretty gutting to be honest, and scary, because I feel quite a lot of pressure on my shoulders for everything to go right, as my parents have kindly invested a large sum of their money into buying a horse that has so much potential, and has the ability to to help me achieve my ultimate goal that I’ve dreamed about since I was 7.

However, there’s never the guarantee that it will go the way we want it, because in reality, things don’t go to plan, which is fine, if you know what the issue is so your able to fix it, but it makes it a whole lot more frustrating when your team mate has an issue that they can’t pinpoint, which then makes you analyse absolutely everything  to find possible causes, as to why they are behaving in a certain way, which as you can probably guess sends you mad.

To be clear, there is nothing drastically wrong with Alfie! He slipped in the field, and tweaked his back, which is easily manageable! He had four weeks out of work, and was a lot sharper, and somewhat spookier than usual when we started bringing him back.

Alfie is fairly sensitive, and forward thinking, but spookiness isn’t really within his characteristics, which ultimately made me delve deeper into a million reasons as to why he was spooky, which in turn makes you analyse, and in my case stress a lot more. I think the reason as to why I overthink so much is because of the amount of pressure I put on myself! I feel it has to go well in order to justify the amount of money Mum and Dad have invested in me in order to give me the best possible chance of success, and although they’ve made it clear that there is no pressure form them, I can’t help feeling responsible for any money being lost should something go wrong, regardless of whether it’s out of my control.

So with all that factored in, I can definitely say life would be a lot easier and stree free without horses, but I wouldn’t be me without the riding! Over the years, it’s been the one thing that’s been a constant throughout my life, through tough times, and especially the good times! It’s defined me as a person, and has allowed me to develop and grow in ways that I can’t even begin to explain.

From a physical perspective there’s obviously that benefit in terms of reducing the amount of tone through my right side, and enhancing my mobility the best it can! But it’s also helped me build my confidence, and be proud to say I’m disabled, because had I not of been, I’d of never fallen in love with the sport, and my fury, four legged team mate! So would never swap my horses for the world!