So March definitely wasn't the month we were expecting or wanted!
It started off well for me, after all the bad weather we had in February I was excited to get going with the competitions. First up was Norfolk Show Jumping Club where I went with 3 of the horses. Magic was a little star at the show and won the 1m and the 1.05m, Tilly and Oliver also jumped great just to have a few poles between them.
Then I went to Anvil Park Stud just to jump the 1m with Tilly. This was our first outdoor competition of the year and boy was I excited for outdoor season to finally begin. Tilly was clearly just as excited and went and won the class!
So only 2 shows and we had 3 wins, all seemed to be going well and I was so excited for all the outdoor competitions I had planned. And then what we were all wishing wouldn’t happen, did. Coronavirus hit us and pretty bad at that. A few days later British Showjumping announced they were suspending all competitions until the 16th of April, which was then extended to the 31st of May, I definitely shed a tear when I heard the news.
A couple days after this complete lockdown was announced.... I think this photo sums up how Oliver and I feel about lockdown....
Now don’t get me wrong, having a few months off competitions is not the end of the world and I am so grateful and lucky that this is the biggest problem in my life. But for someone who lives and breathes showjumping and competing this hit hard.
I think a lot of us felt lost and probably still do. We are used to constantly chasing goals and wanting to move up the next level to suddenly having nothing to work towards. In times like this it really is hard to keep motivation up.
Now this is completely out of my hands and we have to remind ourselves that these times will pass whatever we are doing, so why not make it count. I am not encouraging anyone to break lockdown (please don’t!!) but there is always something we can be doing. A lot of us have our horses at home so why not use this time to practice on those small things with your riding that bug you but never really have the time to focus on? You don’t need to be jumping around courses each day to be training, how about riding without stirrups once a week to strengthen your position? That is my motivation for the rest of this “time off”, train on all the small things we usually brush off.
Another positive of this is the quality time we can spend with our horses and can see why we all do this, our love for horses. As much of a competitive person I am, I didn’t start riding at 3 because I wanted to compete. I did it because I loved horses and that's why I have kept it up for all these years and can’t see myself ever doing anything else. So hopefully this downtime lets us just enjoy being with our horses and remember why we all do this crazy sport.
So what's the plan for now?
Well it’s very hard to plan as no one knows what the future holds at the moment. Obviously we are hoping to get back to normality as soon as possible. However a lot of the bigger competitions have already been cancelled, Welsh masters and Hickstead Derby which were on my competition plan have already been cancelled. I am just trying to keep all my horses going so that when the ban is lifted and competitions can begin we will be ready to go. That being said I am not really doing any big jumping or long courses as firstly, there is no point killing them going around courses when we don’t know when they can go to any shows and secondly, we want to minimise any potential accidents which could lead to more strain on the NHS.
So now is the time for fitness, flatwork and gymnastics for my horses. Its been great how a lot of the professional riders have been giving exercise ideas on Instagram etc as we rarely get to see what goes on behind the scene.
Another thing I have started to try and keep myself entertained during this is, vlogging. I had always planned to start vlogging my shows this season, however as we know by now nothing goes to plan so I have started at home. I love watching other equestrians and seeing what they get up to at home so I thought I’d join in.
Have a look at my first vlog here;
Hope everyone is staying safe out there.