Happy New Year guys! I hope that you’ve all had a lovely Christmas and had a few days off to relax and unwind before the big move into the new decade. I feel like there’s a lot of pressure that comes with a new year and the whole ‘New Year, New Me’ and this feels even greater with it being a new decade as well. Social media allows us all to reflect over the year, and generally celebrate in everything that’s happened over the past twelve months. People always like to set a goal for the year, which is something that I’ve not felt confident enough to do, up until now…. I’ve been very lucky and have had an awful lot to be thankful for this year, but it wouldn’t have happened without the help of several people, and in particular, Jay Johnson.
For those of you who follow my page, Jay will be a familiar face in several of my videos, and he is the reason that Mary is where she is today. Just over a year ago, I couldn’t canter Mary over a cross pole. Each ride was just getting worse and worse, my confidence was at rock bottom and I was at my wits end. I had seen Jay’s videos on Facebook, and I was always amazed at his bravery, and how he always seemed to land on his feet! Fast forward a few weeks, and Jay came out to help me with Mary. He never lost his temper, was calm, kind and considerate, and explained everything that he was doing. He made everything look so simple, but when it came to my turn to try it, I found it far more challenging that Jay made it look! He turned Mary into a rideable horse that didn’t use rearing as an evasion, and he showed me how to channel her energy and focus into working with me rather than against me.
We’ve certainly had our ups and downs over the year, and Jay came back out for a visit in the summer, as I’d been struggling with Mary at shows and not addressing the issues at home. He once again showed me exactly what I was doing wrong, and spent several hours a day with us until I was getting it right. Funnily enough, as soon as I stopped making my mistakes, Mary stopped with her rearing and planting! It just goes to show how much the rider can influence the horse both positively and negatively, even if it doesn’t look like they’re doing much wrong.
I am so lucky to know that Jay is totally supportive of Mary and I, as well as every horse and rider combination that he has ever worked with, and I know that he is always at the end of the phone if ever we come unstuck. There really aren’t many horse professionals out there that offer that kind of service!
I genuinely cannot tell you the last time that Mary reared, and that’s a really incredible thing to be able to say. So… my goal for this year? As well as all of the usual ‘keep learning and improving’ I’ve decided to be brave and actually set a proper goal. So here it is. This year, I would like to jump a 1.40m class. Even writing those words feels like a big deal, but why shouldn’t I dream big? If I don’t reach this goal, then I can guarantee that I’ll have learnt a hell of a lot trying, and hopefully had some fun along the way.
I’d love to know your goals and plans for this year, however big or small they may seem! I always say that everyone has their own version of a Grand Prix, and Mary’s first ever British Novice felt like the Olympics to me.
Keep wrapped up warm, and I’ll speak to you all again soon!