I moved to Portugal 5 years ago to make it as an international dressage rider, without a horse, or a coach, or actually knowing a single person.
Last year I started competing internationally, and it’s now been a year since I was injured and had to take time off.
To say that I’m disappointed would be putting it lightly. I honestly never thought it would take so long to get back into it. The problem is not the injury, the problem is how the injury affected my ability to keep on going. To tell myself that I can do it, because I know from experience that if I get hurt, it can pull everything apart, metaphorically and physically.
After hearing so many athletes interviewed during the olympics I am reminded again that nothing good comes easily.
Australian cycler Anna Meares came back from a broken neck to take the gold last week.
Most of us have seen the interview in which Rafael Nadal’s leg cramps up and later he is asked if he plays in pain and his reaction to the question says well “yes of course”, knowing the question to be a rather stupid one. Every athlete overcomes something.
Sport, at any level, particularly elite level is mental…Equestrian sport is even more reliant on the mind of the athlete, as they must somehow communicate and understand their horse.
Batialo knows I’m worried about being hurt, and so I lose his focus. A year ago I entered an international arena and I was quite literally out of my depth, but I was so determined that I blocked out everything else, and just stayed with my horse.
Why can’t I do that again?
A wise woman (mum) says I have to watch a video of myself riding in Valencia, or Madrid, or Mallorca, and remember how it was, how I set my mind up, in order to overcome the physical hurdles around me.
What did I tell myself in order for Batialo to understand that I was in charge?
A true athlete fears nothing but failing to do the best that they can do, in any given moment.
If you ride alone at home, and you are worried, you will face the same issues. Mentally you have to somehow overcome this, to remind yourself why you do it.
The simplest shift in your attitude, can make all the difference. Unhappy people attract unhappy people. A stressed rider, will surely be granted a tense horse.
One year later, and I’m still a rider, I will always be a rider, I just have to find my way back to where I want to be, even if my goals have changed, or I have to change horse, or direction…The only thing that has stayed, is my passion for the sport I love.