I haven’t been on here for a few months. I have had a really hard time, after three years of being bullied in school emotionally, things got really, really bad. I was seriously teased about my riding, this blog became a focus for some children to push me right over the edge. The emotional effect of the bullying played out in my riding, I had a few big falls and the effect of the emotional bullying meant I lost faith in my ability and not only have I been left with no self-worth, but I have also been left with no confidence to move forward in any way.
Just getting out of bed to face the day has been a really hard challenge, I didn’t want to talk to anyone and of course then trying to put further effort into a sport that was a major part of the bullying became an impossible task.
The whole last three months finally came to a head when I was sat trying to eat my lunch at school, the children who have spent so long taunting me were as usual stealing the food from my lunch box, throwing a ball at my face every time I took a bite of my sandwich and then in between that constantly throwing the ball at my back. I have for three years not fought back, not react, just let them be themselves and I have tried to ignore and get on with my thing. This one day, I just had enough, I stood up and I picked their ball up and I threw it, not hard but I just threw it. It bumped one of those boys on the head and he went completely nuts, he locked my head tight and just used me as a punching bag for as long as he could hold me for. I didn’t punch him back not just because I couldn’t but I just wouldn’t. It is just not my thing – violence. Throwing a ball at someone was a big deal for me and that small act told me it was time for things to change.
Mum picked me up from school and we went to the hospital to be checked I was very badly bruised and very sore. My biggest concern now was I didn’t want to stay in that school. The school suspended that boy for one day but then said I should also be punished because I threw the ball. Mum was great she refused to accept the school’s actions and removed me from school after a very long discussion with the schools Principal who refused to change his thoughts. That one moment when Mum said “Collect your things, we are going home” was literally life-changing. I felt three years stress lift off my shoulders, I felt in that moment that I could stand tall again and I breathed deeply and without fear for the first time in a long time.
I have moved school now and feel more confident, I have laughed again for the first time in months and I am really enjoying being in school and relaxing into lessons not scared of what will be said or done to me.
This new happiness has reflected in my riding, I am now back on B and really enjoying riding again. Life is good and I am back online.
After a hectic start to the beginning of the month, I took it a bit easy. During this time I have worked on techniques and it has released time in B’s training schedule for Kitty and my mum to do some riding. They have both enjoyed the experience with Mum starting to feel more secure and Kitty rebuilding her confidence and finally yesterday cantering B round the small arena.
With lots of school activities leading up to the Christmas holidays, it has been hard to keep on top of my riding as well. We finished school on Thursday and this means that I now have time to really dig in and get back to the training schedule.
Declan has pushed the bar up literally and in training, I am now jumping nearly 1-meter jumps, which of course B clears easily. I had hoped to jump at EEC tomorrow but B has had to have some injections in her hock due to some stiffness so she will need a few days of quiet to recover.
Now that I have been riding for nearly 6 months there is no excuse for not getting it all right. I am literally doing exercises for hours at a time to just get one small move right. Both B and I find this very frustrating and sometimes I think Declan has a hard time from me because of my frustration that I simply cannot get something simple right.
Luckily Declan doesn’t give up on me and even when I am being really horrible he gets me through the tough times and ensures that I come out doing what I need to.
some videos of the past few lessons
Today I get to add my thoughts to Mikey’s blog page, but before that, I wanted to share this picture. The lovley Nada who owns the stables that B is at, sent it to me – what do you think? I absolutely love it.
We have barely recovered from last weeks training with Marcus Wenz and then we had training this week with Charmaine who used to teach regularly at #Dujumping.
This week has been fun and mad all at once, Mikey and Kitty both had lessons with the “Amazing Charmaine” who was over from Melbourne to deliver some “master classes”. Mikey benefitted from the input on his positioning and he really enjoyed Charmaine’s excellent teaching skills as she drilled him to sit better. Charmaine was amazed by the short time that Mikey has been riding and stressed the importance of repetitive exercises to get it all right now. Her lessons were a welcome boost after the hard work with Declan when Mikey was literally in tears trying to get it all right.
He has been so committed and dedicated to learning and trying I am so proud of his achievements to date. Horse riding is hard and there is no easy route to success. All I ever want for the kids is they give everything they try their best shot and above all, they enjoy the experience – “You only ever get out, what you put in” was an expression my Dad used often and it is so true.
Kitty is slowly regaining her confidence in the saddle, and has also had some lessons with Charmaine this week which was lovely to see her finding it possible to trust B. We are very lucky that B is particularly caring and always has one ear on her riders commands. It is going to take time for Kitty to improve, but she can take as long as she wants and at least the last few days show that she will do it when she is ready. There is no point pushing and forcing her – she must want it as well or it simply will not happen.
Outside horses we fitted in the School Christmas Fair, and a trip to the mall to see #Krisvade and we enjoyed being part of snowglobe experience at Robinsons. Christmas tree purchased and we even managed to get party invitations made for Kittys 12th birthday party. Of course not forgetting the usual mountain of homework!
The plan is to be a little quieter this week. B’s old owner Kirsten is going to come and see B so we are very much looking forward to meeting her. We have a long weekend coming up and I think we are all looking forward to 4 days with no school routine to fit in.
Mum signing off x
Last week was hard! I had three lessons with Marcus plus I had a lot of homework to fit in and then it was my little sisters birthday. So we all struggled to get everything fitted in.
Monday was my first session with Marcus, it was really good to get another view on my riding as my only instructor to now has been Declan who has been so encouraging all along. Marcus basically said I lacked experience and needed to improve my balance and he said I needed to really master sitting trot to move forward. But on the plus side he said I had a good feel for jumping and I was doing really well for the short time I had ridden.
Marcus worked me really hard and I enjoyed the challenge. He taught me again on Tuesday and Wednesday and I was totally exhausted by Wednesday and found the class really hard. While Monday and Tuesday I came out of the classes on a high I felt pretty despondent on the Wednesday and I had a jumping competition on the Friday morning.
On Thursday the dog had to go back to the vet (again). Mum had to sort out Kittys birthday and another load of things that were happening so we didn’t get to the stables for the last practice for the competition on Friday. Declan arranged for B to get schooled but I was really nervous for Friday.
Friday morning started at 2.30am as my sister was so super excited about her birthday! – She woke up, the dogs woke up and Mum chased us all back to bed! At 4am she tried and again and this time we got up. Kitty managed to get “because it’s my birthday” into every single sentence and she unwrapped a few small presents then we had to head over to Desert Palm, I was really uncomfortable and so nervous. Declan brought B down in a trailer and the grooms got her tacked up while we walked the course, I suddenly doubted that I could do it. However, Declan ignored my nerves and told me “to jump on and start riding”. It was complete chaos there were horses with novice riders charging in every direction over the practice jumps and it really seemed as though there were very few riders with any control there at all. I had a simple cross pole course to go round first to get my confidence up and the plan was to trot round in total control, which is exactly what I did, so I came out feeling a bit better and jumped off to rest B before they put the height of the jumps up. This was a timed round but Declan still insisted that I jumped calmly and in total control. B is a dream horse and did exactly what was asked of her.
I had a clear round in the cross poles
Then, of course, we had to do the bigger poles (I know they are not massive) but it was the first time doing a timed course. I was on early which was nice and my video is below. In terms of time I had a second place which was great and I look forward to moving up the classes. I think the 3 days with Marcus certainly helped in terms of control. You can see my video here.
This week I have lessons with Charmaine to help with dressage and I look forward to seeing how improved I will be in the competition at the end of the week.
After finishing the jumping, Mum took Kitty to the hairdressers as a birthday treat ready for brunch with some friends. We had a fabulous day and then Kitty finally got home to open her birthday presents the next day as we had been too busy on the friday! She is now 12 years old and starting to compete with me to ride B so watch this space!
Well, this week will be a challenge. Dujumping are hosting Marcus Wenz on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We have an hour a day of individual tuition and training with him.
Marcus is a pretty big deal in the showjumping world and has worked with top teams including being the national trainer for Luxembourg and Belarus. I felt a little nervous as I have been riding for such a short time I thought I might just not be good enough for him to even start helping me. When I met him I realised how nice he was and he soon put me at ease as we started to put together some jumps to train over.
We soon got started and he was very structured, ensuring I had better control, stopping and riding more accurately. It was really great fun and I can’t wait to do some more today.
Here is a small clip of the end of the training session.
On Monday I went to EEC which meant going straight from school, changing in the car and being ready to ride when we got there. I have never done a training show before for jumping so I was quite excited. When we got there I discovered that I was going to ride B and Creme which was really great.
We went over to find the horses and the grooms and gave carrots to B as she loves those the most. The groom tacked up Creme and I jumped on and headed down to the ring we had been directed to. When we got there I realised there was no need to be nervous as the jumps were the smallest cross poles that you have ever seen!
However everyone came to watch and it was nice to do a course somewhere different and of course pick up 2 rosettes as getting a clear round on this course was pretty much a given. Because the course was so small I was able to practise my technique, turns and ensuring that I had “some” control. I guess it has just given me the enthusiasm to do even more exciting jumps in the future, the goal is to be in the big arena before Christmas.
I did work really hard last night and I just wanted to share these videos with you.
Today I am going to compete B in a small cross pole class in Emirates Equestrian Centre. I practised really hard last night with Declan and Mum says that I will probably get around on a “wing and prayer” so let’s hope she is right.
I feel more comfortable on B and she tries so hard to listen to what I want, it is just that I have so much to learn. Here are some pictures from last night which Aljoud took for me and all I need now is your positive thoughts for tonight.
Wish me luck!
I haven’t written in a few days, it has been a busy week. I have a show on Monday so there will be an update then. For now I am going to share a picture and hopefully a video of my sister starting to ride and enjoy B as much as I do.