Sticking together, a reality check and a Custard teaching me to cope…

Hello..

So I’m back, it’s been a while. But it is that time again! So put the kettle on, pull up a chair and get ready to be bored!!!

I actually sat down to write a blog about 4 weeks ago, but truth be known when I started writing I didn’t have much interesting to say! Then about a week ago I came across a interesting post on a social media. It was a post about about horses and riders being allowed to run a levels they may not be ready to run at… Anyways.. Within that post some comments brought up a ride a pro rider had given a horse at a fence at a major event. I won’t bore you all with the ins and outs of it but basically the horse ended up jumping in the ditch in front of the fence and fired the poor rider over its head. Now, what got me most interested was the fact that some other pro riders were commenting about it and they were being pretty harsh about the way the rider in question rode the fence. Being nosey, I was about to try and find the fall/UR in question. That was until someone kindly posted the video!

When I clicked on the video I was half wincing as to what horrific riding I was about to see, but then came the shock.. I didn’t see horrific riding, in fact I didn’t even see bad riding. So I watched the video over and over, truth be told I couldn’t see one thing the rider did wrong. So I did what I do, I said as much on the post! The rider in question is one of the best riders in the world, he was riding a very experienced but difficult horse that has been known to ’empty out’ towards the end of courses. But the horse and rider combination have been very successful together, they had done a leading dressage mark and SJ’d clear. The rider was kicking on to a big open ditch/brush fence and was on (from what I saw) a perfectly decent stride when the horse just jumped in to the ditch. The horse didn’t faulter, didn’t check its self looking unsure of the stride it was on. It simply took off and instead of jumping over the ditch and fence it jumped in to the ditch instead.

I wasn’t at all shocked by people on social media being mean about the rider, hell I’ve seen riders ripped apart on social media for less! But what did shock me was the people that were having their ten pence worth. They were pro riders, who I’m sure at some point have ridden a fence badly or ridden a fence really well only for their horse for unknown reasons put in a shocking jump. As pro riders we have to be very careful about pubically calling out other riders for mistakes they make (not that I believe the rider in question made a mistake) because it leaves us very open. I asked if any of the riders commenting had ever made a mistake? Or had a horse let them down? None of them responded to me, I asked the question because I know dame well they have, because I’ve seen the mistakes with my own eyes.. I am the first to say if I feel someone, pro rider or not has ridden well or badly. I am very open about the mistakes I make, mainly because I want people that follow me to know that even us so called pro’s f*ck it up every now and again, I am also very open when for whatever my horses don’t go well. Sometimes horses just don’t play ball – doesnt mean you haven’t done your home work or put in the right amount of effort. But what I try to not and hope I don’t do is pubically judge them, because I am very aware of the saying for the grace of God go I. So pro riders, how about us sticking together? No bull shit needed but no public hanging either, that is of course unless you are perfect? And can say you’ve never got it wrong?

It’s just I hear replacing glass in green houses is expensive……

So, that brings me nicely on to my next subject!   RIO.. Having got my love for eventing back I watched Rio closely, after all I have 2 horses that will be ready to win gold in 4 years time so I wanted to find out what I was in for!

Having watched from the get go I had one overwhelming feeling.. That feeling was disappointment…. Half of our team were off the pace in the dressage and scored well below what they had been producing here, then we (barring 1 rider) looked out of our depth on the xc. Yes we show jumped well, but so we should have..

I then watched while social meda went in to melt down on the day of xc, again what interested me was just how negative and plain rude people were being about the riders.. Let’s be frank now – it’s simple, we did under achieve. But do people honestly think that those rider out in Rio didn’t try their best?! Of course they did.. But for what ever reason we aren’t consistently hitting the mark at championship level. Can anyone honestly say the funding programme is working? We have world class riders and horses so why aren’t they performing at world class level when we really need them to? We have to face the fact that we have not and do not perform consistently on the same high level as the other ‘top’ eventing nations when it comes to the championships, despite the fact we are the hub for eventing, riders come to this country to be based, for training and that’s not bringing in to account our lottery funding program. Hopefully this is the reality check we need so the powers that be can get us back to being the country others fear and when the xc gets tough we shine, not fall apart. But please don’t pull apart our riders, they were out there in RIO doing their best, their best ‘should’ be good enough. It’s down to team GB to change the ‘should’ in to ‘is’

Whilst we are talking of Olypmics..

I have my 2 horses all lined up, one is the son of a Little Tiger by Jaguar Mail. The other is a funny little narrow bright chestnut with 4 white socks, blaze and belly called Custard.

Custard was given to me by my best friend, she is a racing manager for an amazing lady and when their horses have finished their racing career they make sure they get good and permanent homes. Custard is a very odd character! He struggles with life slightly but there has always been something about him I loved. This summer I have finally had time to start his eventing career, from the second he left the ground I simply thought wow! For all Custard can’t cope with lots of aspects of every day life, my good he is classy… For Custard flat work, jumping and being brave xc comes very naturally to him, what doesn’t come naturally to him is believing in himself. That is were my job has come in, I have spent the last 6 weeks building him up and showing him just how great he is and my gosh he is seriously finding his feet! Custard has made me remember that I have a knack with horses that need a friend, also that seeing the obvious talent isn’t hard. It’s seeing and working with talent that’s buried away that is a whole lot harder. Do I think Custard will honestly get to Toyko? Hand on heart – yes I do. Am I mad? Stupid? Delusional? Probably all of those things.. But if I don’t believe in him he certainly won’t believe in himself!

My little chestnut ex race horse is going to Toyko. Simple. I have made our plan, we shall stick to it and we will look forward to you all saying – Phoebe told us so.. For me dreaming is what makes me tick, it’s what I live for. I live to do things other people wouldn’t do or don’t think I can do, because I’m that girl – the one who does things other people wouldn’t. Wether it’s jumping a pony round Badminton, jumping a gate one handed whilst videoing with the other hand or getting a scared of his own shadow little ex race horse to think he is the best event horse to have ever walked the land. But I do those things for myself, because what makes me tick is what’s important to me.. Not what others think of what makes me tick…

Recently someone said to me the power of the mind is an amazing thing. That same person also told me an amazing story about just how powerful the power of the mind can be, it reminded me of how I convince people I teach to jump fences they never thought they could. The reason I convince them is because I am convinced they can.

So do something for you, something that makes you tick.. If anyone questions you or tells you not to do something you want to.. Get rid of them, if people that are around you don’t believe in you it makes believing in yourself a whole lot harder. Just ask Custard…

Over and out.

P xx