The Progress of a Young Leader

May 2019

Dear all,

April has been an eventful month, full of highs and lows!  We have been out to the first internationals of the season with both top horses putting in good performances in their classes.  Our top horse, Quob Dynamic (Mickey), had a great run round Burnham Market 4* – really holding his own against some of the top combinations which are heading to Badminton this weekend – he also achieved a fabulous double clear.  He then headed over to Ireland to try and get his qualification for Burghley this year. Despite everything going to plan, disaster stuck on the last day when Mickey was a little sore on his front right leg meaning he was unable to show jump and finish the competition. It was hugely disappointing to be so close. It did make the journey home feel a lot longer than it should have been, 17 hours of driving gave us far too much thinking & worrying time.

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Once I was home, I then had a really nasty fall with a young horse at his first competition, thankfully the horse was fine and I’ve escaped with just feeling battered and bruised but it safe to say after that week I was feeling pretty low. I was injured, as was my top horse and we are only in the second month of the eventing season.

Mickey has now been checked at the vets and there is nothing seriously wrong, nothing more than just feeling a little sore and achy, which is understandable as the cross-country phase is effectively like a marathon. We now just have to re think some training to hopefully prevent this from happening again.

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Our horses, like us as humans are treated like athletes but we can’t always protect them from injury or stiffness, we just have to reduce the risks.  Going forward, it now means we have to re-try for our qualification. We are re-routing to the under 25 British Championships at Bramham Park in June. It wasn’t my first choice as it’s a very hilly track and Mickey is a little horse but it will be hugely exciting to be competing in that class and I have to remind myself how lucky I am to have a horse capable of that level. Hoping for a bit more luck this time!

I would be lying if I said it had been easy to motivate myself after such a blow, but I know from past experience it could have been so much worse. Out in Ireland I was the youngest in the class, by some years, and I was so lucky to have some of the top professionals willing to give up their time to help me and offer advice, it made the disappointment much easier.  Hearing their stories reminded me that this is a sport and you can’t control every factor.  All disappointments are character building.

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I also have been revisiting what I learnt on my Living Leader programme which has been hugely helpful to get my mind refocused into positive thinking.  When things don’t go to plan it’s so easy to focus on the negatives rather than what actually went well.  It’s far too easy to draw your attention to the ‘I can’t’ rather than the ‘If you knew this might happen again, what might you do differently’.  It’s my choice to feel low and actually doesn’t help anyone and I feel I’ve had quite a journey the last couple of weeks reminding myself to think positively.

We have lots on in May too, so it really is a case of onwards and upwards.

Indie Vaughan-Jones