Life’s twists and turns!
My first eventing memory was being five years old, and watching Badminton on the tv in our Isle Of Man cottage. I grew up certain that eventing was where it was at, and what I wanted to do. I took a pretty circuitous route to getting started in the sport, spending time in Denmark trying to learn how to do something vaguely recognisable as dressage, and I worked for several top Irish showjumpers as well. I worked for a couple of event riders into the mix, and then made the disastrous decision to set up by myself at age 25. I was so broke that I didn’t even have a saddle, and had to school bareback in those early days.
I rode out racehorses to fund myself, and between the racehorses, my own horses and my liveries, I would sometimes ride up to 16 horses a day. It was absolutely insane, and although I learned a lot, I never got much closer to the dream of successfully eventing full time.
I often rode very difficult horses or picked up catch rides on green horses-occasionally the stars would align and I would scrape a placing-or even more rarely, a win-but I never had my shit together enough to get very far in the sport that I still love so dearly. In time, I found that I really loved bringing on young horses, and watching those horses go on successfully with a more established rider. I also began to combine my love of eventing with my love of writing, which has brought me so much fun and enjoyment.
Sometimes no matter how much you want something in life, you just can’t make it so. The good thing is that so often, out of the unexpected comes new and different opportunity instead. In ten years time, I’d love to be a proper equestrian journalist-but who knows? In ten years time, the path could have changed wildly again. The key is to enjoy the journey, and to not get too hung up on the destination.