Podcast Channel - Your Riding Success with Natasha Althoff

The Your Riding Success Podcast Channel

Podcast Episode 26: Maree Tomkinson | Equestrian Mindset

In this podcast, we speak with Maree Tomkinson. Maree is a household name in the Australian Dressage scene. She's competed internationally on several occasions, including the World Equestrian Games and has claimed many Australian titles. Well known for her partnership with Diamontina, we dive into an insightful chat talking highs and lows.

To keep up with her journey, you can follow Maree on Instagram @tomkinson_group_dressage.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00:00):

Thank you for coming along today. I'm so excited to have this conversation.

Maree (00:00:06):

Good. Yep, me too.

Natasha (00:00:09):

Great. Okay. So let's start with, what, um, when did you first start Riding? And I know at the very start you had a show career. So if you mind telling us the five minutes of the first kind of bit into horses and why you got involved with them in the first place.

Maree (00:00:26):

Yeah. So I'm the second of four children. My parents are not horse People have never written or had anything to do with horses and neither do my other siblings.

Natasha (00:00:36):

I love it.

Maree (00:00:37):

Um, I was born in Melbourne, but we went to new Guinea very quickly after that. So I grew up in new Guinea and we came back in, um, ended up living in Bendigo and I got a pony for my seventh birthday. Um, because I think my parents really just wanted to shut me up. I was just nagging, nagging. I wanted a pony, like for six years I wanted a pony. So we ended up getting that. They got me a pony. We lived on a suburban block in Bendigo and, um, yeah, they got me a completely unsuitable pony. And, um, that was the beginning of it. I think they were hoping that I would, you know, that I had to go and do everything on my own and no one would help me and I had to do it the pony every day. And they, they really tried to make it as hard for me as possible. So that to sort of get it out of my system.

Natasha (00:01:28):

Yeah. I love it. And it did not work. So did you do the pony club thing? What then? What did you do once you, you know, we're riding now? What do we do?

Maree (00:01:43):

Yep, absolutely. I did the pony club thing. Um, I had, so my first pony was called black Bess and she was completely not suitable. I won't go into that, but we had a, um, we lived in this old place in Bendigo, still there, and it had a, uh, eight foot high brick wall around it. And, but, but on one side of the property, the wall was eight foot. But on the other side, it was probably only three or four feet, but it had an eight foot drop. So ladies pony used to run up to this wall and just pitched me over the wall and I would have to run all the way around through the gray backing, get onto the Pony. We couldn't put a saddle on it. Um, so I rode bareback the whole time and it was ridiculous. Really. You just set, you wouldn't do it to your child now. Luckily I'm not dead. We went up, grew up, grew up through the pony club system and, you know, I had a few more unsuitable ponies and eventually got one that was full. Um, my dad used to take me everywhere because my mom couldn't pull a float or whatever. So my dad took me in the early days. And, um, yeah, we went to all the normal gym and did the novelties and the jumping and the everything, all, all everything as you do. And, and back then, there really wasn't much dressage. It was mostly just showing, you know, it was yeah. Nearly every that don't think we even had a, you know, at first the Olympic representative was in 1984. So, so in the eighties there were, there really were no shows. Um, dressage days I'd say most of my generation work, we all started Showing or eventing or something like that, and then moved over to dressage as we go.

Natasha (00:03:30):

Okay. So that makes sense. So you, you want it, did you have it inside of you? You just wanted to be, um, was it the showing the drive because you liked looking perfect and pretty and clean, or was it, I just want to be successful in riding so I'll go there. No?

Maree (00:03:46):

no, it just evolved that way. Like at pioneer club, I was a completely wild child and just wanted to do the novelties in the jumping and hated the flat work. And it was completely well, undisciplined. You know, I grew up with, um, like I said, not in a horsey family, so completely undisciplined and we rode bareback and, you know, through the creeks and didn't re didn't want to ride in an arena at all, but I went to the wrong. So we lived in bendigo I went to the Maroney show and I won the good hands. Okay. And the lady, the judge, the judge who judged the good hands, she said to my PA cause I was, you know, I was fair up. Um, she said to my pupil, my parents in, from the side of the arena and said to them, your daughter's actually a very good rider. And now that you've won the God hands, if you're going to take her to Melbourne show, you need some help because you can't take her down like this that's God. So that was the start. So then I think Paul quick was what was in Bendigo at the time he was, um, my mom's hair dresser. And so she's gone into having a haircut and said that Marie won the good hands. And this lady said, we can't take her down like this. What does that mean? Paul said right now, here's what we do. We've got to go down to Louie upstart and get you a riding jacket. And we've got to go to Olympic Saturday and get you a saddle and a bridle. We've got to do this, we've got to do that. And he sort of pulled us into line. And so it evolved, it just evolved in into showing that way.

Natasha (00:05:36):

Yeah. And so what's your favorite career moment when it comes to your show career?

Maree (00:05:43):

To the show horses? Yeah. Um, well I think winning the Gary own when the first time was really, I was only 20 words, I think I was 21 and it was very exciting and, you know, yeah, that, that was pretty amazing. That was fantastic. And I think probably the last thing I won was chaired in Hackett Sydney Royal on earth day. Um, that was the very last thing. And it just happened that champion hack was just before the grand parade. So we did the lap of honor with 60,000 people watching. And that was pretty amazing. That was, that was a pretty, I mean, nowhere that they just say art, that I were there to see the grand pride, but it just happened that we did the lap of honor with the, uh, with all those people watching. So that was, that was pretty amazing.

Natasha (00:06:37):

Yeah. That is huge. And so you were so successful in the show area and achieving everything that I assume you'd set out to achieve and why the shift to dressage you were done. You wanted more.

Maree (00:06:51):

Yeah, I don't, I've sort of gravitated towards it for a long time. You know, when I was as a hack rider, I, I had gone and had lessons off good on big and we'll scan hosel. And, um, you know, I was always having lessons with Clemens for Margaret MC, but first and then Clemons. So I always gravitated towards dressage people to train with. I wanted to learn, I wanted to ride well, and I liked the training side of things. So I was sort of lucky in that I had that training, uh, Nalco answer was my trainer, of course, when I was a hair rider. Um, and he trained with friends, bring her, I think. So he sort of had that background as well. So I was pretty lucky that I was trained quite well. I had all those good people training me. So that was, that was good. And I think I just, I, you get sucked into the hacking thing cause it's so much fun. Like it's, so it was so much fun going to Royal shows with, you know, everyone will congregating together and it really, it really was very social and a lot of fun. Um, I was about 25 or 26 and I remember winning champion lady rider at Sydney show. And I went back to the hotel room and I lied on the bed and I looked at the ceiling and I would say, this is it, is it, this is my life. This is, this is it. Like I said, I'll, I'm the Gary Allen, when I was 21, I'll work with lucky enough to win. I don't need to list it, but I was lucky enough to win a lot of stuff at a very young age, national horse of BIA. And I think I won champion rider at Sydney, like seven or eight times, you know, how many times do you know? Um, so I just sort of thought I really have to, I can't, I just can't do this for the rest of my life. And I don't take that away from anyone who does do it. I mean, I think I've said I had so much, that's so much fun. I made great friends. It's a real skill to take off the track, thoroughbred, turn it into a show horse and make it perform under those conditions. It's a real skill. Um, and you know, I, back then we were rescuing horses before it was fashionable. So to have a good eye and be able to pick those horses out of the raft and turn them into show horses, it really is a skill, but I loved the training. I loved the riding and I love training and the walk trot and canter, I just, I needed more, I needed to do more. And my show, most of them did do dressage as well. And they did that okay. But you have to be, you know, you have to decide what direction you going into anyway. So I had had a shift of direction and it was very good, was very good.

Natasha (00:09:55):

And, um, it seems this it's, what would you say is the secret to your success? Like even saying, you know, I had show horses and occasionally I did dressage with them, but obviously they weren't built for it. And it seems wherever you put your focus, you need to do it like you do it, do it to such a high degree. Was that, were you amazing at school? Is, is, is that just part of your personality, like, or is it only directed in horses or was it in everything you do?

Maree (00:10:28):

Um, I think it's in everything I do. Um, I, I wasn't amazing at school, but the things I liked to do, I did well. Um, and considering, considering the fact that I wasn't there much, I did, I did quite well at school. Um, I just know my school for me was something I had to do so that I could finish that and get on with my real life. Yeah. Because I knew, I was wondering, it's very lucky people that knew from a very early age that I was going to ride horses and work with animals for the rest of my life. No matter what anyone else said. I say, now I joked to the, um, to, to my family, into the P the kids I teach. I say, I'm unmanipulatable, I can't, I am unmanipulatable. And sometimes that's good. And sometimes it's not, in some ways it makes you a little bit, sometimes a little bit too rigid and hard to move off your path. Um, but in other ways, it's makes you, you stay on your path. Yeah. So, so in some ways it's good in some ways it's not good, but, you know, I think, um, yeah, I, I, I was good at the things I was good at. And, and, and I guess that's why you head in that direction because you are good at them. And, and I'm very disciplined and I've always been very disciplined of I'm a focused, disciplined person. And I know that that often makes me a hard person to be around for the majority of people that are not very disciplined. I know that it makes me hard to be around sometimes, but it's not something about myself. I don't like.

Natasha (00:12:10):

Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's really important when you, you look at what you've achieved in your life. And do you think you could have achieved it without discipline?

Maree (00:12:22):

No. And I mean, like everyone, I think you'll, I look at other people and think they're more disciplined than me and how much more they've achieved and how much more I could have achieved if I, yeah. So I think that's, I think everyone feels like that. I think that, you know, often there are people that come to me for lessons and they say to me, Oh, you know, if a better rider I had my horse. And I say, yeah, but we all think that we all think that don't think that Isabel were done. And everybody thinks that, you know, everybody thinks if I'd had this horse 10 years ago, or if I, you know, everyone thinks that, but that you don't, this is your horse and your journey and what you've got and you know, your horse doesn't actually care.

Natasha (00:13:07):

Yeah. Yeah. He cares about the Oak bucket. Yeah. Okay. So you've made this shift and this decision I'm guessing that is like, now I'm a dressage rider and I'm going to be the best dressage rider I can be. Is that your thinking behind that when you made that decision?

Maree (00:13:25):

Yes. And, but you know, the goals change that the goals change all the levels of the goalposts change even before you get to them. Sadly, because that makes us never really content. But when I first started riding you know, I wanted to ride preset, George, just ride it know. And I had had a lot of success as a show rider, and I think I didn't want to be a loser. You know, like I didn't, I think I did, I did Sydney Royal in 2002, like we talked about and got champion hack. And then a week a month, a few weeks later, I did my first ever Sydney CDI. And I think I came in second last

Natasha (00:14:09):

and that's a big thing. That's actually played a trumpet. You were still on a horse. You were still in a horse competition and you were a big thing.

Maree (00:14:21):

Yeah, exactly. We did this, um, Prix St George. And I think he came about 10th, which wasn't too bad. I mean, in hindsight, now coming tenth on a, on a ex show jumper, wasn't too bad. It was really good, but I didn't want to come tenth you know

Natasha (00:14:42):

We're not used to that.

Maree (00:14:47):

And so then the next day I went out there and I'm like, no, we've got to do it better. And dah, dah, dah, that and came 24th. Yeah. You know? Um, so yeah, it's a huge state learning curve. And I mean, the things that happen along the way, the, the luck, the bad luck and the unfortunate things that happened with horses, it's just heartbreaking. You know, I, I, I had a horse, um, when, just before my brother died, I had a horse taken off me and I changed it from five years old to grand Prix. And the girl and I was really, really upset. I was, I mean, I was in a very bad place anyway, but I was really upset. And the lady who owned the horse, she said to me, for God's sakes, Marie, you're a professional. You should be able to deal with this sort of thing. Right? You don't deal with it. Anyone who trains a horse up to grand Prix, you put your heart and soul into that horse. You have a relationship with your horse on so many levels. Firstly, they're your friend. The horse is your friend. You know, you go out, you spend time with it every day. They, they like you. They rely on you. You care for their, every need, like a baby, like a big baby. You take care of that horse. Like it's your child. So firstly, they're your friends. You love them. Secondly, you create something, you know, it's a creation like a, like a painting or a, you know, you've, you've trained this horse to do this most amazing thing with you, deadly, they're your partner. Without them, you are nothing. You are not a rider or a horse person or anything. When that horse is removed from you. I just personally, again, then there's the financial commitment. You've called bucket loads of money into that horse. And it's now worth a lot of money. So this is the financial loss. And finally, and I say finally, because for me, it comes as the last thing. It's the success that you can have on that horse. That horse is your shop window. It's your shopfront, it's what you, you, your whole business relies on that. It's a fickle business. And if you are not out there having success in the arena, you know, people are going to come to you to learn or to buy a horse or whatever. So anyone who doesn't have a connection with the horse after they've trained it for all those years, anyone who isn't invested in that horse, whether you own it or not, even on some level, you know, it's not your horse. If you are not invested in that horse, You shouldn't do it. Get another job. You shouldn't be in the sport yeah? And a good, a good AFT it's years of work. It's Hmm. You should be invested. Sorry. That's a bit of a Lecture.

Natasha (00:17:52):

No, go on your rant, we can rant wherever we want to. It's awesome. Um, and I think that's, that's, that's a huge, we should try and unpack that a little bit, because as you said, things with horses can go wrong. They can get injured, they can do stupid things. Um, if we don't own them, things can happen. We saw that with Edward Gar, like, so how do you invest, but not invest? Or, or where is that line and how do you manage or navigate that?

Maree (00:18:21):

Well, I don't, well for me, I look, everyone does it differently. Some people of course, you know, it just becomes about the business and you know, that's, that's their way of doing it and that's okay. Whatever. But for me, I don't want to change it. That is how it is. And I think that's what makes me really good at my job because I really am interested. I'm invested in the people I teach. I'm invested in the horses. I train, I'm invested in my clients. I'm invested, I'm old boots. Um, and, and that leaves you open to get shattered at the same time. You know, you are often, you are shattered by the people you are shattered by the horses. You are shattered by the federal shouldn't be shattered. Um, I think so you choose to live your life on a straight line or with the highs and lows. And I guess inadvertently, I've tried, I've chosen to live it with the highs and lows to continue going down that path. And I know that I'm going to get shattered, but I can't stop getting all in there anyway. And so when the, when you do get shattered on the bit shattered at the moment, you just have to keep going, get up in the morning, ride your horses, stick to the routine, cry through the day, sit on the couch and stare at the window and get up and do it again. And then it'll get better. And each day it gets a bit better than if you'd built shattered. You don't care enough, you should be shattered. You should be shattered. And if you're not a bit shattered, then like I said, don't do it. You're not, you'll never, you'll never, you'll never get there because you've got to be that invested in it. You've got to be that in love with it. You've got to be, you've got to feel that much about it.

Natasha (00:20:19):

I feel if I ask you have you ever worked a day in your life? I feel the answer would be no, I don't feel that you see this is work well.

Maree (00:20:33):

I do. I don't know. I don't. This is my life and it's a life. It's a lifestyle. And from a very young age, because like I said, I'm surrounded by non horsey people, um, from a very young lady. I mean, you know, when you're going to get a real job, you can't do this for your whole life, blah, blah. This is my real job. This is my life. I don't need. I don't need balance on balance. This is perfect. You know, I've traveled all over the world. I go to the theater. I had a fabulous, wonderful life. I drive trucks and fly planes, and I've been to the most amazing places, all over Australia with the show horses and all over the world with the dressage horses. And I've met, you know, princesses and, um, royalty down to the grooms and everything in between from every country. And I've traveled in the backs of planes and the backs of trucks. And I've slept on the floors of lockers. And I've had a really amazingly interesting, fabulous life. And it is balanced. You know, you don't have to, it is a lifestyle that you live. You know, it's like trying to tell rockstar not to be a rockstar. That's their life, that's their balance. That's what they do. They make music and travel and do concerts and videos. And that's their life apps, and this is our life. And if you want to do it and be successful in it, it's your life. You don't get to stop on the weekend, get to, you know.

Natasha (00:22:23):

And what do you think about that in terms of an Olympic medal? I do believe to be at that high level, there is this life in this commitment, but most people do that to age 30. Their swim is, or their gymnast, or there's a finite period of their time where they do that. Whereas with us, I'm glad and lucky, but it can be a lot longer. Um, how do you feel about that? Do you have a guard? Have you got a time in your head or is this your lifestyle for your lifetime or do you have a period where you go? I know I'll stop at it.

Maree (00:23:02):

Okay. So I'm going to go one step back because I didn't really answer your other question. There are definitely days when it feels like work. There are definitely times when I get up, when I get up in the morning and think, Oh God, I've got to ride eight horses or whatever, you know? And I'm, there are definitely days that that happens, but that's in anything, you know, I've been doing this, my health for 30 years, seed sets that's in anything, you know, and once you get down and you get on you go and it's no problem, but there are definitely days when you like, not again, like Groundhog day. Um, so as, so the next question there isn't I always used to think that when I finished with diamond, Tina, that would be that I would be finished that I didn't. That was, that was an amazing journey and experience. And watching her while I'm talking to you, she's there walking around the arena here at the moment. Um, so I thought that when she finished, I would have had enough now had she had the proper length of her career. She'd be finished now. Cause she's just turned 18 now. Right. And I stopped, she was stopped because I stopped her because I, because after Rio, I didn't want to do that to her again anymore. That was enough. Yeah. So I stopped that. Um, and then Donna Alaina came along and she's just, she was just the most, um, the polar opposite of diamond, Tina, she so delightful and so easy and just glides through the test. And she's just the most incredibly easy, you know, diamond. Tina, you always went into the arena with your heart in your mouth. You never knew what you were going to get on any given Sunday. Whereas Donna was just so lovely. And this week Donna has retired.

Natasha (00:25:05):

Oh Maree, I am so sorry.

Maree (00:25:05):

She's got a digital degenerative genetic condition that, um, is not fixable. So yeah, that's right. Not, not even 10 years old anyway. So that's some, you know, that's, that's just the way it is. And when it happens, you think, Oh, you know, what the hell am I doing? Really? What am I doing? Why, why, how, where to from here, I didn't even know how to speak. You just with where to from here, you know, w to start again, now you have to start again. And it's such a long road, and I'm not one of those people who goes and buys FEI horse is not for any other reason than I think that's my hacking background as well. You just try much train them yourself. That's what I like. That's what I like. You know, all those, they get to grand Prix and I'm a little bit bored with it, then, you know, it's okay. They're here. That's great. Um, but you have to wait. I have to wait and just wait, give it a few more days. Give it a few more weeks. Let the time pass, make some other plans, figure out what you're doing next. Don't make the decision now while you strata, just keep hanging in there until you're not shattered, then make a decision.

Natasha (00:26:45):

Yeah. That's, that's huge.

Maree (00:26:48):

Um, I don't, I don't think, I don't think about it. I'd like my age to finish, but I do. I do. I do. Um, think about like the next horse. Yeah. The next this'll be, this will, this will see me out. This will be enough. Yeah.

Natasha (00:27:10):

Okay. So.

Maree (00:27:10):

I have the, sorry, go ahead. I have diamond Tina's daughter. She's a, uh, she's just turned eight. Now she's an eight year old diamond Teeter totalis and she's a very, very good horse, but a bit like a mother, like, um, I'll, I'll end up going into every competition with my heart and my mouth. Um, and she's very good. And, you know, it'll take me to time, but she'll be a grand Prix horse in a year or so. So, you know, we'll just keep going.

Natasha (00:27:44):

Yeah. That, that is huge. Wow. Okay. Do you mind if we unpack and go back to, um, how, uh, like what happened with Rio, the Olympics? So you, I, I only ever hope to be in the situation of, uh, an opportunity to maybe represent Australia and to be in Europe and going, Oh God, our God, and doing these qualifies. Um, and if you don't mind sharing, how does that whole process go? And, and, and how, like it, to me riding is always this roller coaster. And it seems that when you add the Olympics or something, these it's just the black belt of roller coasters that the high is so steep. And then the low is that stomach churning I'm gonna throw up now.

Maree (00:28:33):

Yeah. Um, yeah, so sure. I think, you know, you can, you can answer questions in lots of different ways, right? And I can give you a really positive, I can give you a really positive spin on it and do what's the politically correct thing to say. You can sort of tell the truth. The truth is not as pretty, you know, it's just not as pretty. Um, I still believe, and I have to believe this. Otherwise I really might as well just pack up my bags and go trail riding. Um, I still believe that Malcolm, Malcolm, and so used to say this to me when I was, when I was a kid, he used to say to me, in the end, the best horse and rider will come to the fall in the end. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. Maybe it takes a bit of time, but in the end you will good riding will come through. And I tell the young riders that I teach the same thing, learn your craft, learn how to ride. Well, learn how to take care of your, your horse is not sports equipment. Learn how to manage your horse and many to yourselves and learn your craft. And from that people with invest investors, people with a lot of money, people that were good horses, people will see you do a good job and they will give you good horses to ride. They will employ you to ride their horses. Don't think I need a good horse to be seen. I need a good whatever to be seen. You've done it. All you need to do is ride well. We see, we can see, you can see people that ride. Well, yeah. Not, not because you're winning a ribbon that doesn't make you ride well. Yes. Lots of people when ribbons can't ride very well. Yeah. We can see that the owners of the horses, the trainers we see, so just ride well. Yeah. Um, and, and you have to believe that you know, about, about going to the Olympics or whatever, but the international sport is very financial. You know, it just is, it's a very financial, and you hear the, the, you hear the people in the sport part high up in the sport, talk about, you know, this person's good for the sport and that person's good for the sport. It's good to have an American win cause that's good for the sport. And it's good to, you know, we can't just have the Europeans winning all the time where it becomes a European sport, not an international sport. And, you know, they think about the sport as a whole. They don't think about just me and my horse. They think about what's good for the sport as a whole, which is, comes a little bit like

Natasha (00:31:29):

Hugely different some, and that can be sometimes two completely different worlds when you're seeing it from one lens. You're seeing it from another

Maree (00:31:38):

Very much. And, and you know, that international group of riders is a very small group. You think it's a big group, but it's not at each show. It's exactly the same riders at each competition. So it's a, it's a very small group of riders and judges. The judges are small group and the riders are a small group and, and they all work together. And I don't, I think, you know, for sure the judges are out there, like the riders, they have their own careers, they are seen as a wild card or as, um, you know, a bit left of center or their scores are always out of whack. They won't get asked to judge at the Olympics or weg or Arcon or any of those competitions. So they want to stay in their lanes as well. Yeah. And the ride is the same. They have to stay in their lane. They've got to, they've got to try and ride in, in such a way that is, um, the right at the time. And that can change a little bit too. So, you know, whereas some years ago that it's very hot, expressive horses were, were very fashionable. Now they've completely gone and we must have this very calm, harmonious horses that are in the ring. So you have to be able to adapt and evolve with that as well, as far as getting on a team goes, and this is the same in a lot of countries, it's not unique to our country, that you have to be the right person for the team. It doesn't mean that your, it doesn't mean that they don't like you. It doesn't mean they don't like you. It just means they're that, um, yeah, they th their, their, their team already.

Natasha (00:33:32):


Maree (00:33:33):

And if you come in from the outside, they don't want you in their team because their team

Natasha (00:33:38):

Mm Hmm. Yeah. Yeah.

Maree (00:33:43):

And the difference between getting on a team and not getting on a team can be 0.1 of a percent 0.1 of a percent. So it's, it's, I guess you have to be pretty much fed out. You've gotta be so much better to, um, and then you don't have to worry about whether your third or fourth, you know, if you're a number one and you're that much better, then, then you're, it's okay. You know, but again, it's not easy to get that much better. You know, you've got to have a really good horse and a really good trainer and a really good system around you. And you've got to know, you've got to put all your focus into what you have to do and not worry about where's the money coming from. Well, how am I going to get the horse there? Or I can't go to this show because I've got to pay two euros, a kilometer for every kilometer. I put my horse in the truck and that show is so far away. I need to go to this show. That's closer. Even though this show that's closer has got every good rider in the whole world, and I'm not going to have as good a chance of getting a good score as if I go further away, where there are less good riders and are more likely to get a bit score, but I can't afford that.

Natasha (00:34:58):

Mm Hmm.

Maree (00:35:03):

It's really, it's a really, really complicated and huge. And there are lots of little things that give a extra percentage each or extra half the percentage there, you know, and that's the same, that's the same in any sport. Um, it's the same in any sport, you know, the, the competitions that have had, um, better riders, they can lift you, they can lift your score, or they can make it worse because so many people getting such good scores that they make it worse. So it's a lot, it's like a game of chess and you've got to try to get all the pieces in play, and you've got to have good people behind you, promoting you and supporting you. So, Oh my God, she's such a good riders. And that he's such a good horse. You know, you've got, you've got to, you've got to have that. You've got to have this whole team around you supporting you and promoting you and getting you to the right competitions at the right time. And yeah. Getting all your ducks in a row and just getting it right. Because like I said, the difference between getting on a team and not getting on a team is 0.1 of a percent. It's a blink of an eye. It's a happy mood. One day, it's a good coffee before you test it. It's a little bit tired from a night out. It's the simplest thing, you know, can change the balance.

Natasha (00:36:31):

Everything. Thank you so much. I think you've said that so well. And I think from hearing earlier, when you were saying I'm infested, I'm invested in my clients, I'm invested in my students. I'm invested. If there's someone that's invested in you, like, do you have a coach and a support network that has got you and is like, we've got you and we can help you through that because I can see you. Are that for others?

Maree (00:36:57):

No, I don't. And it's a massive, um, weakness of mine. No, I don't. And it's a huge weakness of mine and I've, I don't know how to, I don't know how to put that. I don't know how to put that around myself. Um, I've thought about it a lot and I'm very bad at it clearly. And I just don't know how, I just don't know how to do that. That there are a couple of problems. Like I said, one, I'm not from a family of horse people. Um, I'm married really badly, so I didn't marry anyone that can help me in my, um, in what I'm doing. I don't mean that I married a very, very lovely man. Lovely. I love him, but I didn't marry with my career in mind. Yeah. I just, yeah. Um, so I, I do well and, you know, to, to have a coach in Australia and I, we don't really have any, you know, unless you get coached by fellow riders, you don't really, we don't really have someone who can do that. You know, Clemens, like I mentioned earlier, Clemens was very good at that, but he also had his own wife and daughter that he was taking care of him promoting. And what have you. And aside from that, you know, do we have an international standard coach in Australia? That's not out there competing themselves? No, we don't. If we do let me know.

Natasha (00:38:32):

No, I know. And I think something, I meditate on a lot going, okay, hang on. Like, where do you just go talking to Google, um, horse riding coach, and you get a list of 10 and you can pick and choose who fits your personality. And there's just not that availability. And I'm hearing that, that could have been, you know, one of the biggest differences in your journey. If you'd had an and even just what's going on for you now I can hear. And I know, um, cause we know each other a little bit being in the same state, what an inspiration and how beautiful you are for your clients. And you are the dream coach and you're supporting them and you're there for them. And I'm hearing, you know, even what's happened for you this week and I'm like, Oh, someone's, someone's got to have it. Someone's going to catch it and, and, and hold you up when you're having these kinds of times. And then you're cool to go again. And yeah, I don't have an answer. I wish I did, but yeah, it is something to really,

Maree (00:39:30):

I have, um, I have a couple of owners like lengths or Todd or who owns the other half of diamond, Tina nodes, other half of all her horses. She's a fabulous lady and a great friend. And has been by my side for a very long time. Um, and she's, she's wonderful, but she has three children of her own and a business to run and, and all of that sort of thing. So she's, she's not sort of heads on, on the ground. And she's like me, she grew up in a non horsey family and we just happened to buy this amazing mare and go on this wonderful, dirty. So she, she does everything she can within her, you know, within her limits. Um, and, and I have another owner of the horses. Who's also, um, been, been a fabulous support, but it's not, they're not on the ground. They're not on the ground. Do you know what I mean?

Natasha (00:40:28):

Like if I look at I'm obsessed with studying how people can be successful and how other people can't, and the biggest thing is you don't know what you don't know. You need someone who has gone on that path, who goes, yep. That's where the bear lives. And that don't take that path cause there's something bad. And then you shortcut and suddenly everything becomes quicker and easier because of that mentor. And I think that is a big,

Maree (00:40:51):

but it's so frustrating. And you would know this Natasha when people don't listen to you though, it is so frustrating. Sometimes I want to say to people, do what I tell you. Just do what I tell you. There is nothing in it for me. This is not about me. This is about you. You can make a whole bunch of other mistakes, but you don't have to make the same ones I've made. So I'm telling you just do it like this. You don't need to trial and error. I've done that for you. You make some other mistakes somewhere else, but you don't need to make this one.

Natasha (00:41:26):

so well said.

Maree (00:41:28):

Yeah. And sometimes it's very difficult, you know?

Natasha (00:41:33):

Absolutely. As well. Yeah. And I think that's why a lot of people don't mentor and don't coach because they do invest. And then when it's not reciprocated or, or actioned and it's it's because that person's going to have their own math in their own, their own stuff going on. But it is, it's like, well, okay. I, I, it seems I can't make a difference here. And then that person goes away as well. Yeah. It's tricky.

Maree (00:42:00):

It is hard. I think there are a lot of people out there too who do get burned. And then they've got this feeling where they don't really want to trust anyone else, but somebody, they, you know, there is that, that, that does happen quite a bit. And they, and they come to you already a bit damaged and then they're not quite confident to just take your word for it. And I understand that. I know I was like that, you know, I for sure was like that in the early days as well. So, you know, it's still a little bit, it is hard to know, you know who to trust and who's just trying to flip you a horse.

Natasha (00:42:33):

Absolutely. And I think it's what you said at the very start. You said your unmanipulatable, which I love that word. I don't, is it? I don't know if it's a good way. If it's a real weapon, it's a real word. Now we're making it and you dead fast on manipulatable because you have to be the crazy one that dreams, and you have to be the stupid one that just blindly goes, even though there's no way you could actually do it and you will do it because you're sor, folks. But then as you were, as you are aware there, when do you drop it? There's times where everyone's saying you can't do it and you have to commit and say, I can. And there's other times where you have to go, you're absolutely right. That be really listen to you and put that into it and how to choose those moments. I don't have a strategy for that. I don't know how to, how to go there.

Maree (00:43:28):

You know what I call that what I call that the key Rogers theory.

Natasha (00:43:34):

Tell me more.

Maree (00:43:37):

You've got to know when to hold the phone, to know when to walk away, know when to run. Yeah. That's a kenny Rogers theory. And sometimes, especially as you get older, you just know, normally I will hang on to something longer than I should. And I always feel like I would rather hang on to it longer, then quit too early and regret it. So I will hang on to it. I'll sit on that. I will be on this place where I go. I've got to give up here. I'll just go another day. I've got to give up here. I'll go another way I've got to give up here. Just give it one more day. And then eventually the day comes and I go, that's it, I'm done. And literally on that day, I'm done. But I always, I know I have this moment where I'll just sit the fence a little bit and I usually will try a little bit longer than I probably should, but I'm okay with that. Because then when I done, at least then when I'm done, at least I know I'm really done. You know, I really gave it longer than I should have. And I'm done now. I think that come, I tried NT time with things just comes with time and experience. And it's a, it's just a, it's a feeling. And I think sometimes we don't trust our feelings enough. Yeah. Sometimes you just have this discussion and the feet. Yeah. I mean, you know, you have to trust your you'll. You'll feeling a little bit, a little bit more. We get talked out of it or we were told to douse it all. Um, whatever. But you know, somewhere on the inside, if you tap into that, if you really tap into that intuition for want of a better word, um, it will, it will tell you, it will tell you I need. And the hardest part is learning how to trust it. I remember when I was riding Lensar I told the reader, said to me, I had diamond Tina at home. She was a six year old. She was a young horse and Tundra Rita said to me, if you want to go to the Olympics, Marie, this was Beijing. He was a reserve horse. He said, you've just got to forget about the Yahoo. All of a sudden, you got to put all your eggs in one basket.

Natasha (00:46:05):


Maree (00:46:06):

I need my head. I went, they are in one basket, but they're in the young bosses basket. That's the, that's where my eggs were. That's where they were. And what he said was right. But he had the wrong horse and the wrong horse, but I knew the right horse and the eggs were in her basket. And I had them in that basket, her whole life, like that was, I knew what I had a knew what I needed to do. And I knew I just had to stay with her that saved her, not with all the other people around her, all the, I just had to stay with her. Does that make sense?

Natasha (00:46:50):

And is there anything you would have done? Was there, there would have been so many decisions along the way, like, cause she, she was in Europe. Wasn't like, do I stay in Europe? Do I come home? Do I train with this person? Do I base myself over here? Like, is there any decisions that looking back now with the beautiful, gorgeous gift of hindsight we bought.

Maree (00:47:12):

we bought her as a four year old and flew back to Australia. And then she went back to Europe because we had AI. So she went back to your five year old and did the world championships as a five year old and a six year old. And then I bought and then EI. So we were there for two and a half years. And then I bought a home after that. And I know when I bought her home, mr. Kaushal said to me, you can not take this horse home, Marie, you cannot take this horse and bury it in Australia and he's right. And that, you know, I try not to lament about it too much. And Lena and I talk about it and, and we know what we know. I know what I know about diamond Tina. I know what happened with her. And I know, I know, I know what I know, but the, the, the general public loved her. The general public could see what she was and they loved her. But the hierarchy, the powers that be whoever the hell they are, you know, we were, I was a hack. I was a hack rider that just lucked on this horse. And, and they made it as hard for her as possible all the way through to Rio. They basically would have put, they didn't, they would, they literally put a drugged horses on the team rather than her. They made it as hard for her as possible. So that was enough.

Natasha (00:48:48):

Yeah. And I can, I can completely understand. I don't know how you kept going. I don't know. I don't. I, and I think as you said, it was because there was the next horse. You didn't have a choice. It's almost like you were going to stop, but you owed it to this next horse to keep going. Is that whether.

Maree (00:49:13):

well, I did stop after Rio. We did. I bought, I came home and I, that was the diamond. Tina never went to another competition again. That was enough. And I didn't go, I didn't compete for a couple of years. It was just, it was, it was, it was mind blowing to think that f, for whatever reason, you don't even know. I don't even know what the reason was. I don't think they even use a reason, but for whatever reason, you know, it was that you would do that, that anyone would do that. I know. I mean, I've gone into the whole situation a lot and I understand what, what, what went on and what their reasoning was for the whole thing. But it's not a reason it's like saying, you know, the reason I'm sitting here talking to you at the moment is because it's a Thursday, that's not a reason, the word or whatever. That's not a reason, you know, how does that mean? What's the hell does that got to do with anything? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Natasha (00:50:27):

Did you get into breathing techniques? Because they have to be at a level where you have to be able to let it go to move on and we're not taught in school, like how to do that. And I even like, so what I'm saying, was it meditation? How did you move past?

Maree (00:50:45):

Well, the thing is right. I really love working with the horses and I love the training. So the idea of not going to a competition for two years or whatever, it's free, it frees you, it frees you to try and ride and do what you want to do. And then Donna was it, you know, by the time I went to another competition, she was a grand Prix horse. So I had these really easy kind, well behaved, beautiful Grand Prix to ride every day. Well, who would move that? And I said, I moved away from the Valley and I set up my own place and I just channeled my energies into something else. I just channeled them into training the horses and doing what I enjoy. And it's a little bit what I'm doing now in covid, you know, it's great. It's so nice. I just stay home. And I ride horses and not much has changed in our day. We don't have so many people coming for lessons, of course, and we don't go to competitions, but it's kind of nice that it takes the pressure of competing away. And you can just try. So I, you know, the Rio thing and people, even now people say, Oh, you know, you're good. You'll be able to go. I'm like, Oh, I will never, um, I won't ever be on the team and people think that's being negative or it's being defeatist or bitter or whatever the hell it is. And you know what, maybe it is a little bit all of those things, but it's also just the truth. It's also just the truth. And, and it's the hard truth. It's not the soft truth. You know, it's the hard truth. You've got to be connected to a really influential stable, and you've got to have super good horses some way. Somehow you've got to get super good horses, like super good horses, and you've got to be connected to a really good stable, and you have to be able to travel and compete in Europe and, and do all of that. And you made a really, really powerful, not just a bunch of well-meaning amateurs, you needed powerful and, um, indicated wise experienced in the sport team behind you. And that's, that is what you need. And I'm, I should think I'm lucky that I got to go once, you know, the sport has changed a lot and it's very professional and you really, you know, you think that now who's got, who's going to get on our team and you have Barry Lindo, Christie, um, Simone, you know, they've got massive, massive machines behind the massive machines behind. And I think in, in my way, I think, I think, well, you know what, Marie, you only missed out by one of a percent 0.1%. That's not bad. You're pretty damn close, considering pretty damn close. Yeah. And you have to, you have to be okay with that. Part of it is just being on the carpet tiles, you know, just push, just stay on the coattail, stay on the Kotel, push, push, and wait till one falls off.

Natasha (00:54:20):

And have you ever thought it's always been that thing of Australia. Like if, if, if any Australian wants to make it, you've got to go overseas and you look at what England did and you go, is there a way all of us can come together and, and, and find these coaches that are willing to live here and help us get to that next level and find a wealth of billionaires or, you know, the lottery, I believe the UK uses a lottery, the lottery for the, for the high performance or whatever is cause I'm always, you know, I'm a bit too in the cloud going, there's gotta be a fucking way. That's Oh, I shouldn't swear. But there's gotta be a way there's a way we just can't see it yet. We've got to just keep thinking outside the box to find this way.

Maree (00:55:06):

There is a, there is a way, but it's tough. It's a little bit, our mentality, you know, being on the EDC has been a really big open up being the AADC has been a real eye opener and there are lots of things that you would wear you could do, but you know, they put a lot of hurdles up in front of you. Um, someone like Terry Snow with his place, for sure. Set up that he could identify the talented riders. He's got the accommodation and it's all, it's all there. He couldn't for sure do that. But we're funny. We're funny, fun. You know, we, we get a little bit of a nose out of joint. If someone takes too much control of the sport. And then, you know, we like to, we like to support the battler that great Aussie battler, you know, like to support the Ozzy bachelor and some of the LG bachelors we want to support. And some of them we just think are idiots and some of the billionaires, we think it's, it's great. And what they're doing is fabulous. And some of the billionaires we don't like at all, we're like money for a very, we're a very odd country. And we couldn't, I think a lot of the European psyche is that they, they have a, like, like I touched on earlier about looking at the sport as a whole. If you look at yourself, everyone has to take care of themselves. Of course, yes. You have to, you have to take care of yourself for sure. But then you also want to take care of your family or you'll keep, and then once your team is in a good place, we also have to consider the community or the broader sport. And then we have to consider our country and finally our planet. Yeah. Very good at that. We kind of stop at me.

Natasha (00:57:13):

I, me lately agree. Yeah. And it's not just horse riders mean toilet paper, disaster. Like it's, it's humanity.

Maree (00:57:27):

You look at all the gray knives and their attitude is, well, I can't take it with me when I die and I'm just going to spend it and my kids can make their own money. That's just not a, it's not a, it's not a European attitude, you know, it's, it's quiet. Well, each family sits into the next family, each generation sticks into the next generations thing and it's acquired knowledge and acquired wealth. And yeah. Whereas we all seem to be starting a fresh from square one. I don't know. I don't, I don't know the ed. So, you know, I think, I really believe that the first point is a collective change of conscience. That's the first point.

New Speaker (00:58:12):

Yeah. I'm with you. And how do you do it? I'm stuck. Like Abby raise the consciousness Australia or the world. You're just like, Oh, all right. I think I'll just go back to the horse arena and figuring out how to get a shoulder in a little bit better.

Maree (00:58:32):

Yes. And it's natural to be jealous or envious or, you know, it's natural to think, Oh, I wish I was doing that or have that opportunity or whatever. It's natural to think that, you know,

Natasha (00:58:43):

um, rather than that's the thought now, what am I going to do about it? And, and what can I have to learn about that? And, and yeah. All these other thoughts after that, I.

Maree (00:58:58):

saw her, um, because my experience was, was very difficult. Um, I, uh, you know, getting on a team and previous to me, highly, highly embarrassed experience was also very difficult. Yeah. Yeah. Um, not again, not because not, not to take it personally or anything just that there already was a team. They were a team and they wanted to keep their team and they didn't necessarily want it. Anyone else in it. Yeah. So nothing not personal. Just an I tried to explain it the same with my team. If I had a team, if I was, if I was going to the Olympics and I had a team of Tyler, Dez, my Morgan Juul, Cody McAvoy, and me and someone else tried to come and take one of my kids spots I'd fight for it. I applied for my kids. Yeah. So I don't, I fought for them to keep their spot with every way in every way I could. Yeah. So I don't, I'm okay with that. I understand. But I think it's really good to see now that they are embracing Simone as part, even though she knew and not part of their team, I think it's really good that they're bracing her. And a little part of me thinks, you know, it would have made my fricking experience so much more pleasant if that had happened to me. But you know what, at least they've clearly learned from that. And they're not going to do that to the next person. Yeah. So that in itself is a good thing. Yeah. It's a really good thing. Yeah. Somehow you've got gotta, you've got to turn it around. Okay. So it wasn't so great for me, but that experience is now going to make it better for the next lot of people.

Natasha (01:00:52):

You know, you an astronomically, amazing woman. I love your tenacity. I love your,

Maree (01:01:02):

well, I don't know about that, Natasha. I think I have just bright downs and you know, bad diet. Absolutely. Everyone else like, Oh, you know,

Natasha (01:01:17):

yes, you are absolutely human. And that's what I, that's what you know, and you don't try and hide your humanity. You wear your hat and your sleeve, but the tenacity and the strength and the great is something to be admired because not everyone has that. So that is something I really admire about you. So thank you so much. You have some, I'm going to keep talking army, you're not allowed to discount that you are going to take these compliments. You have some amazing people that help you, that sponsor you. If you would mind sharing with us who helps you and how and what their company does and how they help.

Maree (01:01:54):

Yeah. You do. You've got to have a great team around you. The first, I think the first person that I have to mention is Sam Lang B. She sends my, I would say my green, but she's not really migraines. She my stable manager, my groom, my right hand, man. And not many people know her because she just stays at home and looks after my horses and has been doing so for some years. And Sam is my right hand, man. And I'm very, she's not a sponsor or pause, lots of money and, or buys horses for me or anything like that. But without her, we would be really lost. So Sam Lang beam is my right hand man. And the person I need to thank the most.

Natasha (01:02:34):

I love that.

Maree (01:02:35):

Aside from that, I have great ideas in, um, playing so toddler and did meet Nicola and, um, the Carol Haynes and, um, SU uh, Victoria and Susan goest, uh, the paper that I, the horses are just fabulous and wonderful and makeup Tompkins and group, and make sure we've got trucks to drive the horses and good surfaces and do all the things that keep us going. So the owners are just fabulous. Um, our sponsors are their stuff. Of course, that have been trading my horses for a very, very long time. Even before I was sponsored by them. We still paid out all our horses on bare stock fee. Um, saddle up, settle up, settle, settle up in, um, coincide park that provide us with all the LBN saddles and all the, well, pretty much anything that we need through, through a sddle rate, um, that we have emphasized if they provide us with the aquacise use that we use nearly every day up to the vineyard in the, have the aquacise on the iceberg, the iceberg to call it wraps, um, that the lady makes specially for us. And that's the after work every day. Yeah. The ice boots are amazing. They go from above the horses, knees above their Hawks all the way down over their seats. So the entire leg is iced. Um, yeah, so they're really good going.

Natasha (01:04:08):

I've never seen nice boots over the knee. Um, so where can they find them? Like, are they for sale?

Maree (01:04:15):

Well, they might buy this lady called Jill and they have a Facebook page called cool. K w O L I T reps. You are APS. Cool. It reps. And they're very hard to get, because she's just this, just this little lady that makes them, but they've, they're amazing. They, I, if she stops making them every now and again, she says, she's not going to make them anymore. I'm going to cry because, um, yeah, they just, they do the entire length of the leg. They're really fantastic. I think that's it. They all were sponsors. Anyway, if I think of any more, I'll let you know. But I think they they're the main ones. Yeah. Okay. How about satellites? Cool. It reps. Yeah. Good. Okay.

Natasha (01:05:07):

All right. Um, let me just do my finish and then we can chat. Um, thank you so much for spending the time today, Marie. I'm sure so many people we've got so much out of that. And, um, is there any parting advice You have for young writers or any rider that are listening to this? Um, wherever they are in their journey, they're all going to be at different levels and all have different goals, but what, what is a good summary to leave them with?

Maree (01:05:32):

I think there is no greater life than a life spent with horses. There is no greater life and there are plenty of ups and downs and that'd be it's okay. It's okay to be down. It's okay to be a bad loser. It's no problem being a bad loser that makes you a good winner and that you just have to, you have to ride the way. Yeah. You've just got to go with it. Be down. It's okay. Don't let anyone tell you that. Get up and get going and you should feel better. And you've got to let it go be down, embrace being down because from that, when things are going really well, it's amazing.

Natasha (01:06:17):

I love it. Thank you so much. I'm sure I'm speaking to everyone that is just sending you love and thanks. And, um, I really appreciate it.

Natasha (01:06:25):

Thank you Natasha

Podcast Episode 25: Matt Harnacke | Chasing The Dream

In this podcast, we speak with Matt Harnacke. At just 23 years of age, Matt is an Australian Grand Prix dressage rider and model currently residing in the Netherlands. Matt also has a social media career and shares insight into his life on YouTube.

To keep up with his journey, you can follow Matt on Instagram @matt_harnacke. 

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00:00):

Thank you so much for joining me today. Super pumped to have a chat.

Matt (00:00:05):

Yeah. Thank you for having me. I've I've kind of wanted to talk to you in a while cause you're like a fellow Aussie. So when, uh, when I heard about the opportunity, I was like, yeah, let's do it. That sounds really fun.

Natasha (00:00:15):

I love it. I love it. So let's start at the start. Um, what got you started with horses? How long have you been doing the horsey thing? What was your journey that's led you to this amazing place?

Matt (00:00:29):

Yeah, it's a bit strange. I mean, I, there was no one in my family that was riding and we lived in the city, so it was not really something that came naturally. I guess I, we had family, friends that own a riding school in Italy. I used to live in Italy when I was younger. I grew up there when I was born there and I lived there for 10 years. So in my early years I was on a riding school riding. I tried it the first time and I kind of got hooked. Um, and my brother was riding with me at the time. I have a twin brother. And then after that, it kind of just continued, but I, I guess I was lucky because for me like the passion stayed for my brother, it, it, it went away quite quick, but I think that was kind of a, my silver lining because, you know, having to pay for two horses and, uh, two boys riding it's quite expensive. So I think that was the only way it was going to happen was if my brother backed out, which he did. Um, but yeah, I did two or three years just riding out of riding school in Italy. It was a lot of fun that was kind of getting experience learning what I liked, what I didn't like. I was like extremely scared as well, growing up with horses when I was young. So I would, I used to ask, like my riding instructors could be like, bring the horse to this table with me. And, but I was eight, so I was quite small. And I was always, even though I was eight, I was always quite tall. So I never went to like the ponies. I was straightaway online, you know, something that was at least like 15 hands. And I found that super intimidating. So I was a boy. I was like, Oh my God, it's so scary. But even though I found it so scary, um, I was still so passionate and I still wanted to do it.

Natasha (00:02:01):


Matt (00:02:02):

And then we moved to Australia, um, and I kind of kept going. I wanted to keep riding. Uh, and I did. And then eventually, you know, that's kind of how the story goes from on you. Maybe Lisa holes first, at least a horse for a year. And then I bought my first, uh, my first off the track.

Natasha (00:02:19):

I love it.

Matt (00:02:21):

That's the track. Arbra Jack, um, who was the handful and then, uh, and then, yeah, it kind of progressed from there, but it's yeah, I, I wish it was more interesting story, but I literally just went to the riding school and I just kind of fell in love with the sport.

Natasha (00:02:35):

Yeah. I love it. And were you ever, like, was it always dressage or showing or was it, did you do the jumping thing at all?

Matt (00:02:44):

Yeah, I think it was kind of like, it was by default that I kind of went to dressage because I never had horses that could jump, but I mean, my first lease horse was like 27, so I couldn't jump him. And then Jack was, Oh my God, it was a miracle. He going off the legs. So was dogging the job any time soon. Um, and then I, I just kind of delved into dressage. And at first it was showing I was showing a Hunter hacks in Australia when I found that really fun. I, I think it was because it wasn't as structured as dressage. It was more like, you know, you go around, they tell you what to do when you go out and then you get a few chances. It's not like you do this whole like journey and stuff for one test and then it goes wrong. And then you're done. You can kind of redeem yourself a little with, uh, with showing, but it is T S I mean, like having to get them ready, having to get them ready for a show and all, and it's long days also showing. So I did that for a bit. And then I was at Canberra Royal with one of my horses. He was an off the track. He's Hary he's my second horse I ever brought and how he was kind of like, it sounds horrible to say, but he was like a fill up project tool. She was never a horse, like intended to have long term, but I wanted to have a horse whilst I was looking for a more competitive dressage horse. And I was like Canbera Royal. And it was his first ever show. Um, and I was crying on the phone to my parents cause I was like, I don't know what I'm doing with my life. Like I'm not having fun. And um, you know, it's just, I'm not clicking with this horse. And I feel like I'm giving up on these like dressage dreams I had. Um, and so then that day when I was at Camberwell and I was devastated, cause it had just gone horribly for me, that show, but to the point where like, I couldn't even do a circle cause he just lost it. Um, and, and it was that day that I found the ad for chase, which is the horse I have now he's in Australia warm blood.

Natasha (00:04:34):


Matt (00:04:35):

And I called the lady and I said, I don't care. Who's messaged you. I was like, it doesn't matter. I don't want to see any photos. I don't want to see any video. I said, I'm coming straight out because, um, every time I found a horse, they have a failed, failed, the vet check or somebody like balled them from underneath me. And so it'd been going on for a year and a half the struggle. Um, and sorry I stole it. I was like, I don't care about anything. You just booked me in just the soonest availability you have I'm coming down. And he was in the Southern Highlands. So it wasn't far, it was like a two or three hour drive, which was nothing because I'd been flying all over the place for horses, uh, prior to that. So, uh, we drove, I drove down there with my best friend and we went to see him. And at first I was really taken aback by size because I hadn't seen a horse of his side, uh, yet. Um, and I was like, okay, is this something that's going to be manageable? I even told her, I was like, do you fit this in a trailer? Like a truck, because it was advertised 18 hat tie, but he's not 18. And I think he's 17 three from what I measured him, but still is a big horse and it's quite solid. Um, and yeah, my first ride and I was, I straightaway loved him. I love this character and stuff. I could feel that he was, uh, he wasn't like the most straightforward horse, but it was really fun. So I kind of, I think I had two more rides and then after that I decided to, to purchase him, thanks to my parents, helping me out. Um,

Natasha (00:05:59):

That's awesome. I love your certainty though. Like I love it. It's like, I don't care. I'm going to make this happen. I'm getting this to happen.

Matt (00:06:08):

Yeah, because on it, he was advertised in horse deals and also online, um, an Australian Facebook page, I think it was like show horses or something. And the comments under him were just going crazy. And then there's this woman. We won't mention it. There's this woman in Australia that buys all of the like Hunter hacks. She buys everything and she has all the top ones, um, her name's house. Ah, so maybe Ithat rings a bell, um, she's very nice to get me wrong, but she buys everything and she had commented under him. Like I'm really interested in a lot. And I was like, that's why I just called. And I was like, listen, I don't care about anything. Just book me in to see this horse. Um, and yeah, I just really liked him from the get go. And then, uh, and then things kept going and it's been a huge journey ever since.

Natasha (00:06:51):

Yeah, absolutely huge. lets talk Cause through why suddenly the move to Europe and, and you brought him with you, didn't you?

Matt (00:07:00):

Yeah. So I was, I started modeling when I was 17. Um, and that became quite difficult with the, obviously my passion for horses. I had owned a chase, I think for like, sorry, I owned them for about six months. Um, and then I started modeling. I got scouted actually at our horse riding competition. It was the first time it was in the street, but I was 16 at the time. And I was like, look, I'm just not, I had body issues. I was not a confident person. I was like super, like trying to stay low key. And I was like, I'm not interested. And then I got scattered again by when I was 17 by Kathy ward. Um, she owns an agency in, uh, she used to own an agency. Now she's a part owner of an agency in Sydney called Sheikh management. So I got scattered the rider series. Um, I was actually standing with a group of friends. Um, there were all girls, obviously, because of riding is predominantly girls and Kathy comes up and she goes, hi girls. And I was like, Oh, I haven't even been acknowledged of my existence as a male. So I was like, she probably doesn't want to talk to me. And then she goes, no, it actually came to talk to you. Um, and I was like, okay, that's interesting. What have I done wrong? Um, and then she goes, yeah, we saw you at a few shows ready. And we were really interested in, uh, signing you. We are, we represent a modeling agency called chic. I think you should, like, we think you could have a lot of success. Um, and I was like, and all my friends obviously were like, egging me on you. Like you have to do it, like go, go ahead and do it, do it, do it. And I think it was kind of partially like them pushing me, my mother who was very Italian and like pushy. Um, and then also I felt a bit more confident in myself. So I was like, okay, let's give it a go. Let's give it a try. Um, so I went into the agency, I had my meeting hour. They basically said, you know, we, I understand this is not like your end goal, but we believe in you. And if you're willing to give it a try, we will give it a try too. So I started modeling. Like I booked, I booked my first job. I think it was like a couple of days after that. It was for Dolly magazine, which, for the people who aren't Australian, it's kind of like this young teenage girl magazine, it's very like 15 year old kind of target market. Um, and I did that and I had a lot of fun on the shoot, even though I was very nervous. Cause there was a video component of the shoe, which it's still cringe around the it's online still to this day. Um, but yeah, I kind of got the first, I kinda got the first feeling for, for everything. And then it kind of like I got a few more jobs and I started building my book and then I went to Europe for the first shoulder season I did. Um, and I was very lucky. I did a lot of very good shows and it kind of catapulted my career when I came back to Australia because if you perform well in Europe, Australia is like, Oh my God.

Natasha (00:09:47):

You're amazing

Matt (00:09:50):

Or if you input like a European warm blood. Everyone's like, Oh, but if you have this Same horse and it's Australian people like, Oh, just a matter of like, it's that kind of an quality? Um, so yeah, I did my first show season. I did some shows like I did Armani. I did Dolce Gabbana and I did extra. And um, I came back and I started booking really big campaigns here. Like I did the David Jones campaign. Uh, I did several of those and then I wasn't ambassador for Westfield, which was really exciting. So I was once season campaign for them. Uh, and then as I started doing more like more like Brad's is out where like I did like a cotton on campaign. I did two cotton on campaigns. Like it starts to become, uh, cool for me because I was like, okay, I first was wearing these brands and now I'm part of the campaign. I thought it was really cool. Um, but as my career kept going, I kind of felt this demand to be outside of Australia. Like, um, I was constantly being asked to go to the States. Um, so they were already are starting to get a feeling of like, Oh, you know, I'm traveling so much and I'm con spend a lot of time with my horses or my horse at the time. I only had one. Um, and I was already thinking, okay, what's going, gonna happen. And then I, I booked a direct campaign in New York for American Eagle. So they said, okay, if you're already going to go to the state, some of you already have a visa. Do you want to stay in LA for three months? And I was like, Oh God, Ah, Yeah. Okay. It's not a problem. And by then, I'd already done like five short seasons in Europe and I was traveling already. So it didn't feel like too much of a stretch to do. Um, and so it was only after doing all these really long trips. And after the first two years of full time modeling that I realized, okay, I think I calculated, I was only in Australia for two months throughout the whole year spread out also. And so I was like, okay, you know, I need to move, I need to move somewhere because I can't keep living out of my suitcase and my horse. He was in training with Brett Parbery. I'm like, I can't keep paying for brett.

Natasha (00:11:47):

and you want to ride your horse.

Matt (00:11:47):

not traveling alone. Yeah. And I want to have like a home base. Like I don't want to just keep traveling like job to job out of my suitcase.

Natasha (00:11:58):


Matt (00:11:58):

So then I decided to move to the Netherlands because I already had a few friends here. Um, and I really liked the country and it's great horse country, first thing, but all sorts, super central to Europe. So if you have to like go to the left or the right, it's super quick, it's like one hour you're in Italy, you're in Germany. You can go to France really easily, all super close. So I was like, okay. I think the Netherlands is the place for me. I'd already come here a lot of times for work. Um, it was only like the language barrier was a huge issue because being Italian, I had to already learn English when I came to Australia, like I had no idea how to speak. I only knew basic English and I knew how hard it was to like integrate yourself into a whole new culture. Uh, and, uh, and assimilate. And you know, I tried so hard to lose my Italian accent. Like things like that. Like it's, it's hard. And I was like, do I want to do it? But like, yeah,

Natasha (00:12:55):

yeah, exactly.

Matt (00:12:56):

Here, everyone speaks English. I just said, okay, let's do it. And then the next problem was, sorry, I take ages to answer a question.

Natasha (00:13:05):

It's Fantastic.

Matt (00:13:06):

But the next problem was, I was like, I've got this horse and I like him and I don't want to get rid of him. I was like, but I always said horses will never take away from my life because they can, they can in a hobby. Yeah. We're only going to add, I'm not going to miss out on like amazing opportunities because of horses. Like I see people that I went to the same shows for like 25 years. It's like being in like a jail cell, you just keep doing the same cycle. And I feel like the disrespect to Australia, but it's heightened there because you're on an Island and you're segregated, you know, you're just constantly seeing the same people doing the same thing. And I was like, okay, that's not what I envisioned, you know, my future to be. Yeah. So as you probably know, fly horses really expensive. Um, and at the time I wasn't in a position where I could afford to do that outright myself. Um, because I think for people who don't know, I think to fly a horse, um, especially if you're moving, you have to pay VAT as well. So it's around 45, 50,000 total, like for everything, including all the other costs of everything else. Um, so I was like, okay, how do I do this? And I had a, already a partnership with Longy, um, which was really good. So I kind of present pitched them this idea of like, if we can create really cool content around this move, they can become a sponsor of it. And in return they'll get, you know, great production and a little kind of a mini series on the journey.

Natasha (00:14:37):


Matt (00:14:37):

Um, and I was quite young at the time. I don't know it wasn't that long ago, but I think I was 19 or 20 and I negotiated with them a budget. And then,

Natasha (00:14:48):


Matt (00:14:48):

yeah, yeah, I was, I was actually, I was like, this is never going to work, but it's worth a try. And then he started to fall together and then I negotiated with the flight company as well, a D a deal that would work for them inside the budget. Um, and then I organized a film crew to, um, kind of follow the story and the journey and we just started filming and it went super smoothly. And, um, I think more than anything now, looking back, I'm so glad I have that to like, to rewatch it myself, because not only did it give you the opportunity to make the move in the first place, because financially I couldn't, it kind of, it was such a huge part of my life that went so quickly. And it's so nice to have that like filmed in such a nice way that I can just watch that back and relive it because in the moment I'm still you've had this too. Like sometimes it happens so quick and then the next thing happens and forget about it. And that's kind of how my life has always been. So taking a step back, sorry, taking a step back and being able to rewatch. It was something that I think I'll cherish kind of forever about that part of my life.

Natasha (00:15:56):

Yeah. And what I love again, I love when you get the normal roadblocks. So the normal knows that we all tend to get in life. You're just like, I'll find a way, I'll find a way. I don't know how to do that. I don't know how you approach that. I don't negotiate that, but I'll find a way.

Matt (00:16:10):

Yeah. You just gotta, like, I think once you start, everything else comes kind of naturally it's part of the system, but it's making that first step in trying, you know, and believing enough in yourself that you can put yourself out there and try it. And I think that's something that it took me a very long time to realize. I mean, I was, I had huge issues growing up with, uh, with the way I saw myself and with the way I felt my place in the world, but I do think modeling helped me through that. And it brought me to a place where I understood my worth and my value of what I brought firstly, as a person, but also as a business. Um, and then it kind of gives you, you know, it gives you a bit of like confidence behind what you do and how you present yourself and what you can ask for as well.

Natasha (00:16:54):

Yeah. Yeah. It's amazing. I love it. All right. So, um, you've done that and you've moved. What are your, what are you thinking? Are you thinking like, do you say good got your life in? I love how you said my riding adds to my life. So you've got writing goals that ad, and then you've got, I'm guessing your career goals with the modeling. Do you set goals around that? Or like I'm so naive around modeling. I've got no idea.

Matt (00:17:19):

No, no, no, no. It's, you know what, it's a really good question because I think it's much like horses. Like you can set all the goals you want, but it all goes wrong. And then you don't get to that goal. You get to another goal and that's the same with modeling because it's so unpredictable, you know, it's kind of like your hands are in someone else's future in a way you just kind of have to ride down and do the most you get. So I definitely had goals. Like I knew I wanted to go to Europe. I knew I wanted to do like work in the States. So in that sense, yes. Um, but so many things that came along with it were not part of the plan, but you know, you kind of make the most of it like that LA trip for three months, I hated it. But then there's so many good bits about it. So it's kind of like, it's kind of a, I guess it's kind of like with my horses, you know, uh, it's like with chase, I had all these goals of doing dressage and then he had a tumor in the roof and then he was out for a year cause he had surgery. So it's one of those things alike. And I was like, okay, well what can I do with this? Because I'm bored out of my brain and he's on box rest. And so I started teaching him trick training. Uh, I know, I knew yes. Addressed already from the Netherlands. He's very big into that. And he taught me a few little things. So I was like, okay, he's recovering. I can ride him. Let's just do some trick training and started doing that for fun. Cause I had nothing else to do. And I ended up really enjoying it and chase also really enjoyed it. And it's kind of like another element that added to what I was doing online as well. And it was something that was fun and interesting and made a point of difference of how I could start shooting photos on Instagram as well. So it was, you know, you can always make the most of a, of a not so great situation.

Natasha (00:18:55):

That's amazing. I love it. All right. So, um, firstly, I just, I've been thinking about the modeling, please tell me that you do have bad hair days. Like how does it feel to, you know,

Matt (00:19:08):

Yeah. I, I contacted, uh, the girl kind of like with this rage, this, and I said, cause I saw that it resume. I was like, Oh, I thought it was a podcast. Cause I, I literally have just been doing like stuff around the place. And then I was like, okay, well maybe we don't record it because I'm not very presentable.

Natasha (00:19:27):

Everyone listening, his hair still looks amazing. So I don't know.

Matt (00:19:31):

No it's just like scruffy, but um, yeah. Look, I think what modeling does is it get, cause you have no say in which photos gets used, you have notes say you're just like rag. So, um, when campaigns come out and your faces on a billboard or sort of boss or anything like that, it's always the worst photo. Like it's always the photo you think is the least appealing or you're like, why the hell would you pick that? Because they're looking at the garment, they're looking at like, you know, they're looking at a few different things. They're not looking at how you look. So, um, I've learned to accept the ugly because it doesn't matter. You know, it's kind of part of who you are and it's just, you'll see yourself one way. Someone else will see you as yourself another way. But you just start to realize that like, it just doesn't matter. Like you just don't care as much anymore. And I think that's something that the modeling also helped me with that, you know, you don't always have to be perfect. You don't always have to look good. Modeling is not about having to look good. It's about kind of conveying a message. And whether that's trying to sell a garment, trying to look a certain way, somebody told me once early in my career that modeling you kind of have to think about it as acting, but you just do like slow acting. So if you're in a, if you want to be like showing different expressions, like, you know, act pissed, act like you're better than everyone or act like you're shy. Like if things like that, it's something that you can translate them through the camera. So yeah. I don't know. I've I had my difficulties with modeling because you could only get the experience once you start working behind the camera. And so you're going to have those awkward moments where you're not comfortable, but it's definitely helped me in the long run with so many things.

Natasha (00:21:13):

Yeah. Yeah. That's amazing. Okay. So what does a normal day look like for you now? Like how are you balancing everything that you want to do with everything you have to do and

Matt (00:21:23):

Like an hour with Corona or like now in general that's very different. Yeah.

Natasha (00:21:28):

Let's go. Hopefully normal. Like when all this craziness, um, comes down,

Matt (00:21:34):

Usually it's a lot of traveling. So I do whether it's modeling or whether it's events or whether it's me flying for productions I put on and stuff like that, I travel a lot and that's something I really enjoy. Um, so yeah, I day to day it's usually, if I'm not traveling, if I'm home, I'm probably filming YouTube videos, doing some shooting. Cause I try and have obviously regular content on my Instagram. Um, and then we have together, but yes, and now we have eight horses. So it's constant work, keeping that machine running, we have two dogs. Um, and then you're always, you know, doing meetings, doing plannings and working towards the future of different things, whether it's collections, whether it's other stuff, there's always something in the works. And I'm definitely the kind of person like I think life makes you think that you have to work all the time. Like, like it's like you live to work, but life is meant to be enjoyed, like meant to live to the first. And that's, I try and do that as much as I can to try and make my work, what I love. And I try to give myself the time to make the most out of the days I have in life. Like if you can make it happen for yourself, I would much rather be doing something like that.

Natasha (00:22:48):

Yeah, absolutely. And that's, that's mine Thai, as you said, I don't know how the whole world figures it out, but I'm obsessed with life is fun. Love, joy, excitement, adventure. And that's the point? How much of that? Can you cram me in amongst all the other stuff?

Matt (00:23:04):

Yeah, exactly. Because people maybe, maybe thinking of them all, like he's just running around doing videos done. Like it that's not even work. And it's like, well how, why would that be a complaint? Like how lucky am I to be able to have all this time to do all these things? Like, isn't it weird how people like switch it around like, Oh my God is not doing anything, which I am. But like, let's say people think that, but in reality it's like, it should be like, how lucky is he to have all this time to enjoy himself? But like, there's this like mentality that just constantly like this Christmas, are you constantly working and doing something that you don't want to do? It's just strange. I just don't get it. But I think it's because I've been like kind of like my own boss since I was 17, that I've kind of been able to, to pick how I want to live my life. Whether if you have a boss or you're in a kind of chain of command or in a company, it's kind of like you're following the company's goal.

Natasha (00:23:59):

Yeah. But I think it's also, I'd love to know what your parents were around this. Cause I know I had one parent that was like, you go to university, you go get a job and you go do that thing. And I had one parent that goes, just rock on, do just, you know, make it, make your life happen, however you want it to happen. And I definitely went to that path. Um, so did you kind of go rock on? We support you. We've got you even if it all ends up in a big mess that gave you that confidence.

Matt (00:24:28):

Yeah. I mean, my dad's an entrepreneur and he's got his own business. So already from there, I think that was a big step in the right direction in terms of where I am now. But he was always, uh, like believe in your dreams and you'll get that kind of person. My mom is also like that, but she is more like she's Italian, so she's very like feet on the ground, like yeah. But what's going to pay the bills kind of person. So yeah, she's very, very strict. Uh, but I guess that combination kind of gave me the realization that like, yeah, you can chase your dreams, but there has to also be able to

Natasha (00:25:00):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love it. You've got that. Perfect. It's a rocking on, I love it. So, um, what did you think when you started? I mean, I know for me, I never planned to have a YouTube channel. My kids go to school nowadays and on their school handbook, there's like three kids in grade four and it says, what do you want to be when you grow up? And they say a YouTuber and I'm like, I don't even know what a utuber is. What is that

Matt (00:25:26):

A long time? Haven't you you've been on YouTube way longer than I,

Natasha (00:25:30):

I think I, I think, yeah, I mean, I have been on YouTube now. I'm going to say no on you. I've no idea if that's right. That's good. It sounds kind of. Right. Um, and it was more, I was doing business training and the business training said you should put some things on YouTube. So I was just a good girl and did what they said. And then a couple of years later, someone was like, Ooh, you've you should do more of that. Um, but I never set out to, to do that. Was it the same for you? You just went, I'm just going to put this up and you went, Oh, some people watch, maybe I should put out it. Wasn't more thought out than that.

Matt (00:26:06):

I think for me, I'm such a consumer view of myself that I always had like a special place for it because I really like it. I consume it on a daily basis. I definitely have people I follow and that I like. Um, but again, it came back to like me wanting to prove my horse. I was like, okay, well, if I'm putting on this production, like where am I going to put it? And so then I started to build my YouTube specifically for that. So that's where the incentive came from. And then I realized what an amazing community YouTube was building. I mean, I think people get to know you in a whole different level than Instagram. Um, and so I was like, okay, I want to go deeper into this. You know, I have more things I want to say and show, and I kind just kept going with it after that ever a sense, especially because after seeing the series, people were like, well, how are you? And then I was like, okay, well maybe there's a space for me to share my life on here as well. But it's a very different platform. Like it's very, very, very different than Instagram.

Natasha (00:27:00):

And do you have a preferred one or you just are aware of this is, this is content for this one and this is content for that one.

Matt (00:27:07):

They're so different. But I think, I think to tell a story, it's on a it's on YouTube. You can't do it any other way than YouTube. And you can always tell when people have a YouTube channel because their comments and their engagement is so much, it's so different to someone who plainly does Instagram. Um, so I think one benefits the other, but I do love the YouTube community. That's for sure. Yeah.

Natasha (00:27:29):

That's amazing. And do you, um, I don't know you, do you get, I get negative comments, always positive and negative. I'm not going to say either either. Um, do you read them, do you delve into that? I mean, that's just the part of the job

Matt (00:27:47):

I have to, I have to say I'm very lucky. I don't get that much, that many negative comments. Um, but with the ones that I do, like are kind of like half laugh with them and then there's ones that really get to me. Like for instance, if, for instance, if I hear like roll cur, like that word is banned from my YouTube, because it's like, that is the furthest thing from anything that could be taking place. And then I got extremely pissed off the word behind the bit, sorry, but behind the vertical, because I addressed it so many times about behind the vertical and I had my Olympic coach also addressing it and trying to like educate people. But to some extent, you know, the masses are all going to catch on at the same time. Um, and I, I ban that word too. So that's how I deal with it. You know, it was something that I really like. Don't like, if it's, if there's something extremely negative, you know, it's my channel. People can say what they want, but not, not to attack or try and make people think something other than the truth. So if I'm not comfortable with something, I just block it.

Natasha (00:28:53):

Yeah. Good on you. I get into this whole, what if I could just teach the world that they could share their opinion in a lovely way and assume best intentions of every other human on the planet. And then I realized, well, I don't think I'm going to get to that. So what are you going to do in the meantime?

Matt (00:29:10):

I mean, you might get close.

Natasha (00:29:14):

I love it.

Matt (00:29:17):

Do you think in the horse world it's more toxic than other sports?

Natasha (00:29:22):

I think so. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Because there's that, um, uh, that human element people have views on, should you be a vegan or should you follow the carnival diet? People have views on, you know, cause you talk about behind the bit, this is I'm don't think that we should have fits on the horses or saddles on the horses or even be riding. So you've got all of that crazy. And then the normal crazy.

Matt (00:29:46):

Yeah. It stopped sometimes like the European shows like the big ones, if you go to a nation's cup or something, there'll be like protesters out the front for like animal rights that stand there with signs and stuff. Like it's crazy. When I was in Paris with the Europeans, there was like a whole protest happening outside,

Natasha (00:30:02):

Terrifying, terrifying for our sport. I just go, Oh God, in a hundred years, will we even be able to rock?

Matt (00:30:08):

Yeah, it's tricky. But I feel like also the, I think it takes a special kind of person also to be into horses. And like, there's like a mild level of like diagnosable problems with them. Like they're like slightly psychotic, slightly like a egotistical, like Gina. Do you know what I mean? Like, there's like a horse person has like certain, certain character traits and it's fun. Absolutely everyone, but like the vast majority shares them. And that's why I think there's sort of like friction in this sport. We're all just a bit crazy.

Natasha (00:30:38):

I know. I love your word slightly. It's all good.

Matt (00:30:42):

I'm one of them, one of them, like I'm not excluding myself from the picture, like I'm from blue, the inclusiveness. Like, I'm definitely like, I've got my things that I'm definitely crazy, but I mean, it's also other people bringing Mick Fraser to the party that kind of adds to the fire.

Natasha (00:30:56):

I love it. I do go at least when not like I feel dog showing wood is, is another level of crazy. Not that I've ever done it, but based on what you say,

Matt (00:31:09):

It happens like docking the tails and like all that kind of stuff. Like one time at senior rural, there was this, uh, this pony and they put like this tiny, a really strong elastic band in the tail. And half the tail died. Like crazy stuff. It just frames you. It's great catching horses, like at shows like the beat. Like they will take them behind the float and just beat the crap out of them.

Natasha (00:31:32):

Yeah. Yeah.

Matt (00:31:33):

It's it's I don't know. I'm sure there's, you know, there's like dark sides, every sport, but in showing it's definitely kind of a it's very public is what I'm saying.

Natasha (00:31:44):

Alright. So I need to ask about your and delusion. I am in love. Tell us about, Oh my God. Oh my God. I, um, yeah, I saw the video of you on the beach. I didn't know it was you. I just went look at this. This is what I want. So tell me when you find him, what's your goals with him? Tell me everything.

Matt (00:32:08):

So I fell for the period when I would like a change, because I was like, you know, I've been riding for a while now. And I was like, you know, it's fun, but everything staying the same. I want a bit of a different challenge or something interesting. That makes a different point of point of difference in the situation. So I was looking into buying a loose title, um, at first, and then I quickly realized that loser tires are very short and they're very expensive. So I was like, okay, what's close to it. And then I came to the pure reason, actually found the more I looked into it, the more I resonated with the breed, myself and periods are a little prettier. So I started looking, I started looking in Spain but much like chase I'm so picky that it takes me ages to find a horse. So I think I was looking for about a year before I found him. Um, and I, he was the horse, but he's, he's the first course I saw that I was like, okay, I'm actually gonna fly out to see him because everything else I'd seen, I was like, it's just the one. It's not the one it's not good enough. It's not expressive enough. Um, but even then I was like, I want a six year old. I want a Bay of apiary. Uh, and then I bought a great three year old. So it's always kind of like that. You have to make some, like, you have to make some leeway for like, what comes your way. But the moment I saw him in Spain, I was like, Oh my God, this is the last, he was just so elegant and beautiful. And he stuck to sweet horse as well. He's Italian, but he's not. Uh, and you just, well, now he's got to go sign behavior. But at the time what they did is leased them in the stable, like in a stable block and in the mare they will block. And they were like, look, he's so chill because in Spanish or like blahzay like that. And then the man goes, look how quiet he is. And you just like, he bends down and he just like completely undercuts him in the balls. He's like, look, he's so quiet. He doesn't do anything. Okay. You don't have to do that again. But in Spain they have a different kind of culture. They're very, um, they're very hands on people. I always say though, the very, like the horseman, like they have a great feeling with the horse because a lot of them don't have you have hardly any education. I mean, when it comes to riding, but they're running grand prix. So even though it's not pretty, it is amazing that based on the feeling they get there. Um, but yeah, so, and, but like, for instance, when I went to try me was three and a half and they were riding him in a double bridle. Like just things like that, that you go, yeah, you go, what the hell is going on? But you just got to take it for how it is. That's us. That's how Spain is. You just take it.

Natasha (00:34:35):


Matt (00:34:35):

But the moment I saw him, I had the whole next day plan to go see all the horses in Spain. And I said to my agent, I said, just castle, everything, what we're doing, the vet check tomorrow. Um, and we did any past and I brought him straight away. And then, um, and then actually I was going to Australia for Christmas cause I bought him in sidebar. So I brought him to a friend of mine in Portugal. He's called Jarral, uh, Turrell. The pronunciation is not going to be good, but he's a, he rides for the Portuguese like team. Um, he's very, very good. He's got a beautiful, beautiful loser Tato, uh, Olympic horse. He went to train with like Charlotte and col and he's very, very talented. So I was like, okay, you take them for like two months until I'm back nine. And then when he's ready, I'll I'll take him. And then I was like, this is a good indication of like, you know, I've never had a stallion. He's a three year old. I don't know how he's going to be. Um, and then he was like, no, look, he's awesome. And I went and had a few license. I think I flew that two or three times. And then I took him. But yeah, I always like import like, Chase's my brother. I always refer to him like in the feelings why this is my brother, but employer's like my baby. Like, he's like, he's like, it's a little thing I want to take care of it. Nobody can speak badly about him. He's the best. He is absolutely nothing wrong. And all the time I'll be like brushing and then I just take a step back and I just like watch him because he's just so amazing. Like I just take a step back and I'm just saying all this creature that's in front of me. Um, so it was very special to be able to find that. And I feel like also in the, we just click, like, he, we have a very similar way of thinking, which is strange to say about a horse, but we just have a very similar personality and it just works so well when we ride and stuff, like I've never had a bad ride out on him. And I don't like chase. I mean, it was difficult sometimes, but like I've never been able to say about important. That's why I would chase. It's like this broad brotherly love where it's like,

Natasha (00:36:30):

Yeah, you have fights

Matt (00:36:33):

I'm on. Um, and that, but with importer, it's kinda like, it's just been, it just clicked straight away.

Natasha (00:36:40):

Oh, I'm so in love. That's just the ultimate story and he is amazing,

Matt (00:36:46):

But that's why I became such an advocate for the breed, because I was like, imagine if all the people could feel what I feel like when I'm, if I, when I'm like sitting on him and I'm doing like an extended trot down the dog. And I was like, imagine if people could feel this, like the power, but also like theories of this way of like with warmbloods, they'll go hot for like 10 minutes and you've got to work them out of it with periods. It's like, they'll have the initial reactions to the situation. And with one second, they're out of it. Like, they're just, they're so level headed, but then have that fire, like employer can be hot enough that like you can play with like some small steps in the Piaf, or you can really engage the hind leg with like, you know, if you ask him, so it's such nice combination to be able to have that enough. That's why I'm delving a little bit into breeding next year, because I am so in love with the breed. And I just wish people could feel what I feel

Natasha (00:37:38):

I'm with you. I'm with you. Yep. Oh, everyone just go out and buy one. Just go, go.

Matt (00:37:43):

I'm not with regions. Right? Like, that's your thing.

Natasha (00:37:46):

They do. I do miss. I have got a freezer now that's hot. Like you said, like quiet. I feel they're just so chill. I'm really, um, like quite lazy, quite like I'll just do stuff for food and that's what freedoms alive. So we get on super well. Um, but yeah, you do need, it was really hard to get, um, Arbor to grand prix. Cause there was just no go. There was just no movement.

Matt (00:38:12):

Well, I must say love for patients, loved them, but they do everyone always, especially here in the Netherlands. Cause it's like the home of the Friesian just so like

Natasha (00:38:21):

Yes. Yes. So this one that this braid sounds it's got everything the Friesian has plus that reaction, which just sounds good. Yeah.

Matt (00:38:31):

Maybe something that you can look, I mean, in Australia there's like no Reese. Um, they have some like and delusions and I guess the difference people sometimes don't know the difference between not to lose. And the theory is, uh, it's the same breed per se, but they have no papers. They're not like registered. No, you don't really know what like the background is from. But a pre is, you know, a hundred percent PR where you're coming from previous generations with papers. So I do think there is a slight, they differ slightly because the pre lines are more pure in the sense that like, you know, the background of everything whilst the delusions, especially in Spain, they got a bit mixed sometimes. So, you know, you don't really know exactly what you're getting. Um, so there is a bit of a difference when you cause a friends is there's no like the peer review shows is only all shows with papers. You will not find any and delusions on there. So it was, it even took me a while to realize that little difference. Cause I was like carrying delusion, why they call him? But like the name says it it's pulled out access by, which is like pure bred Spanish brewed kind of. Yeah. But maybe that's something that you can look into in the future to at least try

Natasha (00:39:46):

In a couple of years I will be calling up going, let's go shopping.

Matt (00:39:50):

Yeah. Oh, I'm up for it. I've got all the contacts now and looking so, and it's fun. Like you're going to Spain and what they all do. All the buyers when you're interested in a whole state ticket to launch or having started agree or you're getting drunk and then they're like, do you want the horse then? You're like, yeah,

Natasha (00:40:10):

Yeah, yeah. I'm with you like holiday buying horses. I don't know. It's all going to be fun. It's just yes, yes.

Matt (00:40:18):

Yeah. It's it's, it's amazing. I have to say though. I think because the market is so like everybody wants superior right now. I don't know why, why? I mean, I know why, but it's all of a sudden now that the price of PRS are so high, like you can't get a nice Pirie cheap and that's a bit sad, especially flack. Cause I'm even thinking in Europe, but I find it. Then I have to come to Australian dollars. I'm like, Holy crap, what a rip off. But it is an expensive. Yeah, it isn't expensive. I feel like the fusions in Australia super expensive. But if you come to the Netherlands, you can pick up a really good free ship for a really good price.

Natasha (00:40:52):

Yeah. I think, I think that's just the transport thing of people going. Well, I was only 20. We had to pay all this export import import costs. So we're all going to share in that. Yeah.

Matt (00:41:03):

And you guys also then have to pay for the, uh, the quarantining because I have to, I could, I could do differently leaving, but like for you guys, they have to be quarantined and you can't even do anything, but I could quarantine on my facility, which has made it so much easier. Yeah,

Natasha (00:41:19):

Yes. Yeah. Way better. All right. So, um, so what is your goal? Do you, do you have gone pre Olympics? I'm going to bring the, you say it so well, the PRA is what I want to call it. Yeah,

Matt (00:41:34):

Yeah, yeah. You can think frees up here. Yeah.

Natasha (00:41:37):

Yeah. So do you have goals like that? Or what, what is it? Is it more just, I, I, I set my own journey and whatever comes from that is, is cool. How do you do that?

Matt (00:41:49):

Yeah. I mean, I don't have Olympic goals. That's not telling my vision because I know the lifestyle you need to have to have that. And that doesn't really align with where I see my life going. But I definitely like with Emporio, I feel like I could get to grand Prix if, you know, if I get a kick up the ass and like do it right and uh, I'm with a new coach now. And I really, really like him. And I think we started working together to two months ago. And then I think the last lesson you told me was like, in four years, this horse will be grand pre he's. Like, there's no doubt about it. And it's when you hear stuff like that, you're like, you start to get so excited, but he's five now. And we started working on the half past, we started playing with the changes a little bit. He started to a bit of PF and had, so it's very promising. You're like, okay, well it's starting to, you know, and I don't do too much. Like we do. Like I think we only do, we do two days where it's like 45 minutes more practicing the high level stuff. And then the rest of the other three days, it's just basically like gymnastic work. Like I try and keep it quite simple for him because he is five. Like I don't need to do everything at once. Um, but he is getting there and I have, I have good people around me. I'm at a great facility. I'm at the stables here of my sponsor Kingsley. Um, but we have like an Aqua trainer. We have a Walker or we have like massage therapy. We have everything there. So I'm in an environment where I can definitely get to the best place in my mind to get to grand Prix. So am hoping in the future that that's installed for me.

Natasha (00:43:18):

Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. No. It's already happened on facades, so yeah,

Matt (00:43:24):

I hope so though. I really hope so. So what about yourself? Where do you see your goals going? I feel like I've got so many questions for you. I need some of my own podcast with your, where do you envision? Cause you've built quite like an empire for yourself now of like everything through social media and stuff like that. But where do you envision that going?

Natasha (00:43:46):

I am. All I get out of bed to do is, um, help, help riders I'm obsessed with no one should feel fear in their writing. No one should feel that that whole disconnect and that whole, um, uh, I get so emotional about it. You know, how much, how we've been chatting, how much we love these horses. And we love the ridinge . And I, um, when I got backed off and got some fear in my writing that all got stripped away and suddenly the thing I adored, the thing that gave me love and joy and freedom was the thing that filled me with dread and hatred of myself. And why couldn't I do this? So I'm on a mission to cure that in the world and just to help riders, I just want to help them. You know, I love chatting to you. Like we're just people that are about fun, love, joy, happiness, life, like fricking limit. Um, and that's, that's, that's what I want to do. Just help people get that a little bit more.

Matt (00:44:42):

I want to give a big hats off to you because when it comes to the like YouTube questions, space, it's so freaking boring. Like there's honestly nobody's content that you can consume. And I mean, there's no one's content you can consume that is engaging in a new way. Like it's always everybody and trust me, I'm, I'm just as guilty of this, but we get so stuck in our world that everybody's doing the exact same thing, but like you've always had a point of difference in how you've been like a lot of coaches try not to give out their secrets because people need to pay for that. Right. But you've always put yourself out there and educating people, even if there's not as much of a turn as you could gone. And if it wasn't a lesson, if it was in a clinic and something like that, so that's a big hats off to you, but something that I've, because I've obviously none of you for awhile. Um, but something that I really started watching religiously is like your off the track season, I'm staying up to date on it. And I just, I really liked the way you're filming it. And I think because I've been involved in filming now a bit like the way you guys, um, filming it and like there is like, it's not just like pick up the hammer and go, you guys are really thinking about like, okay, like, we're gonna have to sit down with I'm in here. We're going to talk about this. We're going to show some background footage and the way you were able to kind of capture that story and bring us all along with it is so you to that space, like, it's kind of like, it's those systems that you have having more mainstream TV. Um, and I think that's a big hats off to you guys because that's really hard to do, like in the equestrian world to try and get something like that, where it's engaging and interesting and you're filming it in a different way rather than just like, I got eyes, like, what are you sad? I'll go off. But like, it's really hard. And it's not any disrespect to the people who are like, just at the beginning of the learning to get off their butt to you who you've been working for nine years to be able to get to that point. I think it's really good. I think you're doing a really good job.

Natasha (00:46:39):

Thank you. I appreciate that. And that's not me. I'm, I'm the person in front of the camera, but all that thinking is actually my husband, he's actually really creative in that space and he talks about it.

Matt (00:46:49):

I need to have like a little team sometimes to make it happen. And I feel a little bit bad about what I said and you know, not everything is boring. The question well, but I always ask this question to everybody because we are all four slobbers, but how much course content we actually consume on a daily basis. So everyone I asked, not much, you know what this at home watch saying like, Oh, there's this whole series I really love, unless you're really young, then you're quite catered for, you know, I would like the saddle club or like with the cartoons then you're quite catered for. But then as soon as you're passionate and 20, you're like, well, there's no space for me to sit and be entertained. So what do you watch anything in the horse world that like entertains you on this? In the sense of media?

Natasha (00:47:29):

No, I don't want, but don't even want to YouTube. Like I'm, I'm sorry I joined

Matt (00:47:34):

YouTube. They could be on TV for instance thing. Yeah. But what I'm trying to say is like, it's sad in a way, because we've got this great community, um, we all, you know, you could eat, there's no place like the hospital. You could post a photo of a horse every day. The horse community is like, yes, I love it. You know, if you post a photo of a soccer ball, everyday people can be like, we don't have a horse. People can't get enough. And so you've got a community that will never be satisfied. We'll always want more, but there's nothing that caters to that. And so when someone like you breaks through and you create something really interesting, I think there's something to applaud about that because it's a hard code to crack.

Natasha (00:48:12):

Awesome. Well, thank you. I really do appreciate it. And um, yeah. In terms of the thoroughbred thing, like I do, I question, I go, I keep saying to phil. I don't know. I don't know. I don't want to keep putting them out. I don't want to keep putting them out. It's like, just, just do you think we'll figure out, why did you want to put them out? Oh, just the, as you said, the sharing of opinions, do you should be doing it this way, this way, this way. And I'm like, yeah, there's a million different things I could do or should do, or Mike could do differently. Um, but I've never said, hi, I am the expert on thoroughbred retraining. I've I've retrained 500. This is my first one. And I come, uh, Lee, what a challenge. It is like, I've broken in a lot of horses then all like this. Cause it's the retraining bit. That's like, Hey, you got different triggers.

Matt (00:48:56):

Yeah, absolutely. But why you from doing what you want though?

Natasha (00:49:01):

Yeah, I do. I do. And I know it helps. So everything from my heart comes from, does it help? And then when I get people going, thank you. You've normalized it for me. You've made me feel better. This has helped me. That's what keeps me going. I go, okay, just got to listen to that bit.

Matt (00:49:18):

Yeah. And I think you should just, I think as much as you can follow your own instinct because you know, people always have to like to say like, no matter what, like people being like, Oh, you shouldn't have flown your horse. That's so cool. Oh, for God's sake. How do you think all these other people are going to the Olympics? Um, but yeah, you just gotta stay on your own track as long as you mean. Well, and you're doing your best, you know, we all make mistakes. I made some mistakes on cameras. We all do. I mean, imagine those people that are leaving comments, if their life was filmed, how many mistakes? And I guess that's why there's so much like screaming the whole school. Cause it's all a matter of opinion. There's no rule book that tells you how to do it like this. You won't do it like that. It's an independent kind of feeling. And so that will always be for the discussion. But yeah, I think it's like the more you continue to put your message out there, the more people move that like don't, they'll stop going for it. Because if they see someone that doesn't care, they're going to be like, Oh whatever, I've said it 10 times. I'm done now.

Natasha (00:50:16):

Yeah. Yeah. So they right. Awesome. Okay. So, um, do what you said very clearly. I love how clear you are about your life plan. You said, um, the Olympics, not a thing to me, cause I know how many hours and how much you have to do to dedicate to that. So where do you

Matt (00:50:33):

The money? I mean, the money that goes into that is crazy. I mean, I'd probably buy, I don't have to buy something else. You know? That's what I mean. Like it's just so much more to life. I mean, I'm going to be spending millions. Like I want to sit on a yard in the South of France. I want to be sweating a try on that's not me. That's not my lifestyle. I envisioned for myself.

Natasha (00:50:55):

I just go, alright, I'm a hundred million. That's about if I want to do everything. I just like more, more, more the goals yourself I do. Yeah. Yeah. Um, I've, I'm, I'm trying to put everything in place for 2024, because if it goes ahead, it's going to be in the Versailles, in the grounds of the Versailles palace, which is my favorite place in the whole world. But the gold and the bleeding now I just, I just have to be there. It just has to happen.

Matt (00:51:25):

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

Natasha (00:51:28):

We're going to try and put everything in place for that, but I'm the same as you. Yeah. But I'm not going to sacrifice, not going to say, see you kids, I'm not going to see you for three years. I'm not going to put, you know, we're not buying a house. Cause I put all the money into a horse there's rules and fences around it. So if it doesn't happen, I'm like, yeah. It's like, I put in what I was prepared to put in and it didn't come off. That's fine. I'm going to, it's not that be all end all.

Matt (00:51:54):

Yeah. Yeah. No, absolutely. And it's hard because sometimes, you know, you put it all in and then it's, it's also a bit political. So then you're like, I did everything. I did all the right steps. I got all the results I needed to get. It's still up there and you know, that's also very frustrating.

Natasha (00:52:10):

So I'm, I'm very, yeah. It's like, well, I'm not going to give it. And I love what you said. Cause I had gray. What person can win the Olympics unless they go all in and give it everything. And something I talk about with my coach all the time. That's my life coach, not my riding coach, but I'm like, I'm not going to do that. So therefore does the Olympic dream have to come off the table? And he's like, no, you just need to be clear on going. I'm going to go to the Olympics in a different way. Which means that I can reconcile it if it doesn't happen because the people that do go well and don't make it work. How do you reconcile that?

Matt (00:52:44):

Yeah, because if you can say like, Oh look, I didn't make it to the Olympics, but I've got an amazing life and an amazing family. I mean it's quick, things could be worse. You know that if you've given it all up and you go, I didn't make the Olympics. I have no friends. Now I have no money. I have nothing else going for me. Then he got in a bit of a dark horse.

Natasha (00:53:02):

Yes, yes. Yep. Um, I'm so with you, so where if your life wants to go perfectly for the next 10 years, cause we know life works out like that. Um, where do you want to be? What are your, what are your pillars?

Matt (00:53:15):

That's so hard. I really don't know. I, when I was 17 and I finished school, I said, I'm going to take a year off. Cause I don't know what I'm, what I'm going to do. And I'm still there. I'm still that exact same person that know what they're going to do. And it's just kind of like you make the option, you make the most of the opportunities that also come, of course you've got to create your own. And I think I did that along the way, but I don't know. I think I did a, I did a movie last year, which was really exciting. It was out here in the Netherlands and then it was on Netflix and that was really fun to be kind of part of that. So maybe that's something I want to dive into a little bit more. I got off.

Natasha (00:53:47):

Sorry to interrupt, but can I'm sure. Yeah.

Matt (00:53:50):

Why star? It's a horse movie. It's called white star. Okay.

Natasha (00:53:53):

I didn't know. There was a movie on Netflix.

Matt (00:53:55):

I don't think I've reached Australia. Um, but it was a school movie I did. And it was not before Netflix though. Yeah. But um, yeah, I'm not, I'm not exactly sure where that's can lead. I had a few like TV show opportunities. Like they asked me to be in love Island and I was like, I don't think that's really my thing. So maybe not,

Natasha (00:54:19):

I didn't even know what love Island did, but it sounds pretty interesting.

Matt (00:54:25):

It's like all these people get on an Island and it's all about like the drama and relationships that kind of happen on the Island. It's not like people like getting up. I was like, that's not me. Um, and then I got asked to do a maiden Chelsea. I don't know if you know that show. It's also I'm from the UK. It's like slightly scripted reality TV. Um, I said, no not. And then one show I did say yes. And then it didn't end up happening, was dancing with the star. I was meant to do that in Italy, which was really exciting. I had like the final meeting to like have everything booked and then a few things happened, which I hope one day I'll be able to talk about that. Didn't end up going ahead with the show, which is sad, but I'm kind of staying open to like possibilities like that. I think that's a really fun, new, new wave. That will be interesting to explore. Especially because even with the movie, I found it very uncomfortable because I have no experience in acting. So it's kind of nice being in that position where you feel like you're in a new element and you have to be on your toes a bit.

Natasha (00:55:25):

I love it. I can so see the secret. Not that tanning on that. Count me. I'm putting, what is it? Air quotes. Yeah. Because the secret to your success, you I'm jumping to situations that you don't know about. Like there's, there's fear. There's of course, fear to anything new and you jump in, you go, I'll figure it out. I've I don't know how to model. I'll figure it out. I don't know how to act. I'll figure it out. I'll figure out how to get my home. But that's how, that's the definition of success. The people that are sitting back going well, I want to do that until that's what breeds the unsuccess so yeah. Good on you. You want to come back to Australia at one point?

Matt (00:56:11):

I don't think so. Because the nice thing about here is like in Australia you do feel very confined and I think that can sometimes affect your ambition and like where you see your goals in your life go away. And the thing about Europe is that like you feel in a sense while industry, you also feel like you can do anything, but here you feel like you can really do anything. Like it's more achievable. It's just a mindset thing. But for my mind, it definitely works better here.

Natasha (00:56:36):

It goes well with the most amazing things to see and do. And you could go whenever you want, if in charge.

Matt (00:56:44):

So people are like, Oh my God, like, uh, uh, I don't know a shows happening at Hawkesbury. Like I can't wait to go. That's so cool. And I'm like, what if we fly to Paris? And we go to the IFO Paris jumping show in front of the Eiffel tower. Like, that's what I mean, like you start to be able to do other stuff and it takes the same amount of time to do it, but it's just at a different level. And then when you're immersed in that kind of culture and environment, at least for what I do, it does help.

Natasha (00:57:11):

Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Absolutely.

Matt (00:57:13):

Have you ever done any competitions at all? Like in Germany or in the Netherlands?

Natasha (00:57:17):

I did a tiny competition in the Netherlands, like on a Tuesday, but no, I have not gone to the big shows. I can't wait. It's all I want to do.

Matt (00:57:27):

Like I feel like in Australia, people are so lovely and like everyone's there to have fun, even though it lets people hit a weight and these people are hungry for the win. And that's why I think like Jeremy ended up Lynn's is so competitive in the horse world is like, you go out here there's people like, they might not be like training high, but they've got like a super coach warming them up. Like they've got access to all these people and resources and they're getting like incredible schools, but it's definitely very, it's daunting going into competitions here. Like it's quite full on.

Natasha (00:57:56):

Absolutely. Yeah. And I, I I'm just, I just want to play like last is fine. I just want to play and just be like, okay, your game is shit. Bring it up for you. And God knows where I'll be eventually able to bring it up, but I'm just excited about like you I'm cool with it. That I'm terrified. I don't know. It's all crazy, but I I'll I'll get better because of the experience.

Matt (00:58:24):

Okay. Yeah. No, that makes sense. Well, if you're ever in the Netherlands swing by, it will be nice. We can go and see some freedoms that the, at the stables I was telling you about, Oh, have you ever been to free slides? Like right where they come from up North?

Natasha (00:58:36):

I think that's where I went to shop for them. Yeah. I think we just, yeah, we definitely went North, but yeah, no, definitely

Matt (00:58:47):

There as well. Like it's kind of like their own language and Friesland. Hmm.

Natasha (00:58:51):

Well, I can't undo. All I can say is dunker. Well that's all I've got and gotten more heart.

Matt (00:58:59):

Yeah. Well that's it off.

Natasha (00:59:03):

Yup. Awesome. Okay. Um, so any advice for riders that are looking at working on moving overseas? What do you have to say to anyone at home? Who's thinking that they might want to play a bigger game, but they're scared and they don't know how, and they don't know what to do.

Matt (00:59:18):

I think it's kind of like the other day I was in, I was on holiday and I saw this little, I had like a newspaper bond shop and they were on the newspaper. It said it's like, life gives you a little hits every now and then, but it says the biggest risk gives you the biggest reward. Um, and I guess that's kind of what you have to think. You know, nothing happened, nothing super exciting happens in your comfort zone. You have to be kind of outside of that. And then that's where like the magic starts to happen. So like allow yourself to be a dreamer, allow yourself to take the opportunity. And if worst comes to worst, you will go back to exactly the same life you had before. That's what I thought. I was like, if it all goes, if it all goes tits up, all I'm going to do is go back to Australia. I met the exact same wife I already had. Like, I won't be any worse off. I'll be better off I'll I'll at least have more experience all of these, know what I don't want. You know? So anything you do will always lead you somewhere, whether that's the place you've envisioned, you will not always know, but I'll lead you somewhere. And I think that's important to take that first step. So believe in yourself, do whatever you can. You've got to hustle. Sometimes things happen, but you just got to go for it. And then if it doesn't work out, it's not the end of the world.

Natasha (01:00:29):

I love it. And you are a living breathing example of like what I said before that your success is not unusual to me at all. Like I'm not listening here going, Oh, I just don't know how he did it. And I just don't know. I can see exactly why you have the results you have and it's available to anyone if you brave. And you do you do that work. So congratulations.

Matt (01:00:48):

I have to say, I was also lucky. You do need a bit of luck in life. Like, you know, you can put yourself out there as much as you can, but I was also lucky and I've been, I'm still very lucky in so many things that have happened to me. So, um, that's something I never take for granted that's for sure.

Natasha (01:01:04):

Cool, perfect. Beautiful. Who sponsors you? Who helps you tell me about your amazing sponsors

Matt (01:01:12):

Sponsors? I feel like that's an interesting topic in the wholesale world. Um, so I have a few different sponsors. I'm quite lucky. I haven't actually changed my sponsors down much at all throughout the years. I think it's important to sometimes be like, uh, quite exclusive with some things like, I don't believe clothing is one of them. I think people should wear whatever clothing they want. Cause there isn't such thing as the best clothing line. Like you take pieces from wherever you like, but you know, things like my saddle, my bottle and my leather goods, my boots, I do really believe in my company, in the company Kingsley. Um, and so that's why I'm strict with them. But with a lot of other sponsored sponsors, I always say I don't do any exclusivity. Um, and if that's what you're asking, I'm sorry, I'm not the person for you. Um, that's why I've got a few ones that coincide. I get a lot of questions. Like how can you have different sponsors that do the same thing? And it's like my content, you know, if you go to Westfield, do you shop at one store for everyone who is an Aussie or American? Um, so that's how I treat my space. I'm a person it's like, it's like, I'm your friend. I want to recommend to what I would like, what I would wear. So I have Aqualine is one of my sponsors, um, Kingsley sponsored me, boots, bridles, and saddles. Then I have Davos, which is kind of like the horse land. Yeah. They're really good. They saw everything and the stores are huge. It's so like it's so yeah, it's so exciting. Um, and then I am with a question star Colombia. I've been with them for such a long time. They are like, I love them so much. I actually have another collaboration coming out with them in December, which is exciting,

Natasha (01:02:54):

how exciting.

Matt (01:02:56):

And then I am with I'm with spring are for my bits and all that kind of stuff. I'm with [inaudible] as well. They have really nice stuff. I really liked them. They were kind of new collaboration I just started. Um, and then I'm trying to think, and then I have like a on and off on and off again, like you should a sponsor.

Natasha (01:03:18):

Yeah. That's amazing. So thank you so much for your time. Matt, do you have anything else you want to share or anything else that you want to leave the community with right now?

Matt (01:03:28):

No, I hope I can come visit you at one point, when I come back to Australia, that would be nice to come see your place and see your real life. That would be cool.

Natasha (01:03:35):

we'll go for a ride and then you can tell me,

Matt (01:03:40):

Yeah, I've only ever written one Friesian um, and it was full the movie that I played in last year, so I feel like I haven't had a fair shot cause we were at the beach. It was like this whole thing. So it would be nice to like have a proper sit on a Friesian and see what that's like. That would be cool.

Natasha (01:03:53):

Absolutely. You can do some P off and massage and some Tempe.

Matt (01:03:56):

Yeah. That'd be amazing. Absolutely.

Natasha (01:04:00):

I love it. All right. Well thank you so much. I've had an absolute pleasure chatting and my pleasure.

Podcast Episode 24: Edwina Hutton Potts | For The Love Of Horses

Tn this podcast, we speak with Edwina Hutton-Potts. Edwina is a former successful show rider, who has been successful in her transition to dressage. She has been involved in masterclasses with some of the world's best trainers and currently, she works with various young horses training them through the ranks.

To keep up with her journey, you can follow Edwina on Instagram @edwinapotts.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):

So welcome to the podcast Edwina. So excited to have you on.

Edwina (00:48):

Thank you so much for having me I'm looking forward to it.

Natasha (00:51):

Yeah. Well, tell me, talk to me about your early start in horses. And I'm obsessed with showing because I'm really curious about what kind of personality excels in showing. Cause I don't have that. I'm not, don't sound very good. I'm not a clean person, but I'm like, talk to me about your early start with showing in and what kind of personality you have.

Edwina (01:17):

Yeah, so I was actually born in Sydney, um, and we moved, uh, out of Sydney into the country when I was seven and started riding lessons on the weekends and local riding school. Um, and then I got my first pony for my eighth birthday and he was incredibly naughty. I probably fell off him more than any of my other horses combined. Um, just it probably really naive purchase decision.

Natasha (01:42):

Um, but was he cute? Like, is that why he was bought, he was cute or pretty.

Edwina (01:46):

uh, he was very cute. He was steal gray, like just gorgeous, but probably not the, you know, why conscious Kick along pony I probably needed. Yeah. Um, and then we yeah. Started riding lessons, um, with a local lady who was a show rider and just sort of went from there into showing. Um, most of my ponies were really naughty. Um, a lot of really badly behaved horses. So I didn't have much success probably until I was, you know, 14, 15. Um, but for whatever reason, just kind of stuck with it. Um, and I think, you know, it taught me a lot, you know, I think a lot of kids with badly behaved horses might kind of think this is not for me or lose the nerve or whatever else, but, um, yeah, I think, you know, it gave me a really good start. Um, weirdly having so many naughty ponies, um, and the showing, I think it, you know, it always appeal to me. Like I am a bit, bit OCD, like a bit of a perfectionist. I love, love presentation, like a level of the makeup of the quarter, Mark, all that sort of stuff. Um, so yeah, I think that's probably why I was drawn to it. I don't think my mom ever would've let me go eventing or sporting or anything like that. She works in the health system. So I think, you know, trying to avoid visits.

Natasha (03:14):

No ER visits for you.

Edwina (03:17):

No unnecessary ones already happened with horses. So yeah, that's sort of how I kind of got into showing, I guess.

Natasha (03:26):

Right. And, um, what's your best memory in terms of showing? Like what did you love about it? Why, why talk to me about what you're looking to achieve? Is it, is it I, is it just that perception that the perfect look like? What is the attraction and the, what are you trying to improve in that space?

Edwina (03:49):

It is hard. I mean, for me, like I was very drawn to the rider classes. That's where I excelled more than in the, um, Hunter or open classes. And I think, you know, in dressage we kind of have a gauge of where we're at, you know, you marked movement by movement and that's a score of one to 10. Whereas, you know, there's not really a number value on doing well in showing, I mean, in turn up classes, there are, but you know, you have to nail it. You know, there's not really room for, you know, a mistake that just gets written off as one movement, you know, it has to nail it. And there's just something about, I think for me, my favorite show was, um, you know, the EA nationals where only two people per class per state qualify. So very small class and the stakes are really high and, you know, you're up against the best, the best. And there's always a big audience and there's just, I don't know. I can't quite describe that atmosphere. I'm sure. You know, it's like, you know, a very small scale of what it must be like to ride at like a weg or an Olympics, but just something about that crowd and that energy and it's, you know, all eyes on you it's yeah, it's pretty addictive and you know, it was hard to walk away from, um, you know, cause I did finish kind of on a high, um, but yeah, for me, like I had a lot of dressage training in my background already. So we used to do a lot of lunging lessons, just elements and dressage. Um, you know, I just didn't having sources attention back when you're in the show ring. And I think, you know, that knowledge is starting to increase in the show world and people are seeing the benefits of, you know, having a few more tools and a few more training AIDS, um, for their horses in the show world.

Natasha (05:36):

Absolutely. So I'm just really curious. Do you, um, will you begin the performing arts at school? It sounds like you love to perform and you.

Edwina (05:47):

no, no. The absolute opposite when I was like, I, um, I was a child is in daycare really young, so I was a really annoying yes, very center of attention type of child. And then I think as I got older, I kind of went a bit the opposite way. Um, now even like, I don't even like standing for a photo by myself, like I'm happy with the horse, some of the helmet on or whatever else, but I really, I don't like all eyes on me. It's just, yeah. Not in my nature. Um, you know, I wasn't into acting or singing or public speaking or anything like that. Um, yeah, I think the horse is a kind of, you know, they give me confidence in the show ring.

Natasha (06:28):

It was all mostly the horse, just a little bit of me.

Edwina (06:33):

I think I was very, I got good at putting on a, you know, I'm here to win kind of body language, but inside I was probably just absolutely packing it in, but yeah, it was a little bit of a, you know, fake it till you make it. I think,

Natasha (06:49):

Thank you. You're being honest. I'm sure lots of people are going Oh good. They just look like that. They're not actually that.

Edwina (06:56):

Yeah. Yeah. I don't actually feel that way. Yeah.

Natasha (07:00):

And so that is attitude. Everything doesn't matter what I do. Yeah. Actually going on just project. Yeah. And what made that shift were you like, well, it says, hi, I've achieved so much and obviously I still want to keep making progress. Was it that you would hit a ceiling transition?

Edwina (07:20):

So I always thought dressage was so boring. So like why would I want to trot around the rectangular pen? Like I didn't, I didn't get it. Um, and I started training with my coach Robbie sos. So when I was nearly 15, um, that transition over into dressage actually still took another sort of four or five years. Um, um, but it was, you know, I had started the process, you know, I was learning more and enjoying more and realizing, Oh, this is actually really hard. Um, and I am a sort of, I am a perfectionist, um, by nature just so I think, you know, dresses as a sport really appeals to me that drives me absolutely mental at the same time. Um, because I'm chasing something that is literally no one's done. Like no one's gotten a hundred percent that im aware of. Um, so yeah, so when the last show horse I bought is a thoroughbred, um, brought in from quite a well known rider and it basically went to crap like I just, this horse and I, like, we just didn't mesh. I was having an awful time with him. Um, and he kind of did have me on the edge of, you know, I think I was 18 at the time like, Oh my God, what am I doing? Like, do I still want to do this? And, um, we then bought my first dressage horse echo, um, and He just completely changed the game for me. Like just gave me my confidence back and made me, you know, really fall in love with the riding and the dressage and just the most generous horse. Like he was a school master and he made me work very hard for everything like the laziest horse that are put on earth, but you know, just a beautiful, willing horse. He didn't care if he made a mistake where you hit the wrong button. Like just very honest. Um, so yeah, I kept doing a bit of showing with him and did my rider classes and, you know, we achieved some amazing things in the show world and it was getting to that point where, you know, I needed to aim a little bit higher in my dressage with him and the focus, you know, one sport or the other. I'm not too into doing things by halves. Um, and I was also studying and working and I think, yeah, I'd kind of achieved what I wanted to achieve. Um, and I was ready to kind of, um, take my safety blanket away, I guess. And yeah, just go to the dressage to this whole thing.

Natasha (09:55):

yep, commit to the thing where that you can't get a hundred percent.

Edwina (09:58):

Yeah. I think it's hard, you know, when you're doing really well, it, um, to, you know, let go of that and, you know, head off into a world where you sort of still a nobody and you're still learning and still go a bit really.

Natasha (10:19):

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So, and I love that you bring up that you're a perfectionist, um, because I know that's one of the biggest character flaws that stops me in my dressage journey cause I am so, uh, she'll be right near is enough. Good enough. We're good to go. Let's rock off. And I need to really bring something that's not innate in me to be like, Oh, it actually has to be really precise and it actually has to be really good. So, um, yeah. How do you balance that? Because it's, it's obviously it's a long journey in, in dressage and I'm, I'm, I'm on your side. I hope you do get your a hundred percent, one day. Um, but clearly that's not happening tomorrow. So how do you find joy or the, what, what is riding for you and, and, and is it joyful? Is it, is it fun? What, like what, what gives you the pleasure in riding?

Edwina (11:16):

Yeah, I was literally having this conversation with someone yesterday saying how, you know, there are people out there who I'm kind of almost envious that they can, you know, let things go a bit and wing it and, you know, see how it goes. Whereas for me, um, you know, I probably a little bit too hesitant to go out too soon. You know, my, um, my oldest of my horses, he's technically a seven year old now and, um, he's competed up to novice level, but he's, you know, training all the elementary, medium sort of work and I'm sure he could go out and do an elementary tests, you know, no sweat, but I'm like, but there's one part that I'm like, Oh, I don't know if he's going to do that bit well, and it's like one movement, but it's enough that I'm like, do we go out yet? But, um, yeah, I think, you know, when I had eco um, and he was sort of an older horse and I didn't really feel like we had anything to prove, you know, I've kind of happy to wing it and, you know, just see how it goes. And, you know, for me, with him, it was all about the learning, like, you know, just getting a taste for it, getting my foot in the door, getting a feel for it all. So yeah, I think I do struggle to balance out the, you know, wanting to, um, you know, do very, very well all the time. But the thing that he taught me is that, you know, each horse, um, you know, each horse has their own 10. I know that sounds really dumb.

Natasha (12:43):

That's cool.

Edwina (12:45):

A judge might look at it and say it's a seven, but you know, the feeling that knowing that your horse absolutely did the absolute best that they could do. Um, that's kind of what I fall back to, you know, if I look at my test and I think, Oh, you know, I'm disappointed with that mark, but you know, if I know in myself that my horse really did their best job of it, um, then I'm okay with it. You know, I'm not going to go and like cry because you know, my horse got a six that I thought was a seven or an eight, but yeah, I think I am a bit more focused on the, what I see is the improvements, which is what I like about the dressage after the showing is you can actually kind of compare your performances personally. Um, yeah. Yeah. That's, I think that's probably what rains in my chasing a hundred percent.

Natasha (13:36):

Yeah. The joy for you seeking the perfect from that horse and just getting the progress he can do. That's what drives you at night to get on and yeah.

Edwina (13:48):

I mean, I'm, you know, I liked competing, but I love training. Like I'm wow. You know, I don't actually compete that much. Um, I don't need, I like, I do like to compete occasionally, but it's not what sort of drives and motivates me. I mean, I am a born animal lover and, you know, horned animals, like nobody's business always have been. I think it comes from my mom, you know, we just animal mad love and see, I'm just very passionate about the horses themselves and their welfare and them enjoying their work. And yeah. I mean the school wasn't honest, but yeah, I'm just kind of motivated by the training, I guess.

Natasha (14:27):

Yeah. I love it. I love it. So what's your current schedule? How many horses are you riding right now?

Edwina (14:34):

Um, so I ride about five a day. Um, so mostly young ones I do. So I've got four here in work. One that's getting Broken in soon. And then I ride, um, two horses off site. Um, one of them is the show horse. So I still do have not put in that Door, but he's, um, he's educated as well. You know, he can do it a couple of like, he can do some interesting Tempe changes in theory, like a bit of a half path and that sort of thing. And then I also have a teeny tiny 12 hand Palomino pony I've just started riding and I really wish he was like, uh, you know, up to height pony or so, so smart, um, lots of fun to ride. I'm not very tall, so, you know, but I feel ridiculous on him cause all my horse is huge, so yeah, that's sort of my schedule and um, they're all quite young. So they do sort of the youngest of them do sort of a lung day and then they have sort of three written days, um, you know, fairly light workload, um, Sergio who's my now seven year old. He does four days and a hacking day.

Natasha (15:51):


Edwina (15:52):

Um, yeah, that's sort of life at the moment with the horses.

Natasha (15:56):

Yeah. Yes. And I think you mentioned earlier in, in you were studying, do you work, do you study or is it just horses full time?

Edwina (16:05):

I do work, unfortunately. Yeah. My, my probably ratio of horses. I orange, the horses I train for other people's a little bit out of whack at the moment. So I work as well. Um, so yeah, I work in hospitality and in retail I finished studying. I'm not even sure how long ago that was now. Probably 18 months ago. I do take a break when I went overseas. Um, but yeah, I did, um, management and marketing, so I did a commerce degree. Um, something I think, I don't know, possibly I'll look at in the future, I'm just sort of yeah. Um, business or horses, so which way am I going?

Natasha (16:46):

It's the decisions.

Edwina (16:48):

Yeah, I just, I didn't intend to end up with so many horses here, but I got, um, you know, offered an opportunity to take on these two young mares last year and all that. I could not knock that back. They would just, they're beautiful horses. So yeah. Horses are kind of dominating at the moment.

Natasha (17:06):

Yeah. And your own fitness. Do you do anything, um, for your fitness as well or just riding the horses is definitely enough.

Edwina (17:14):

Um, yeah, no, I go to the gym, um, usually five days a week. Um, sometimes less. I do a lot of strength based training. Um, I try to go for runs too, but um, yeah, I find the gym easy to fit in. I don't my horses, aren't stable cause we don't have stables at the moment and um, you know, cause it's winter and darker in the morning. I tend to cut myself off to the gym at five 30 in the morning when it's still dark. Um, and try and get my workout in then before it's, you know, time to feed and start riding. Cause I don't have any only one else he helping me. So it does take me a long time to get through it all. Like just tacking it on tacking out and washing.

Natasha (17:58):

You sound very busy.

Edwina (18:01):

Yeah. Yeah. I'm not a sit still type of person. I'm usually anyway, I try to annoying really?

Natasha (18:09):

Yeah. Fabulous. Okay. So, um, when you were doing your master classes with Charlotte, Dorothy, what was, um, the, the biggest thing that you went? Ah, this makes sense. Why we score the score we do, The school was way score and they score the scores they score. Was there anything that you just went even more particular or was there a particular training theme?

Edwina (18:31):

Yeah, I, I think it's that, um, I think Charlotte and carl both put it into words before and their master classes it's that, you know, not trying to settle for a 6 or a 7, like taking risk and just aiming higher. Um, like I probably am very risk averse. Um, you know, you know, there's probably times a year in a test. Do you think I should just give them a big kick or, you know, make a big correction, but you kind of go, Oh, I don't want to do it like going to, you know, embarrassing myself or I don't know, you know,

Natasha (19:04):

It's you're showing, It cant look bad for one second.

Edwina (19:07):

Yes, yes. Yeah. Um, yeah, like you kind of avoiding throwing away a test, you know, for future benefit. But, um, I think it is just that, you know, that strictness doing the very, very basic things well like working every day on, you know, the simple stuff, like it's not running through lots of movements, it is making sure that the feeling is good. The reaction to the AIDS is really good. Um, you know, about making it look effortless. Um, and I know when I did the Dorothea masterclass, it was a bit of sort of, um, almost negative feedback from the audience about, you know, the fact that every rider had warmed up the same way and they had done a lot of the same work and a lot of same exercise. And I think it's a bit like people are with, um, their own fitness and diet culture where they're looking for the, you know, secret arts or that's going to change everything. And, you know, she put it out there for everyone that, you know, your four year olds and the grand prix horses, they all need to be nailing the same, very, very basic stuff. Um, so I think, yeah, that for me is it's just that, you know, that seeking excellence in just the most boring stuff and everyone wants, you know, new exercises are great. Um, you know, that you can add them into your team, but you shouldn't be looking to, you know, change your whole philosophy and your whole training method. And yeah, I think that for me is probably the biggest takeaway, um, from the two people it's just that, you know, aiming for more better, you know, refining everything.

Natasha (20:52):

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Okay. Um, and when you think about your riding career, is there something we'll go with it best first? So if you could only live one day, in your riding career over and over and over again into your future. What is your favorite moment? And it might be a win or it might be a training or it might be what's your favorite bit.

Edwina (21:18):

Yeah. Um, when I did the dressage festival in, or what year was it? 2015. So we had gone down for the show horse nationals, um, and, um, the rider classes and my coach and I were winner and runner up that week. And then I had stayed on to do the, um, dressage festival. And so we spent two weeks in a caravan at Werribee. Um, and yeah, when everyone had left, like the show horse people there, and we had a few days in between where I was just off and it was pretty like, Oh my goodness, like, what are we doing here? Um, and yeah, it was the first year I did the dressage festival and I did the arc and challenge with echo and some how, like, you know, beyond my expectations, we won the first round and got to do the final and I, you know, completely lost my head in the final. Um, I think I made a course there on the third, which is really impressive when you ride this test three times in a row in the space of like.

Natasha (22:24):

yeah that is impressive.

Edwina (22:24):

It was pretty good. Um, but echo got the award for the best horse. So he was the horse that, um, you know, everyone had gotten the highest percentage on and there was just something that made me, saw her like warm and fuzzy and emotional and see my beautiful horse. You know, he was not particularly brave in that indoor, but he carried everyone around so beautifully and it was just, it was really special. And I kind of loved that, you know, he wasn't the, you know, stellar 70% type of horse, but he was consistent and he, you know, he got, you know, a rug and a big ribbon, I dunno, there was just something about it. I just absolutely love that even though he got recognition like that. Um, so I think, yeah, that was pretty special. Um, I mean, yeah, the show horse Braddock class wins. I were pretty cool too. But then apart from that, I did the nationals last year, um, for the first time, cause I always missed it. It always, um, overlapped with when I had my end of year assessments and exams for uni. So I'd never managed to get there. Um, and yeah, Sachio ended up fourth overall and the novice championship in really big classes. And you know, I think the top three were all imported with professionals on board and I've, you know, been his soul rider since he was not long broken in. So yeah, there was something like novice level. Not that, yeah, it was, I was so stoked to very extreme scenarios, but yeah, for one,

Natasha (24:05):

but I want to know that I've got the right horse in my head. Is he black?

Edwina (24:09):

Yeah. Black was full socks and ablaze.

Natasha (24:12):

I think I love your horse. Yes. I think I've said, yeah, I want him and I don't care if he's not important or whatever. Like he, to me is the dream he's black and socks.

Edwina (24:25):

Beautiful and he had this big thick wavey tail, like just, yeah, very beautiful boy.

Natasha (24:33):

That is so cool whoever's editing this podcast. Can we please put a photo of him? Cause I want everyone to drool Over him. I'll put that on. Fabulous. All right. So we've got these highs and we've got that the horse recognition and we've got, like you said, you've trained this horse, your whole life. That was really great. What's your lowest moment, your worst moment. Your I'm giving up this won't work my moment. If you have one,

Edwina (25:08):

I think, well with the horse, probably like really on and off, not broke me, but just broke my heart. Like, you know, I've put a lot of time and love into him and he just, he just couldn't perform like you'd take him out and he would just lose it. And you know, I try and try it and I'm not, I give up type of person, but, and it was really hard for me having to say like, this is not working. Like I, you know, I can't, you know, work with this horse. Um, and we might coach then trained him for a little bit and we got to a point with him that we were happy, but you know, we would never have sold him. Like I just wasn't happy that he would end up, um, you know, not hurting someone or not, you know, ending up in a sale yard or anything awful like that. So I am actually looking at him right now. He is retired. He's been retired for, I think I only worked with him for probably less than a year and he's been out in their retirements paddock for like six. So that was really hard. But I think, you know, the silver lining was that we found echo, um, and it did kind of push me into the dressage a bit more. Um, and then the other big laughter that was, I spent, um, five months overseas working. So, um, we bought Sachio at the end of 2016. And then I went overseas, um, sort of March, 2017. And so we just turned him out during that time he was three year old. Um, so he just spelled out in the paddock and then brought him back into work and we'd lunged him, I think three times. And then he quartered his heel playing with a, not a horse. So the fence. And so he went on box rest for that. Um, cause he had to have a hoof cost on because he was in such an awkward spot. So he was locked up for, I can't remember how long that was, maybe three weeks, four weeks, something like that. Um, and then he went back out in the paddock and he did a tendon injury. Um, and we were like, he's a big horse. So were like, what are we going to do with this, you know, huge horse tendon injury. I'm like, he's not the kind of horse you could ever have retired at that age gets into everything. He destroys water troughs. Like he gets into everything and just that, you know, is he gonna come? How are we gonna do this? You know, what's his future going to be like, and I was just autonomic just absolutely numb by that whole process. Cause it had echo who was sort of heading towards retirement and then my, you know, my next album coming and I was like, what, what am I going to do? I can't buy another one. Um, so that was a really, really stressful time and yeah, did all the rehab and um, you know, got him back up to where he needed to be to then, you know, have those first rides and cause he wasn't allowed to be lunged. Um, this horse is still very green and you know, he's a big boy. He's, he'd be 17, two hands plus I'd be called friends.

Natasha (28:32):

And what are you?

Edwina (28:32):

Five foot five. I'm not very tall. Um, so one of my friends came out and um, we did leading rein. She led me around on a lot. Um, and then I got one of my coaches to come and get on in for the first trot. You know, he had some spunk in him and I was like, yeah, he's going to be naughty I knew was, but yeah, it's just kind of touch wood. Haven't looked back since then. Um, but yeah, that was, that was hard.

Natasha (29:00):

Yeah, absolutely. And thanks so much for sharing. I think, you know, we see so many people around the showroom show ring or dressage ring and we, I know I've seen you in the distance on that beautiful black horse, I've just gone and we see the good and we don't ever say the stress and the, or what happened to get you to that point and what tier, what things. So everybody does go through it. There is not just you buy 10 horses and old Tanner great. And old 10 workout, Sams and old 10 live. Um, so it's important that we realize like it is, it's just an office condo come, come out.

Edwina (29:38):

Yeah. Like some weeks I come out and every horse has managed to do something stupid and it's like, we are, those are the weeks. You're like, what am I doing? Like, can anyone just behave this way? He goes, stay in one pace this week, but you know, then I have those, um, you know, those unicorn days where everyone's, you know, just really on the top game and this is not yeah.

Natasha (30:03):

Right, right, right. This is normal. This is good.

Edwina (30:07):

Yeah. Yeah.

Natasha (30:10):

Okay. And going to Europe, did you go to Europe to see the world or were you riding or?

Edwina (30:16):

Uh, it was may, I'm a very, you know, I like plans, um, and structure and just on a whim, um, Gareth and Rebecca Hughes posted on their Facebook page saying that they had an opening coming up for, um, a grooming position. And I thought, well, why not? You know, Sacha was so young. I was like, all, we can just talk him out for a few months while I go and do this. And it was amazing. Like, you know, I know people have this sort of horror stories about working overseas. Um, but the girls that I got to work with were just absolutely gorgeous. I'm still in touch with them. We still speak, you know, most days, um, a lot of them have actually come out and stayed with me. Um, so yeah, I just had a really, really beautiful time over there and I was lucky to travel with, um, Rebecca and Garth to some competitions and to carl for lessons. Um, so I got to watch them, you know, training with carl is amazing. Um, and just, yeah, kind of good to have a look at how things are over there. Um, and you know, I was lucky to have a few lessons of Garrison sit on his lap, you know, ride some of his horses. And it was just all that same principles that we were talking about with Charlotte and Dorothea that it's just that, you know, aiming for aiming for more like not settling for, you know, this feels good enough, like not in a negative, you know, drill it into them sort of way, but just, you know, hold yourself to a higher standard. Um, and yeah, just that yeah. Refining things.

Natasha (31:54):

Absolutely wonderful. So what future goals? You're a big planner you said? So how are we planning?

Edwina (32:06):

Uh, well, I mean, sat chair, I don't think I'll ever part with him. Um, he he's, I don't even know how you'd describe him as a ho4w3 with he's so unique. Um, he's a handful, but he has, when he, you know, he's on, he has the most amazing work ethic and he's as brave as anything. Um, so, you know, I'd love to get him up to FEI level. Um, you know, I've only had the one dressage horse beforehand and he was educated. Um, so yeah, I'd love to able to do that myself, um, you know, train him right through, um, then with all the young ones. Well, I dunno the world sort of a bit off in the air at the moment. You know, I did that. I don't like to compete that much. And my plan was for Satya to have, you know, at least this year off just to get a bit stronger. Um, but that's sort of happening anyway, but I've got all these, all these young ones that need to go out being there for their first outings and they're sort of piling up with no way to go. So yeah, I think, you know, I've got a three, four year old here and I've got a five year old who still hasn't been able to compete. So we're thinking about some young horse classes. Um, but you had just kind of have to say what happens what's happening. Really. Yeah. I mean, I think, I don't know. I'd like to do my coaching certificate. Um, yeah, maybe start thinking a little bit more about horses as a career. Um, we say that decision's kind of always, you know, back and forth, back and forth. Um, yeah, I don't know. I just kind of just want to keep improving. It's a very, you know, nonspecific goal, but, um, yeah, it's kind of a, not one to, you know, rest on my laurels then thing. Like I always think I know nothing, so I want to know more.

Natasha (34:05):

know more. Absolutely. Absolutely. You've got some really great sponsors who helps you with your riding and yeah. And with your horses.

Edwina (34:15):

Yeah. So I'm really lucky to work with some amazing, um, people in businesses. Um, so I work with boutique equines, um, the cat Dunstan, um, impulsion elite equine where it's alarmed the Pesa bridge, um, RSA work with Harry pony, um, Jeff Atkins photographics and uh, performance saddle fit. I had to think back a minute. Um, but yeah, I'm really, really lucky that I had just the most supportive, amazing people to work with and we have a lot of fun and yeah, it just feels like friends,

Natasha (34:56):

So Boutique Equines what do they do?

Edwina (34:57):

Yep. So they do, um, for horses there's jackets actually from, so yeah, for horses, clothing auto shoe marker, um, bridals, SD design. So most of my horses were SD design, um, bridles. They're just like a really, really well priced, um, beautiful quality bridle. Um, she also does, um, hair. So if you're ever at a comp where cast that, her stance, she does the Polish, the pan, um, yeah, just really, really beautiful, beautiful stuff.

Natasha (35:33):

Love it. And, um, impulsion Elite Equine Wear?

Edwina (35:39):

yep. So Impulsion. So she's got a question stock home, PF of Sweden, um, Mattis. I am a, yeah, not so secret matters, settle pad holder.

Natasha (35:51):

How many, how many do you have?

Edwina (35:54):

Uh, um, Oh, I would say like 15, 10 and 12 maybe.

Natasha (36:03):

Yep, That's that's an addiction.

Edwina (36:05):

It's less embarrassing now. Cause I do have alot of horses everywhere, but when it was just like one, it was bad, but I was like, I can kind of justify it a little bit more now, but yeah, I think that that's sort of the hacky dying HOD that, um, yeah, that matchy-matchy, but I think the dressage is getting more like that now. Yeah. I don't feel like I'm sticking out like a sore thumb.

Natasha (36:29):

Beautiful. So that was impulse. Cool. Um, um, performance saddle fits. Is that fitting the saddle?

Edwina (36:38):

Yeah. So, um, I've been working with Paula for, Oh, must be close to 10 years now. Um, so she started yeah. Fitting my horses, my show horses, um, and the saddles I use now, my dressage horses, the air plus settles. Um, they are just really, really beautiful saddles. Um, yeah. Yeah. It's a brand. Yeah. Um, so. I think the people that founded AirPlus, um, were originally with pressstage, um, so sort of a similar design. Um, but yeah, I'm lucky I have two of the saddles and um, yeah, paula is really like so incredibly knowledgeable. Um, and yeah, I'm really lucky to work with her too.

Natasha (37:25):

That's great. And Harry pony, is that shampoo? What does Harry pony do?

Edwina (37:31):

Yeah. So Harry pony do, um, all sorts of grooming products. So shampoos, um, tales, sprays, coat sprays, they're planning. Wax is probably what they're best none for.

Natasha (37:43):

Everybody take now, Edwina is very good in the showing. If she says, this is what I, and what she uses, I think we all need to take it out.

Edwina (37:51):

Yeah. So it's one thing definitely carried over is I cannot do the six quiet. I can't do golf or let's just, I love Nate Platt.

Natasha (38:00):

you and I, when you, when we're in the same place, I'm going to come and find you because you will just want to smack me over the head. I only any of it and all my horses, I feel so bad for them. I'm like, I'm sorry. I feel like I'm the guy that plates the daughter's hair to go to school. And they're all like no.

Edwina (38:21):

Platting for me, I don't know my mum. That was always a mum thing that she loved the platting And so when I started going into comps, I'm more on my own. I had to sort of get used to it, but I find it really, really therapeutic now, especially, you know, if I'm at a stay over comp platting before I'm competing or before the master class or anything like that, I find it really makes me feel like I'm in control of it. So. Yeah. I really love platting. So yeah, the plotting wax is amazing. Here has the most disgusting nine. It is like, I want it to sit like one of those beautiful European manez get straightened, beautifully caught and sits on the one side that is not, no, it is never going to do that, but they have a product called hair repair, which is kind of like horsey Olaplex I guess you would say. And it is the only thing that has made his main look civilized and like frizzy dry off or that it actually is so. Yeah. I probably should use it in my own. It's it's a really good product.

Natasha (39:25):

I love it. I love it. Cool. And Jessica does do the most amazing photos.

Edwina (39:32):

Yeah, she does. Yeah. So Jess actually photograph Me first time when we did the Charlotte master class, um, and a friend of mine bought me, um, two of the photos taken of F on that master class as a gift. And that's how I kind of came across Jess and she travels up here a bit to do, um, photo shoots. Um, not so much now, like the board is close, but, um, yeah, we just became really good friends and I just love working with Jess and Josh and just makes it a really fun time. Cause like I said, me and being in front of the camera, like not my ideal environment, that just makes it really fun. So yeah.

Natasha (40:15):

Brilliant. Anything else you would like to share? Any advice for young riders that think that they would like to have some of the results that you've had? What would you like to part with?

Edwina (40:28):

Um, I think, you know, it's really important to find people you trust and stick with a system. Um, you know, like I said, I did not do well for a very, very, very long time. Like at the start of my, you know, showing and riding career, it just didn't happen for me, but I do sort of trust in the process and the time it takes and um, you know, I've been lucky to be with my coaches for yeah, probably over, I think it was our 10 year anniversary last year. So I've been with them for a long time and yeah, so I trained with, um, Robbie and Dave McKinnon and Allie SaaStr. So they are really like family now to the point where you can be like family just work really well together. And I think, you know, nothing is scary that sames, when you've got, you know, a good support network around, you know, people you can sound board off and you know, if I'm having this issue, can you help me with the thought, you know, I'm lucky we have a really, really community here. And, um, you know, a lot of their other clients are really good friends of mine, you know, everyone's kind of happy to help you out. Like you don't feel so overwhelmed.

Natasha (41:44):

cause it is, it's a lonely sport. We're not a team sport. It's just you and your horse.

Edwina (41:50):

um, you know, I am here by myself most days and it is kind of, you do get a bit bogged down sometimes, but I'm lucky to have no friends, even down in Victoria that I talk to a lot and just normalizing that it's, you know, frustrating and it's hard, but it's all of us, um, you know, experiencing that and like, you know, it will be fine tomorrow or the next day or next week, like, you know, they're not going to be, you know, going through, you know, rough patches in their training for forever. Um, but yeah, I think, yeah, just having a good support network, I think that is hugely helpful to progressing. Yeah. And just so you know, it's sort of stopped, you're questioning yourself too much and you know, feeling like he completely going off on the wrong track and yeah, yeah,

Natasha (42:41):

yeah. I completely agree. Thank you so much for this conversation. I've really enjoyed it.

Edwina (42:47):

I've had fun.

Natasha (42:49):

So. Um, if people want to find out more about you, they can follow you on social media.

Edwina (42:55):

Yeah. So I'm on Instagram. Um, just Edwina pots. Um, Edwina Hutton-Pots was just seemed a little bit too long. So just did Edwina Potts, but don't have a Facebook page. Um, yeah, I guess that may come down the track. If I do think horses are yelling to me more than they are here, but um, yeah, just on Instagram.

Natasha (43:17):

Great. We will put that in the show notes. Thank you so much for your time and good luck with your future stuff going on. And let's hope I can see you in a competition one day.

Edwina (43:26):

Yeah, yeah, no. Yeah. Hoping that we'll be not too far away. I don't um, yeah. Head South too often, but I really would like to, and now it's not an option. Yeah. Hopefully we can catch up soon. Thank you for having me on. It's been fun.

Podcast Episode 23: Nicole Tough - Trusting the Process

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! In this podcast, we speak with Nicole Tough. Nicole is one of Queensland's leading coaches, judges, and highly successful trainer/competitor. She has trained many horses to FEI, won many awards and has trained with some of the world's best international coaches.

To keep up with her journey, you can follow Nicole on Instagram @nicole_tough_dressage. 

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):

Wow. You've done a lot Nicole.

Nicole (00:23):

Yes. That makes me feel very old.

Natasha (00:27):

All in one year. Let's say that one year and she's still 21 and gorgeous. Oh dear. It is a little bit like that. So how did you get started in horses? Did you start as, um, as a two year old with a Shetland or did you start later in life, how did it all start?

Nicole (00:49):

Okay, well, let's see. My, I started riding when I was 13. I had very supportive parents. I was a member of the module of our pony club and did all my DC and case tickets. And then I guess, between tiny club and the entire school I competed nearly every weekend at gymkhanas combined training, eventing, dressage or shows my poor dad.

Natasha (01:18):

I, um, was he responsible for the white socks? Like D was he following you everywhere with the towel and the shiny stuff?

Nicole (01:26):

No, he didn't do anything other than drive, but that was great. I didn't complain. I did know by 18 that dressage was my, my addiction. So yeah. So with the sale of my two beloved Anglo Arabs, I bought an unbroken warmblood filly called land Lily. Um, and then whilst trying to tackle that monumental challenge, I finished two university degrees, got married and had a beautiful little boy.

Natasha (02:01):

We have to unpack that. So firstly, I love when you decide to become a dress out rider, of course you buy an unbroken three year old or two, whatever you said I'm broken warmblood cause that's of course, you decide.

Nicole (02:13):

Well, it's the only thing you can afford when you're 18. And you've only got the money that you had from your two Anglo Arabs.

Natasha (02:22):

Exactly, exactly. And two university degrees. What were they in?

Nicole (02:27):

I did a bachelor of arts with honors and I did a graduate diploma of education.

Natasha (02:35):

Right. So if dressage was that, uh, you deciding that or your parents were like, if dressage doesn't work out, you're going to have your teaching to fall back on. Was that the plan?

Nicole (02:45):

No, I was going to be a high school teacher of history and English. And then as I was studying, I just picked up a few more lessons and a few more lessons and by the end of my university, um, I thought, I think I can actually make a living out of this and be my own boss.

Natasha (03:03):

Yeah. Yes, yes. Yep. All right. So, um, you were, you were set, you obviously had, you decided you were going to the Olympics at 18 as well. Like was it.

Nicole (03:16):

No, I don't. I don't think that was, um, that was a realistic goal at that point. Um, from, from that point, I, it was just one on broken warmblood after the other. Um, I have had the very amazing support from my hubby. Um, and each time I sold one, so I, I broke it in trained it campaign that I learned from each and every one of them. And, um, I would sell them when I got them to Grand Prix or close. And then my next unbroken adventure was just something with a little bit more natural talent. So the goal was always to try to keep trying to get, you know, a better horse underneath me with the money we had. Um, so, um, yeah, I worked hard and I loved doing it. Um, and I've had some beautiful horses that I'll remember all my life. And maybe from that dedication, I have enjoyed some really tremendous support from a few owners who have each given me some really wonderful opportunities to train and campaign some truly beautiful horses that my husband and I would not have been able to, you know, purchase. Um, I've loved every single minute of that. Um, the people, you know, memories to last a lifetime and, and some of those really special horses were Dante, Flavio, first time. And brasato

Natasha (04:46):


Nicole (04:48):

So is that that's, that's the journey.

Natasha (04:52):

Yeah. That's, that is the journey. Absolutely. And, um, I believe your journey took you to Germany at one point.

Nicole (05:00):

Yes. Uh, 2008 was my first trip overseas with, um, a lovely family, Linda Dowsett and what we found when we went to find one horse, but, um, Belinda fell in love with three, so they bought three back. Um, but yeah, that was my first trip over and I just started learning a bit, bit more German each time.

Natasha (05:23):

Yep. Yep. Oh, that's good. So what are your current competition horses?

Nicole (05:29):

Um, my current competition horse is our, our own Ferragamo who my hubby and I bought as a four year old in Germany. He was the first horse that we have imported and it was very scary. He is by first and ball out of the Sedona homemade he's now eighties competing small too. He's a very quirky character. Um, and he certainly presented his challenges, but they do say overcoming challenges, what life is all about. So I've learnt a lot from him as every horse, as I've said, he's currently on the settle feeder Queensland state, yourself squad, and he was president George state champion last year and his third president George.

Natasha (06:14):


Nicole (06:16):

Thank you. My other competition horses include Flores and Fabish, they are both owned by Paul and Emma wheel and we found them in Germany as well. Lauren's is by a foundation out of a Saint Moritz mare he's elementary, medium level. And he's currently on the river main estate Queensland state talent squad. Faberge's by feedback out of a rodeo rodeo Martinez. His story is a very long one and it can be found on my Facebook page and website. They are both truly amazing athletes that I just hope to do the best by. Um, I have one more, um, I blessed to, to train Leopold is a five year old by is a gentle giant at 17 two.

Natasha (07:04):

And how tall are you?

Nicole (07:09):

And I'm five foot two, and a bit that bit counts.

Natasha (07:19):

I'll give you the bit, just round it up five, three.

Nicole (07:26):

So they are my current team.

Natasha (07:28):

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And so let's dive into a little bit, you said there was one, um, there, you and your husband purchased that it's been a long road. Um, you've got into small tour now, but it's there, it's a windy road and there's quirks and there's things. How do you go when, um, I'm sure there's there's if, if horse people are listening to it, we understand that riding and training a horse is not a straight line. It's not, um, uh, I always love did you watch that movie with the foal in it? Um, international Velvet.

Nicole (08:02):

I am a total movie buff. I've seen nearly everything and I guess I have seen that one.

Natasha (08:08):

Don't you love it. It's like you, you fall in love with the foal. You break in the foal, you go to the Olympics and you win and that's just how it happened. Um, and so I think it's really important that people understand that that's not how it goes. So how do you, um, get, get past all the little stumbles and all the little roadblocks that come in the way when you're riding and training horses, whether it's horses being ill or horses, um, having a stumbling in their training or, um, that stuff going on, you know, all that kind of stuff. What do you use to get through all of that?

Nicole (08:43):

Well, there's lots of different tools for each little hurdle that, um, that presents itself, but the true motto is just never give up.

Natasha (08:53):

I love it.

Nicole (08:55):

If that means getting some help, if that means, sending them back to, uh, you know, sending them out to a cowboy to go and chase cows for a little while for Ferragamo, his, um, his quirkiness has been all about traveling. He's a terrible traveler.

Natasha (09:11):


Nicole (09:12):

And he's very attached. So I don't know if any of the listeners saw what I had to do when I took him down to the nationals, but I had to sleep outside his stables because they're quarantined stables in Siack and he cannot handle being on his own. So, um, you know, so the things you have to do, but you just, um, you either decide to, you know, to stick to it. And nearly every challenge is surmountable. Occasionally you do come across, uh, a horse that just doesn't want to be a dressage horse. So you do have to listen sometimes and say, look, this is torture to this horse. And, you know, and sometimes even the most beautifully conformed horses that are just built to do the job, don't have the heart for it. They have to want to, they have to work hard to be a dressage athlete. And some of them don't always say, pick me, pick me. I don't want to be a dressage horse. Um, so I think if you're listening to them and they do have to be a happier athlete, they do have to be happy about working and to be the fairest, to be the fairest trainer, you have to keep your ears open cause they don't speak English. So.

Natasha (10:33):

When I look back in my horses, I can say, there's two that I know of, that I did. Yeah, exactly. Came to that understanding. And to me, they were the two most talented horses I've ever had and ever sat on. And those two were the ones that were like, I am not a dressage horse. And it's very interesting.

Nicole (10:54):

And it's heart breaking.

Natasha (10:54):

Yeah. And then I've got these untalented, this horse that is not a dressage horse. That's like, I really want to be one, can I be one I've tried really hard? And you're like, if I can have that temperament with the one that is built for it, um, at like can do it.

Nicole (11:12):

yes. If we could just, um, pick a little bit from that horse and pick a little bit from that horse, we'd have the perfect, we have Allegro that story.

Natasha (11:21):

Absolutely. And so I think, um, I was even going through it and I think not many people talk about their horses and I was going through all the horses that I've had in my life and going, Ooh, I'm at about 50%, 50%. I'd love to know your number of the horse. Either. I've had some horses die, I've had some horses be injured permanently or in a way that means they can't continue their career. I've had one that just weren't going to continue their career. Cause I didn't want to. Um, and then I've had some ones that really worked out and we ended up achieving the goals that we set. Um, do you have that kind of experience? Well, hopefully not. Hopefully your percentage is way better than mine.

Nicole (11:59):

Um, definitely. You know, one of the unbroken ones that I, um, I got when I started working with him, despite his breeding and despite his confirmation, I had to sack him as dressage horse. Um, there was another one, another one going kind of Manhattan that I had very early on. He was my third, um, unbroken one that I took on. He was exceptionally talented and looking back on, on my life with horses, I certainly didn't do him justice. I didn't have the skill for him at that time. I'd love to have him now. I would do a much better job with him, but he still had a lovely, beautiful life and um, and you know, I achieved a lot on him, but he was, um, uh, bit, I had bitten off more than I could chew with him.

Natasha (12:53):

That's absolutely the way the horse journey, isn't it. They're not just ad in the paper and go, I want to get to Grand Prix who would like to be my volleyball partner and who has that same goal.

Nicole (13:07):

Yes, exactly. Yeah. I would make a really good dressage horse.

Natasha (13:13):

Right. Would you say I would be, uh, uh, I would just be really lazy and buck everyone off to that. You said you were going to be, you would be an amazing dress out horse. So do you have a great work ethic? Do you go to the gym? Do you have a fitness routine that you've committed to?

Nicole (13:31):

Yes. I'm currently waiting for a knee surgery, so I've been a little bit limited in the last year with what I can do, but yes I do. I, um, supplement my riding with usually just to run running five times a week. Um, and I do a bit of yoga. Cause as a dressage rider, I've had my share of falls and my back is let's just say my back is going to stop me riding before anything else.

Natasha (14:01):

But you find the yoga does help with that.

Nicole (14:05):

Yes, yes it does.

Natasha (14:06):

Yeah. That's great.

Nicole (14:08):

And pain medication and muscle therapist.

Natasha (14:14):

Yeah. Yeah. I definitely not a Alegra if I'm in the gym, I need to have a personal trainer and he's like, squat Deeper, Squat longer. And I'm like, Oh go away, I just want to kick him.

Nicole (14:31):

I'm the opposite.

Natasha (14:33):

No, that's awesome. That's awesome. So what else do you do? So what is the typical day in the life, um, of you you've got, uh, was it four or five horses that are in your current team? There's four. So our little barn here, it's not a huge or incredibly fancy, but it has a lovely, friendly vibe to it with everyone at each other's backs and genuinely wanting each other to get better every week, day, as long as I can remember, starts at 4:30 AM. And with the groom, we feed 10 to 12 horses, turn out eight horses might foxes our ride, four to five horses start teaching at 10 30, have a little break at three o'clock where the horses are brought back in. Um, then I have one more lesson to teach and then I feed up, tidy up drag the arena, make the am feeds. And my day is done. Saturdays. I teach from seven 30 to three and it's only been this year with the coronavirus that I've started taking Sundays off. And that's been pretty cool, but I really love coaching. I love being part of the riders journey. I feel their pain and frustrations. I love their light bulb moments and the joy. And I know that their life with horses is better than without.

Natasha (15:53):

yeah, that is crazy. I love it. And how often do you do so are you riding horses four days a week, six days a week?

Nicole (16:05):

Five days a week, Monday to Friday, they get the weekends off.

Natasha (16:07):

Right. Yes, yes, yes. Usually a one heck out they get one heck out a week unless they haven't deserved it. I have to do five days in the gym. So I'm assuming Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday is in the arena as, and when you say you're back in the arena, if you need it, otherwise you do get to go out.

Nicole (16:29):

Yes. Yeah. I literally think of the training sessions as their gym sessions and I'm their personal trainer. Um, and it generally works. You know, if they've worked well, they'll get a day out, um, in the Bush and if not, then they have to go back to the gym and readdress some, some issues.

Natasha (16:50):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that is like, I do think our sport definitely is the gym, but then sometimes it's the psychologist as well. Isn't it? And we can get into that around the coaching, but even with the horse it's like, okay. Yeah, he, is he saying no cause of his body? Is he saying no because of his head what's what's really going on there.

Nicole (17:10):

Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.

Natasha (17:12):

It's tricky. Yep. And then you'd probably find that in your coaching as well. Like if the person isn't executing what you're asking sometimes that's because they can't physically do it or because they haven't mentally understood that. Um, and do you enjoy it? Just getting to, it sounds like you're an amazing coach and you enjoyed just getting to the bottom of how can I say it in a way or explain it in a way that can help this person get, like you said, that light bulb moment.

Nicole (17:38):

Absolutely. If, if you give someone, um, an explanation and a reason for doing something and they don't do it, it's not because they didn't want to do it it's because they either, they didn't understand or they're not quite, they don't have the techniques yet to achieve it. So repeating what you said is not the answer. You have to find another way to say it or sometimes show them, you know, get on the horse and, and, and show them, um, what you're after. Um, so a bit of a mix, but yeah, you repeating something, you know, five, six times, is it clearly something you know, is broken down?

Natasha (18:20):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, um, what would you say are your biggest, um, mentors? Do you have a coach at the moment? Who do you look up to?

Nicole (18:31):

Yeah, I'm a huge believer in the coach. No one gets better in their comfort zones and training on their own. If you want to be good at anything, you need experienced eyes on the ground, giving you honest feedback and not just what you want to hear. So I've been blessed to always have weekly lessons from that age of 13, when my parents allowed me to start this journey and, um, I still have two lessons every week and I supplement those whenever. And whenever I can with clinics from visiting master coaches at the moment, I'm blessed to train, um, with Tracy Baldwin. Uh, I have two lessons a week with her and have done for the last 12 years and monthly for many, many, many years from Matthew downstairs.

Natasha (19:18):

Yeah. Love it. Has that stopped, um, this year with the virus or are you doing it online?

Nicole (19:25):

Uh, Tracy can, um, can work with me each week. She's a traveling coach, so she's, and she doesn't live too far from me. So we have been able to continue our weekly sessions, sadly, Matthew they've seen near Sydney. Um, so we've only had a couple of clinics this year and at the moment Queensland's board the shut again. So I'm missing it cause he, he really pushes me out of my comfort zone.

Natasha (19:51):

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And then what about on the world stage? Do you have a particular rider that you try to model or try to have in your head of? This is what I want to replicate.

Nicole (20:04):

Look, I, um, there's so many of them I've been so lucky to train with, um, uh, you know, worked with Charlotte. I've worked with you Boda Schmitz, uh, and to make VIN court trained with some really amazing coaches. But for me, um, if I had to pick one, it would probably be Isabel Isabel werth because she's had so many setbacks and she just keeps coming back and she's not a perfect shape. That's something I love about our sport. You don't have to be rich to do it. You can come from nothing. And I just worked my butt off, getting something that we could afford at each time, just slogged away and got something a little bit better the next time. But for me, um, you know, to be a really good basketball or you have to be six foot tall to be a really good gymnast, you have to weigh 47 kilograms in our sport. It doesn't matter if you're tall. It doesn't matter if you're small, if you're young, if you're old if you young. The oldest dressage athlete in the last Olympics was the Japanese rider at 75. He's going to be me. I'm going to be still riding Yeah. So Isabelle me because she's had so many, um, setbacks and keeps coming back. Um, if not better, I think that's really inspiring.

Natasha (21:36):

Absolutely. Absolutely. And, um, uh, what about you when you've had a setback? Um, do you, well, actually, let's go to first. What is your biggest proudest moment? When you look back at your horse riding career, there's been so many, as we said in the bio, there's been so many amazing things you've done, but what is the biggest success to you? And it might not even be a competition. Winning can be anything that when you looked at, look back, you get that. Oh, I was so proud when X happens.

New Speaker (22:07):

Um, there has been many, um, gosh, I guess, to really come to me right now off the top of my head. Um, so one was, uh, winning the, the intermediate one at the Australian national championships on Dante because of the company I was in. Um, you know, I had Rachel center, Mary Hannah, Matthew Dows Lee, um, the company that I rode in, um, and that test, I was so proud of that test. I, I honestly couldn't have gone better. It was one of those tests that you just, you dream of the night before that everything goes right. And that happened. And I was so proud for the owners who had another horse in that class. Matthew Desi was riding Flavio, um, and he was winning and I was last on dressage. You know, sometimes you can, you can just ride a really good test and just get really average school. Was it just all one judge, you can have four judges and then one judge has you like second last and you ended up in 10th position. Um, so it can be just a soul destroying sport. But on that day, um, the icing on the cake that the cake was just delicious and said he didn't put it wrong. And the end of the test, I just felt like I'd won the Olympics. I was so happy with that. I looked up at Linda Linda, and by the owners and fist pump. I was so happy. And then about half an hour later, my, I was talking to my husband and he, he was on his phone and it looked at was just looking at, he's phone, he's always welled up with tears. I immediately thought of my 18 year old son at home. He's just got his p's. I'm like, Oh my God, what's happening. And it couldn't even speak. He just turned the phone around and the horse had got 72% and was in the lead. And I just thought, wow, that is cool. When five judges agree. Yeah. And you're in that company. That was pretty cool. And then another really big moment for me was winning the intermediate one and intermediate one freestyle on brasato at the Brisbane CDI, because I had found out, uh, the week before that, uh, my time with him was ending. And that, that was probably going to be my last competition on him. So the pressure of that, and just wanting to finish, I didn't have such a wonderful three years with him and I really wanted, really wanted to win. And sometimes when you really want something, you override it and you self sabotage. Um, but you know, the music was divine. It just didn't put a foot wrong. And he was, he won and I was so happy for Tracy and best boat, his owners as well. So, yeah, they're just a few, but there's so many Glencoe Manhattan's come back test after he had a nervous breakdown in a clinic this time, any there's so many, but yeah.

Natasha (25:28):

love it. And that's, that's the thing with our Sports. We've got these beautiful highs where the emotion and the accumulation of how was an hours and hours of hardware, like your 430 am starts. It's like, yes, it was all worth it. Yes. But then there's the high, there's the low. So do you mind sharing your worst moment, your saddest moment, your crying in the toilets, crying on the floor. Can't get up off the floor moment. You don't have to.

Nicole (25:58):

Yeah. Yeah. Um, there there's been as many of them as the highs. Um, the sport is a roller coaster. Um, the lows, the lows just make the highs that much better. And I think that's the thing to remember when you're, when you are at a low point. Um, but I think one of the, again, that'd be many, but one that particularly comes to mind is, um, was a really hot clinic up here in January. My horse was on the national squad and had a 12 o'clock midday lesson. Um, and he was eight years old. Hadn't done his first priests and George. Um, you know, I just, I should have, uh, been a better rider and said to the coach that, um, this was, you know, this was him at 100%, um, instead of trying to get 110%. And, um, he, he did, uh, blow his lid and he bolted with his in a Lavard type of situation into the fence and he tore himself open. And I was very lucky, um, at that time, people weren't riding with helmets and I didn't have a helmet on and no one else, I think one other one person in the clinic did. So, you know, I've learned a lot since then, and that I really know how to listen to the horses and speak up for them. And, um, yeah, just learnt a valuable lesson and mentally, physically he recovered, but mentally, it was a long journey back.

Natasha (27:40):

Yeah. I'm wondering what you can say because humans are like that aren't, they we've heard of those stories. And, but until, as you said, you have that lesson that you experienced that you understand at that core level, it's very hard to hear, hear it and go, Oh yeah, that makes sense. I'll know it, when I get to that, would you, is there an unwrapped in there or give us more that we could, you know, and it's also a lot, as you said, there's that side of it, of noticing it, but I say that that, that, that strength to be all I know, and especially when you're a coach or someone that, you know, that there's rules when you're getting coached, that's how we learn. We have to say, okay, well, we're saying that, you know, more than we do, and we want the feedback. We want to know anything more there or help us any more than that.

Nicole (28:37):

Yes. Um, I think going through the experience now as a clinic coach, cause I do travel to, to, to teach clinics. I always say to people, you know, your horse more than me, you know, it's history, you know, it's comfort zones, you know, it's triggers. Um, please tell me if we're pushing a trigger, please give me a bit of history. Because when you work with someone, week, two weeks, you learn that horse and you know, that rider and, and you're part of that history. But when you meet someone new, um, you have to listen to them and trust that they know their horse. And sometimes it is a very hard job to be a coach because we do want to push people out of their comfort zones. Sometimes some people, you know, they'll come to you and say, I want to learn flying changes today. And they can't, they can't do a simple change. Well, so, you know, it's really hard to be able to say to them, look, I'm, I would like to help you with the flying change, but I think you're 12 months away from that. Because if you try to teach your horse this, now you're skipping grade seven at school, you're trying to go from grade five straight into high school and he will not cope. Um, and so it is a re I think that the dressage coach has a really difficult job and we are a sports psychologist. I totally agree with you. We are a muscle physiotherapists. We are a personal trainer, and I do feel that responsibility as a coach very, very much and often I'll wake up, you know, having a nightmare because, um, you know, there's been a little moment where, you know, you have to push a horse sometimes through a boundary that the rider has never pushed them past before. And sometimes that horse will, will not just say, Oh, okay, well, who are you? And what did you do with my rider? Like I normally get away with that. So sometimes it can get a bit ugly. And as I said, sometimes it does wake me up at night and I, and um, so yeah, I do feel the responsibility is huge. Having, having, having been the recipient of a rider in a clinic situation, um, that, you know, I didn't handle, uh, well, yeah.

Natasha (31:05):

And I think that is, that is the tricky thing. And that's, that's where I'm, I'm flabbergasted by the social media world and, and the crazy world of people deciding to pass a judgment. When I don't even know what happens in my own life, let alone what, what led to whatever moment that we're seeing in time. Like, it's crazy that with today's technology, we live in the 21st century and I love the internet and I love everything. But the fact that we can patch moments in time without, as we said, the history that got us to that moment in time means we, we could never, we got.

Nicole (31:44):

Keyboard warriors of today are, um, I just feel sorry for them because, um, you know, they, haven't obviously experienced the setbacks and the comebacks that come with life and the most important thing, you know, people aren't remembered for the metal say when you're remembered for the kindness that you did to others and the memories that you make with people, and, you know, you do not make good memories, being a brave person on there, on, on the other end of the keyboard, pick up the phone and say it to them. And if you can't do that, then don't write it.

Natasha (32:18):

I love it. I mean, a hundred percent in agreement and very, very cool. Okay. So, um, what are your future goals? You said, I like it. Like, do we have a goal? You said 75. What year is that? Is that an Olympic year? Are you going to get the award for the oldest? Are you going to go for 76 or 77?

Nicole (32:40):

I'll have to have a little talk to my back therapist about that, but, um, look, it's always just my goals to do the right thing by the horses and their owners. Uh, second to that is certainly my goal to train them as far as they will happily go, which I always hope is grand Prix level. Of course, if national representation should become a possibility, then we would find a way to make it a reality. Um, but I love putting my training to the test and the competition arena. I also love writing and I do hope one day to write a book about dressage training. I used to one day want to be an international judge, but I got a little disillusioned by that path. And, um, I'm not sure, but I do love, I love judging. So maybe that for me, if I'm not in the Olympic arena, maybe I'll be on that in the, in the little judges had on the other side.

Natasha (33:33):

and both the dressage. And then you can judge the eventing. We can make it work so good.

Nicole (33:42):

Maybe I'll tell all those events, events and dressage riders to slow down. It's not a race.

Natasha (33:48):

Exactly. Right. Okay. And I read that there was, um, you've put a roof over your arena. Do you want to speak a little bit about that and what led to that?

Nicole (34:04):

Yes. Um, that was early 2017. The first year that I had, um, our young important horses here and I got diagnosed with melanoma. So that was, um, I was very, very lucky. Um, my skin cancer specialist had just, um, said to me that he wanted to check me every six months. I used to be on a 12 month check and it was on my first six months check that you found a level four aggressive melanoma on the back of my ear. Um, so two operations later, many cat scans and a pet scan. And I was cancer-free that August, but my husband decided that, um, that, uh, yeah, losing an ear meant I could have a roof over my arena. so I joke about it and say, yeah, it only cost me half an ear, wait, we'll be paying the bank off. But honestly, it's a life changer. I used to dread summer every October in Queensland, I would just, Oh no, I've got to get through the next five months. The weather here is absolutely beautiful, but in summer training and riding through the day is difficult, but the roof it's 10 degrees cooler under it. And life is now wonderful every day of the year. Instead of, instead of just autumn, winter and spring.

Natasha (35:29):

Whereabouts in Queensland, are you higher up or near Brisbane.

Nicole (35:34):

On the gold coast.

Natasha (35:34):


Nicole (35:37):

Yes. Very lucky.

Natasha (35:41):

Awesome. And it sounds like your support network of your husband and your son is also a big part of your success. Would you say that's true?

Nicole (35:51):

Absolutely. My husband has made my life every day. Just, uh, just amazing. He made all the dreams possible. And my son, I look, I often have the guilt of mothers and that's been at an OCD obsession with, with, uh, with a sport. So I do, but he's, he's a beautiful person and he loves animals. And, um, and I think I did, I did a good job.

Natasha (36:20):

I love that you can say that good.

Nicole (36:21):

But I do have moments where I think, Oh my gosh, you know, I was too heavy. I was too selfish and should have done more, but anyway, but I do have, um, also the amazing support of some wonderful sponsors and, um, and the grooms here are, sorry, the grooms are amazing here. The whole team of people that make it all happen. Um, and some truly wonderful owners in Emma and Paul wheel, Karen and Tim Gordon. So very, very lucky. And I can my sponsors too. Um, what was that Natasha?

Natasha (37:02):

No, I said, yes. Please tell me who helps you.

Natasha (37:06):

Yes. I have the amazing support of sponsors and riders, XO XO, which is a small, the question to your boots. Don't they take, who specialize in individuality and styling. Right. So yes, they do matching boots to helmets. Yes.

Natasha (37:30):

What is your style? Are you blue? Red, Brown. What's what.

Nicole (37:35):

I love to mix it up. I'm a bit of a rainbow.

Natasha (37:42):

What colour boots do you have?

Nicole (37:45):

Okay. Let's I have a tan pair. I have a, um, like a crock, dark Brown pair, a gray pair, a black and silver, and I think Melbourne is designing a purple set next.

Natasha (38:05):

And what is your favorite? What just depends on your mood? What color you feel?

Nicole (38:10):

Um, the tan per tanboot is my favorite. It just goes with a lot.

Natasha (38:17):


Nicole (38:19):

I have Kathryn Sullivan bought a business called the saddle fitter. She is another sponsor and she's so passionate about saddle fitting and I'm so lucky that she fits all the horses here. Um, and yeah, just a lovely, lovely person and a very generous sponsor to the whole sport. And then Kristy Baker, she's a photographer and she catches so many special moments from my working life to share on this in a social media world.

Natasha (38:49):

And what saddles do you tend to gravitate to? Are you it's fine. Whatever. So do you have a preferred brand or style?

Nicole (38:58):

I definitely love the Cape range and the custom range of saddles.

Natasha (39:05):

Yes. Yep. Great. That's awesome. Okay. So I think good. Is there anything else you would like to add or anything else, else that you think would be valuable to our listeners?

Nicole (39:17):

Um, no, just that teamwork, teamwork. Um, it's not one person, even though it's an individual sport, if every, if everyone gets better and then everyone gets better on don't, don't begrudge someone, some success try to, um, you know, be happy for them and make it drive you to be better. At one point when imported horses started to be the norm here in Queensland, then, um, you know, there was a lot of jealousy and, um, you know, negative feelings towards that, where I just thought, you know, those people, for whatever reason, they've got this wonderful horse that we would never be able to see in Australia. And now they're lifting the bar and then the bar is getting bigger and better. And as long as we're fair to the horses, then that's a wonderful thing. Well, the sport.

Natasha (40:15):

Yeah. Yep. And what about advice to the young riders who go well I'm 18 or on 13 and I'd like to have, um, the success and the life that you've had. What is the number one thing that they should be focusing on?

Nicole (40:33):

Get up early, be prepared to work hard, find a coach that doesn't just tell you what you want to hear and, um, is, you know, is invested in you getting it, you're getting better. And a quote that I heard from animate Vencore in, when I was training in Holland, she said, there is no elevator to expertise. You have to take the steps. And at the time I thought, Oh, just one freaking elevator would be really good right now, but she was absolutely right. It's just one step at a time, just trying to get better. Never think, you know, at all, because, um, another mentor of mine, Vince corvee, he was in his seventies and still going to sit on the side of an arena of a visiting net international coach to learn as much as he could and all, I didn't think Vince had anything else to learn. And I always thought that made it, made him very special in my eyes. And I hope that at 75, I hope I'm still here and I hope I'm still sitting on the side of an arena, if not in the saddle, watching and learning from an international coach, if not even not a national coach.

Natasha (41:54):

I love it. Thank you so much. That has been an amazing conversation. I'm sure there's so many great nuggets in there from everyone listening. Thank you so much for your time and we'll make sure to put your sponsors in the show notes. So how can people get in contact with you? I'd like to just follow you on social media or, um, talk about coaching if they're in the area.

Nicole (42:17):

Um, yes. Um, my contact information is on Facebook, Instagram and my website. So I'm sure they're more technical than me, cause I think everyone in the world where there's a will, there's a way Natasha, thank you so much for having me. And I'm making me feel really comfortable with this very strange new world.

Natasha (42:43):

Thank you so much. All right. You have an amazing day and thank you so much for sharing.

Nicole (42:48):

Thank you, Natasha. Thank you everyone. Bye bye.

Podcast Episode 22: Master Your Health & Nutrition

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! On today's podcast, we speak about health and why we choose to make the food choices we do. We also talk to one of our amazing team members Kate and discuss why we emotionally eat.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):

Thanks for joining me.

Kate (00:59):

That's okay.

Natasha (01:00):

All right. So. Um, I wanted to bring you in because you have known me for a really long time. You've known my eating for a really long time, and you've also knowing my obsession with success and why people get certain results and why people don't get certain results the whole time you've known me as well. Yep. And do you remember? I came in to the, I think it was only a couple of months ago when I was like, I just need to figure out Kate, just need to figure out this little thing, this little thing that why don't people do what they know they should do.

Kate (01:33):


Natasha (01:33):

I don't wanna, if I figure that out, I can help more people. Yeah. So, um, I w I've wanted to have a chat to you because that's, that's what I've been obsessing about. That's what I've been reading about. That's what I've been thinking about and I've applied it to, um, uh, eating and achieving health goals and achieving weight goals. And, um, yeah, I just wanted to have a chat cause I, you know, when you come up with an idea, but you're like, Oh, I don't know if it's really right. Or if it only works in my situation or if i'm, just the only freak in the room and that does not apply to everyone else.

Kate (02:08):

Yup cool.

Natasha (02:08):

Yeah. So. I thought we'd have a chat. So, um, my thing with eating was that it wasn't, that I didn't know that two kilos of chocolate a day is bad. Um, it wasn't that I didn't, um, like I woke up and I planned to not eat two kilos worth of chocolate, but then I did. So firstly, I just want to just, I know we're going public and I haven't like, I hi you with this going.

Kate (02:38):

Yes totally fine.

Natasha (02:38):

Is everyone I paid to know this. I'm cool with everyone knowing that I in the past used to. Um, and so I told you, I said, I'm gonna just, I just read four books around binge eating disorder and blue Bolivia. And you gave me this look, I'm like, I'm not believe me. It can, I don't have a binge eating disorder, but I'm really enjoying reading about these people that have taken what I think my behavior is to a whole other level.

Kate (03:01):

Yeah, for sure.

Natasha (03:02):

Yeah. And so I said, I think I have, um, a eating disorder. Not that I have anorexia or bulimia or binge eating disorder, but I have the, the, I have disordered eating.

Kate (03:13):

Yes, yup.

Natasha (03:14):

That I will go through life eating a certain way. And then I'll go through life eating a different, certain way based on something that's happened in my life or based on how I'm feeling. Yes. And that doesn't sound very functional.

Kate (03:25):


Natasha (03:28):

So. I, I, you know, my, my first lot of, um, uh, customer research is like, okay, well what does kate do? Think about this. What does Kate do around this? So, um, yeah. Can you talk about like how you picture your health and what like, do you eat perfectly all the time and achieve all your health and weight goals? Or what do you think stops you or blocks you from achieving your health or weight goals?

Kate (03:53):

So when, I guess we'll, you know, when I've got my mind to it, I just do it. It's, there's a no brainer. There's no other anything else,

Natasha (04:00):

When I make you work super hard.

Kate (04:02):

That's a good thing. It distracts. It's distracting. I think about that.

Natasha (04:07):


Kate (04:08):

24 hours a day. Um, but when something is stressful in my life, it's not normally with work because I work when I'm at work, I'm not thinking about it. But in the last 18 months, there's been a few very stressful things in my life. And I know that I eat when I'm stressed and I know that it it's comfort food.

Natasha (04:30):

I was going to say, so you just broke out the broccoli and you know, kilos,

Kate (04:34):

I wish

Natasha (04:36):

Food. Is it? Cause I think also people have their different foods. What food is it for? You?

Kate (04:41):

Probably chocolate. Yep. And not lollies. I don't do lollies.

Natasha (04:46):

Potato chips.

Kate (04:47):

not potato chips, but maybe like, carby food. If it's not sweet, it's savory. Carby food. Like maybe pasta or, or potatoes, something, you know, like chips or something.

Natasha (04:59):


Kate (04:59):


Natasha (05:00):

Yeah. Yeah. And that's, what's funny, like everyone has their different things now. How do you feel before you're eating the food?

Kate (05:11):

Well, as in why I'm eating the food

Natasha (05:14):

well just how do you feel? So yes. We know you're feeling stressed or you're feeling sadness or you're feeling a certain emotion, but how do you feel right before you put that food in your mouth?

Kate (05:25):

Like it's going to taste amazing. What else do you feel? Um, like a crack as a craving for that food.

Natasha (05:32):

And what does a craving feel like? How do you know you have a craving?

Kate (05:38):

Oh, that's an interesting one because I don't know the answer to that because I go, I feel like chocolate is gonna make me feel better.

Natasha (05:45):

But then right before you're about to put the chocolate in your mouth. If I said, don't put the TacoBot in your mouth, how do you, how do you feel.

Kate (05:52):

if you said don't put it in your mouth, I'd feel disappointed.

Natasha (05:55):

And would you listen to, could you do to me?

Kate (05:59):

Yes. Like cool. I could. Yes. Because I also have this thing about, I don't want people to judge me. If you go, Oh, don't eat chocolate in your mouth because that's really bad for your health and you shouldn't eat that chocolate. I'm watching you.

Natasha (06:14):

Not only do I have to make you work seven days a week. I have to live in your house. I love it. Alright. So. Let's not use that one. Thank you so much for articulating that. But so the reason I'm going with these questions is I feel right before I eat the chocolate, I have to a compulsion and irrational, crazy compulsive. I must.

Kate (06:43):

Yeah. I don't know if I feel that. I think it's, once I start eating it, I just I'm like, I've got to keep eating at all until it's all gone.

Natasha (06:50):


Kate (06:51):

But if it's not in my house, I won't need it. Yes. If it's in my house, it's gone.

Natasha (06:54):

Okay. And do you ever have the thought halfway through? Maybe I shouldn't.

Kate (07:00):

Yeah. When I start feeling unwell.

Natasha (07:03):

Back it up before you feel unwell, what? You, so then take me into the eating of it. What are you feeling good? I guess.

Kate (07:13):

Yeah. Good. good. It's good. I don't even know if, is it a stress relief? Cause I do feel better after it about, I also feel worse because I've eaten crappy food. Yeah. But during, during eating it, I guess I'm justifying why I can keep eating it. I've already started eating it. So might as well finish it off.

Natasha (07:36):

Do you, are you present when you're eating it?

Kate (07:39):

Not don't reckon that's a lot in the, in the, in the binge eating books, they just go there. It's a numb. It's just, I'm an,

Natasha (07:47):

I think I get to, like when I become aware of it, I'm like why that's finished? Yes. How'd that happen? You wake up suddenly. You're like, Oh, now I'm back. And now that it's finished, I'll make the decision to stop growing off of myself. I make this decision and all that. There's normal food left. Um, and yeah, I found that really interesting reading about the people with the actual diagnosable eating disorders, like how far that they would take that and how far the numbing episode would take. And, uh, people with actual binging disorders that eat an extreme amount of food. Like, it's just, it's an, I think for us, we, we don't have a disorder or a ball condition, but I think that the, the, the elements of numbing out and the elements of, um, like I have to have, it was something that I went, Oh God, yeah, this is really resonant. Yeah. So I was reading all this and I went, okay, well I have to solve this. I have to fix this. And so I think it's really important that we start asking the questions, as I said to you, it's like, okay, how do you, how does it start.

New Speaker (08:48):

? So what's the trigger. And it might be the emotion might be, I had a stressful day out, a sad day. I feel like I can't cope. I feel overwhelmed. I feel, um, all those kinds of things. And then I went, Hm. That evidence doesn't stack up because what do you want to do on your birthday?

Kate (09:04):

Yeah, of course

Natasha (09:07):

On your birthday. You're not normally stressed. Not normally I'm happy. And I'm like, great.

Kate (09:13):

But then that all goes out the window and you go, I don't, I'm not counting calories or.

Natasha (09:18):

There are no rules.

Kate (09:20):

It doesn't count on your birthday. Right.

Natasha (09:22):

But then it doesn't stack up to, um, eating in a certain way is only like there wasn't, it suddenly became this thing where it's not an only thing.

Kate (09:31):

because just because you feel better after you, like you feel okay, you don't feel better about eating the food, but I feel better. I don't feel stressed after it. You know, obviously the chocolate is making my dopamine levels go crazy.

Natasha (09:43):

It's doing great things for dopamine. Have it run. Doesn't know what you don't come in is it's your pleasure hormones. So it's a pleasure. No one will deny that if you do like chocolate, the reason you like it is it releases your dopamine and you feel pleasured. It doesn't like to feel pleasure. So, Um, there's that? But I go, Oh, like, there's lots of other things without getting too graphic. There's some things you and I do together, but separately, I was thinking just pledge out, but don't wait. Cause I was so I'm really interested with dopemine. Cause I go, okay, humans love doing things for pleasure. Then why aren't we just eating and having sex to 24 hours a day? I don't get it. If that's what we're driven to do as humans, why aren't we just doing what makes us, gives us pleasure all the time and then dying. Like isn't there animals and their own animals.

Kate (10:32):

Yeah where are animals that do that.

Natasha (10:36):

I can't that I've lived a lie for three days, but God, those three days.

Kate (10:39):

It was awesome.

Natasha (10:43):

okay, we don't do that as an animal. There's other animals that do do that in the animal kingdom. We don't. Okay. Why don't we do that? Why do you think that is?

Kate (10:54):

I guess it wouldn't be as, I guess if you get it as a, you know, lucky you feel that all the time, it wouldn't be as good.

Natasha (11:03):

Yep. You don't mean that. Um, receptors can get full when you're in dopamine receptors are full. There's no more pleasure. It's full. Um, there's absolutely that. So I was going, okay, so our, would you imagine for, or are we not? Um, and then I guess we have more evolved brains then, and I love that we're like aware that an animal just has sex and eights and then dies. But when I actually sure up with one of it, no, I feel an insect.

Kate (11:28):

I'll see. I was thinking some kind of rodent.

Natasha (11:29):

Oh, were you?

Kate (11:30):

Yeah, it could be neither.

Natasha (11:32):

For those for everyone listening. This is not a podcast or a show based on science. It is not the science channel. Please be okay with us. Not knowing anything sciency. Um, but yeah. Where was I? So I was going to, we're not tripping because we're high, we're more highly evolved that we can hold in our brain, that we have a higher purpose. Like we're going, okay. I want to achieve this in my health or I want to achieve this in my weight. So therefore my behavior needs to be in alignment with that. And that all makes perfect sense until it doesn't make sense.

Kate (12:08):


Natasha (12:09):

Cause do you agree that there's the part of your brain that goes, I logically understand that.

Kate (12:14):

Yes. of course.

Natasha (12:15):

Cool. And you know, we, part of our big part of our business is helping riders overcome fear. And most of what they say is logically. I understand I'm okay, but I'm not okay.

Kate (12:25):

Yeah. But I'm not getting on the horse.

Natasha (12:28):

Which I love. That's, that's sort of fun that really digs me up when people are like, I get it, but I don't get it. It's not happening. It's not happening. So I went on a really, really, really big dive on, um, under, like, as I said at the start going, why don't people do what they know they should do so same with riders. People know they should probably ride their horse, but they feel that they can't people that want a certain health outcome or certain white outcome. We know that they need to eat and move in a certain way, but then they saw this stuff's happening. So, um, yeah, you're going to come on our health mastery journey about me and I am so, so excited. We've got, um, this is our, like a foundation program, a new program for us and a new program. I have no idea how it's all going to resonate and how it's all going to go. But I think we've got 87.

Kate (13:20):

Something like that.

Natasha (13:20):

87 people joining us on the journey kicks off on Monday, so excited. And you're going to be part of it. I'm going to be part of it. I'm going to be mentoring the wholeway. I'm going to have made a commitment to every single person. I will help you move your neurology around to get to the point where you, so yeah, for me, I used to go on those numbing binges and not that I had a binge eating disorder, please don't think that I did that. And I'm not, I'm not even saying that. I understand why bulimics do what they do. And why beginning disorders is, is, is, is, is, yeah, I'm not a psychologist. I'm just taking the elements of everything that I've seen and gone. Okay. For me, I can make sure that I engage the, the certain part of my brain disengage another portion of my brain and, um, make sure I release anchers and make sure I released, like, we've got so many habits. Like if you said, well, it's a habit to have birthday cake on your birthday. And we have an emotional link that stress stress plus chocolate equals no, you're not stressed. We're creatures of habit, creatures of strategies. If stress plus chocolate equals no stress, of course we're going to go there. And that's why people were stress. Plus gambling equals no stress. They'd go to gamble or stress. Plus shopping equals no stress. They go to shop.

Kate (14:37):

I think I might have that too

Natasha (14:38):

How many of these do i have. But that's normal that that's how the brain works. And, and, and my obsession with learning how the brain works is, is yeah, it's something I'm really excited to unleash to amazing health mastery people and have them breaking free from the habitual and the emotional and the illogical way that they might be approaching their health and weight goals and get them on track so they can achieve health and weight for life.

Kate (15:05):


Natasha (15:06):

Because again, what I say to you, I said, I'm not doing like a full week to, yeah. He's five kilos in five weeks, eight, your way to abs God, how many people have done an eat your way to abs? Um, yeah, I didn't want to do that. I'm not a personal trainer. I, this is coming purely from a mindset point of view and NLP point of view, a success point of view of going well, hang on. What are the things you need to know? So the first part of the course is what do you need to know to get results? Because some people might not know that chocolate doesn't actually help their health and weight goals or eating. McDonald's how bad that does and how it does the biological pathway. So McDonald's, if I Donald's one day a year, it's going to make excellent no difference. But if I did every week it does and w and people go, Oh yeah. Why? Because it has fat in it, or because it has, you know, like why, what is it that it does to your hormones? What does it does to your digestion? What does it do to your entire way your body operates, which is why it's so damaging and causes the results that you don't want the opposite of the results that you want. And then on the second part, we're going to unpack the psychology and we're going to go, okay, now that you know what you need to do, um, uh, how do we do that? Okay. Um, how do we make it that I donate to cakes? Cause for you, it's the weekends, isn't it.

Kate (16:21):

During the week. I'm okay. Cause you know, just a routine.

Natasha (16:24):

You put a fence around it. I go to work. Cause otherwise, if you were like you were on the weekends, you wouldn't even come to work, do you kind of feel like, yeah. Yeah. And when you're off, you're off. Yeah. When you're on own, is that on Friday night or does it start on Saturday?

Kate (16:41):

It starts on Friday night. Cause we normally have to take away for dinner. So then it starts on Friday night. Yeah. Probably goes all the way to Sunday.

Natasha (16:48):

Yeah, no, yeah, yeah. But then Monday don't no matter what, what about if it's a public holiday on Monday and you don't come to work, what's a Monday look like,

Kate (16:55):

and it's probably the it's a weekend.

Natasha (16:57):

Yeah. And again, and again, I just love it. Like I could ask 10 people that question and some people would go like you just brought up, you know, Oh, that's a week end. The rules in tight squad is that's a weekend. And the rules in Claudia's life is it's a Monday. And what also different. And we all have these different rules and these, this operating system, which dictates whether or not we get the results that we want. So superstar. And then the third bit is what movement do we have to do? Because we're lucky we do have the gym, you've come back to the gym.

Kate (17:26):


Natasha (17:27):

It's all happening. Um, but we're getting older. I remember when both of us were really young.

Kate (17:33):

and it wasn't easy.

Natasha (17:35):

And now like it's not just the movement and going to the gym, but the, to me, the, I have to get really obsessed around the suppling work and the flexibility.

Kate (17:42):

Yes. That's that was me coming back to the gym. I was so stiff afterwards.

Natasha (17:47):

It wasn't that your leg muscles, couldn't squat. Your body. Couldn't go.

Kate (17:51):

Not doing this anymore.

Natasha (17:54):

Yeah. So it's super important as we get old enough to work on all aspects of our fitness, not just get to the gym, but we got to keep the flexibility. We've got to keep the cardiovascular and we've got to get that core really strong because you do a lot of sitting. You do a lot of like, we want to make that back in core, really strong. So super, super pumped. I'm so glad. I'm so glad everyone commit you. And they'll say you in a course. H.

Kate (18:14):

  1. Yup.

Natasha (18:15):

So, um, how do people join the course, if they're listening right now,

Kate (18:20):

there'll be a link somewhere.

Natasha (18:21):

magical link. Kate is magical with her magical link. So we'll get that all sorted. And I can't wait to start releasing the results that everyone's getting.

Kate (18:30):


Natasha (18:30):

And um, yeah, if you, aren't interested in a completely different way of looking at your health and white goals, it's not a personal training challenge. It's not an eating. You won't get a bloody eating plan. Nope. It's not that it's. How do you first, what do you do? What do you do to achieve your health and weight goals? And then how do you make sure that you stick to it and do it?

Kate (18:49):


Natasha (18:50):

Cool. Looking forward to seeing you guys join the program. If it is right for you, the link will be around and yeah, you'll see lots of updates from our amazing superstars that have joined us in the next couple of months. We'll see you soon in the group.​

Podcast Episode 21: Lisa Martin - Never Giving Up

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! Today we get to speak with the amazing para equestrian Lisa Martin. Lisa competed in eventing, polocrosse, showjumping and dressage. However when she was 28 she was involved in a horse riding accident which left her with less then 15% of movement in her ankle. We talk about what it was like overcoming such a huge set back in life and being able to get where she is today and achieve the amazing results she has so far. 

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (01:18):

So thank you for your time today, Lisa. I'm so excited to get to know you better and to hear your story.

Lisa (01:23):

Well, thank you so much. I'm really excited to be part of the podcast.

Natasha (01:27):

Oh, it's fabulous. Thank you so much for setting up. I'm seeing horse, photos everywhere behind you and ribbon very exotic.

Lisa (01:38):

Oh yeah. The house is fairly full of horse bits and pieces here. Unfortunately.

Natasha (01:44):

I know they put pictures and horse ribbons up on every little bit and then you don't need to worry. That was my theory. Anyway, I'd love to know a little bit of your background, a little bit of your story of how you got started in horses. Was there a pony where you later in life into horses and how it all kind of unfolded?

Lisa (02:07):

Oh, it's really, it's really unusual story. Well, um, how it will be again because mum and dad, um, dad had an advertising agency and as, as a, as a, you know, one, two year old, I grew up in Newcastle and dad had polocrosse horses that he had for a hobby at the time. And, you know, we'd go away on carnivals and would have most weekends on at carnivals playing polocrosse. And in those days I was, as I said, I was only about two or something and that put me on a pony and what they call in those days, the ball girl, and I'd be at the gold gold post and I'd be helping out pick the ball up as the ball came to the ball, the, um, the post. And I'd usually carry the champagne in and on the front of the horse right in parades and all those other things and became a real family environment back in. It still is, um, playing polar cross. Um, and I, you know, the older I got and I think I was about four when we moved up here to wallalong and, um, dad bought the property up here and, um, we'll still mom and dad was still playing polocrosse quite a lot. Um, I would obviously get more and more adventurous on the pony. And so when they were playing polocrosse, they needed to know where I was. So they would stick me in a car or, you know, God forbid, if you do now, you know, I think you'd be arrested.

Natasha (03:39):

Love it.

Lisa (03:43):

And it was right, but it was a really, really wonderful environment to be in because everyone looked after everyone. It was a family environment and I would have played probably two or three years. I didn't paly very much polocrosse, but I, I enjoyed it. And, um, and then it kind of, I did a whole circle of, of different sports because I was also involved with pony club. And as we all know, pony club, um, you do so many different things. You, you know, we did tent pegging back there. We did vaulting, we did dressage, we did a venting, we did it all. And, and it was the days of Matt Ryan being in Maitland pony club. And, um, and, and all those sort of really good riders, Susie mahen now duddy. Um, and, and, um, some really top riders is more all in there to get it. So we were all very competitive. Um, it was great. It was fantastic. Um, pony club was, uh, an amazing, and once again, steel is a great environment for children to grow up in and, and be involved in, but also what happened was something very unusual. And that's, Razi Ryan came out from england, and haze, and rosy, as we know, are exceptionally well known in the industry. And they set up the new South Wales equestrian center Lochinvar with Bob and Judy Mitchell. I was probably, I think, I think I worked out, I was about six or so at the time. And I was Rosie's student and mum felt that I needed some help with my flat work, because I started to do a little bit more hacking. And, um, we did some Sydney shows back then, or quite a lot of them. And she thought, well, you know, I've gone to who this English lady is out here. Um, so I, mum would take me out for two lessons a week with Rosie. And in those days there was no indoor arena. There was just that outdoor arena and we became extremely closed. And, um, that pony, um, she told me on several horses, but the pony was, um, that I started on, um, was given to me or lent to me by Joe Doyle, Joe Chevelle in those days. And that pony really opened up everything for me. Cause then I got more lessons on with Razi with other horses. Um, but you know, like any child, your progressed and the equestrian center at Lochinvar, as you know, everyone knows the older questions that are, um, it grew and he's in Razi became, it became a, an amazing environment to grow up in because we were faulting or showjumping, um, and doing all sorts of things. So I grew away from the polar cross a little bit more. And my art, um, at the time had a very nice Pre st George horse and yeah, yeah, it was really, and she was doing the CDIs.

Natasha (06:55):

and she was doing tempy changes and all these things that looked really fun I'm guessing, compared to polocross.

Lisa (07:05):

And different to the showing and Rosie said, look, you know, you've come to an age. And I think I was 14, 15, 14, I think at the time that you've come to the age where you, you need to learn how to do these higher level movements. And Emery said, look, I would like to sell you this horse. And mum and dad took, um, it was, you know, in those days, imagine quite a bit of money and a bit of effort. And they bought, and they bought my first FEI horse. Um, I was 14. Um, yeah. Yeah. Um, and his name was congested, all lovely and yeah, we'll concussed it all. I ended up, um, having enormous amounts of success and fun on this horse. It was incredible. Um, I think we're on five Australian teams, um, trans Tasman teams, you can deal and all sorts of things. So, yeah. Um, I actually went to grand Prix with him.

Natasha (08:16):

Good on you. I think everyone is going she's 14. She got a Prix St George horse and she has taken it to grand prix.. We're all on your side. What's wrong with it.

Lisa (08:30):

Very lucky, very fortunate. And it was just being at the right place at the right time. Um, but I do believe, um, that horse in particular and the one prior, um, that I had, and his name was Lincoln, where they just gave me the taste of what, what I could do and what to do, like telling me the way, um, he's actually in the stock horse hall of fame. Now he was a registered Stockholm. Um, yeah. So that's a little bit an unusual whole three 60. I've gone right around the circle.

Natasha (09:11):

Yeah. Okay. So you're young, you're fit now gone to grand prix, you're feeling like, you're hooked i'm guess.

Lisa (09:21):

Um, he couldn't actually PF and facade very well. He was terrible at it. And Clemons, Dick said, I will help you with this and Clemens to vote and told him how to Spanish walk. Yeah. And that's how the PS and facade.

Natasha (09:40):

There's always a way there was always a way. Yeah, I love it. Okay. So. Um, and obviously it seems that you, as you said, there was amazing riders around you, your, um, at Heath and Razi, so there's, there seems to be a lot of competition. Did it enter into your brain Olympics for dressage or not yet.

Lisa (09:59):

I've got to say right when I was a tiny little person, I would be in so much trouble at school. The drawing, the Olympic rings when I'm supposed to be doing my maths.

Natasha (10:15):

There are 5 rings, I'm counting. It's not five, six. I don't know. I'm not good at math.

Lisa (10:26):

I was, as all I had focused on was dreaming of one day representing my country or just, just riding.

Natasha (10:37):

Oh, that's that gives me goosebumps. So it was always there. So, um, yeah. What, what happened? I'm the I, yeah. Where did, where did we go to from here? Tell me

Lisa (10:47):

um, well, with, with the way my riding career went is that what you're asking.

Natasha (10:53):

Yeah. Yeah. Well, yes. So you're young, you've got your foot, your horse to grand prix. You need to get an other horse. So I'm assuming.

Lisa (11:03):

I left school reasonably early and I got a job in New Zealand working for a dressage trainer over there in New Zealand, um, for about 12 months. And we'll breaking and Shetland ponies for quite a while, with little, little pads on them. And then that was, we used to laugh. We used to fall off all the time on those.

Natasha (11:22):

It didn't matter.

Lisa (11:25):

She had this massive, big horse called Zorba and he was 18.1 hands. And he was given to me to compete on over there and do the New Zealand versus Australia challenge. Um, and we did really well with that. Um, and so I had my first taste of international kind of competition when I was about 17, I think even a bit younger cause I was on the New Zealand team. So that was really exciting. And then I came home and um, I, I bred, I ended up breeding my next, um, next horse and getting another one off the track and, and the one I've got off the, off the track, he, he was just, he was so difficult, you know, talking about thoroughbreds. He, he used to take several hours to work down before a test. Um, and I took him to Adelaide when the Australian championships were on an Adelaide and he won the advanced Australian championships with me. Um, and I sold him not long after that to Hong Kong. And I, at this stage, I'm not at school and I'm just working full time. I think we had like 16, 17 horses in work at that time. Um, and then I bred another one, um, called rhythmic. Um, he was alluded off salute, salute, Ludendorff, gilding, I bred. And he ended up going over to, um, later on in like when I was, I think, um, I think my daughter is 18. She was two, one or two at the time. And I took him over to Europe and spent 12 months with Roberta Schmidt in Germany, um, competing at the grand Prix with him over there. Um, and he was, he wasn't anything special. It wasn't like a, you know, um, but we, we, he just had the most amazing temperament and he taught me so much. Um, and, and obviously be with you, birders was, um, just incredible at the time. So, um, I got married,

Natasha (13:48):


Lisa (13:48):

um, before, um, and I think I was 21 when I got married. I was fairly young and, um, and we moved all the horses out to Mary Wall and on a, on a large property out there and I had no arena, I had nothing. Um, so I've taken two grand Prix horses out there with me and, um, and a couple of young horses. And I said to my husband, Jason, I need an arena. And he said, it's all right, you've got 20,000 acres to ride on. And I said, but it's black soil. I need a bit of sad, but we don't have sand here. We have black soil. And he said, what? We're going to have to get something again for you, I suppose. And I said, look, it'd be nice to have a little bit of sand because every day I was going out into a player, Paddock and I was riding on a plow paddock and picking the rocks up as I went so I can try. And then I traveled a Rosie once a week and have a lesson. So that was like from Mary Ward to Lochinvar, it was at least two and a half, three hours to get to her. Um, so yeah, we just made do with what we had and, um, wait from there. Yeah. Wow.

Natasha (15:10):

There's that journey. And you, um, is the, the horse that I know you from his first famous.

Lisa (15:17):

oh yes.

Natasha (15:19):

Famous horse? I love that name.

Lisa (15:21):

Oh, she was a, yeah, she was a find. Um, it was, there was an amazing story with that, you know, and, um, it was part of my life, um, that it was incredible finding her. Um, so, um, we, we bought her in Germany and it, she was five and she's rising 13 now. Wow. And yeah, her time gets away and I didn't want to do the trip on my own and everyone's hell will all come. But I said, I wanted someone. I wanted people with me that, um, weren't judgemental, um, what I meant by that is when I'm looking at a horse to buy, I want to go with what my gut feeling has taught me over these years and not have an influence. I mean, it's nice to have someone say, did you happen to see that? But I want to sit down at night with them and say, look, and for them to convince me not to buy something where my gut feeling saying, you should do this. You know, so two friends of mine said, Oh, come and I say, great. One, one friend was, um, she was a minister of the church and she's also part of the stock or society. And which is really, you know, she rides a bit, she's a lovely lady. Um, she wanted to go and see family over there at the same time. And the other one was a mathematician at the university, you know.

Natasha (17:07):

love it. Yeah.

Lisa (17:11):

And so what we did was we put the light who, the friend of mine, who, who was the mathematician, she was great at navigating. So I became the driver.

Natasha (17:25):


Lisa (17:26):

The mathematician became the navigator. And my other friend who was part of the church and very dedicated to the church and the stockholder society, she became the neutral party. So we spent six weeks in Europe, um, which is a long time. And we looked at over 200 horses from Germany, right up to Denmark. We went to Andrea's Hiddleston place. We went to all the, the famous places, the clinkers and the everything. But we also went to a lot of piggeries who breeds. No. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Joe's remains in their backpack. And you know, and that's, that's where we wanted to get a horse from. Cause we didn't have a massive budget to deal with. So at this stage we had 24 hours left, um, after being in Europe for six weeks.

Natasha (18:30):

and you haven't found one. Thats awkward

Lisa (18:30):

just a bit, it's a bit. And I'mstarting, I'm going to get really frustrated. Cause everyone thinks, I'm sure you go to your, there'll be a horse. There will be a horse. But these horses adjust, not every way. This is so hard to find. So my daughter at this stage is back in Australia, her name's Jessica, and she's also quite talented with her riding and she raised me up and she says, mom, I think I've found the horse for you, Jess. Hello, I'm over it. I'm coming home. I just, I'm just, she said, no, no look, honestly, I think you should have a look at this horse. It's back in Germany. We were in Denmark at the time. She said, I think you've got to go and have a look. So I had a look at the footage and it was, it was nice, but you know, and I thought, well, look, I've got to go back to Germany anyway, way to fly out of Germany. I'll just come back and have a look where the girl said, look, we would like to see Denmark more. So they took the car, they took it up there and I flew back to Germany. Well, I jumped on this mare. When I first found her, she was skinny. She was not, she didn't have a lot of weight on him. He was quite stressed in the stable. And um, I remember my first ride because I like it was yesterday. I walked straight up to her and she was massive. And I thought, how am I going to get on this? Um, and she was really lanky, you know, the typical nearly look like she's a thoroughbred. Yeah. Like really spindly and, um, and get on him, have a little, I do know it probably won't work out, you know, so I jumped on and, and um, by this stage I'd riden probably 60 odd horses in six weeks. I'd come off one horse, um, it bolted and flipped over backwards on me. Um, so that was interesting. And, uh, anyway, so I, I spent the 24 hours riding his mare. The first day I rode, I, then I stayed in a motel that night. I liked what I rode, but I said to them, look, I need to be able to take this mare out of the arena. And um, I want to take it into the forest and I want to jumps logs. I want to actually treat her like a normal horse and that horrifying galloping around a forest. Um, and I said, well, look, you know, if you want your money, I want to actually have a buy. I don't want to have it. Um, so I took her out and we went into the forest, we went over and she was amazing. She just, I loved the fact that she just wanted to do more beautiful and she had tempered what was amazing. Um, so, and the rest is really history. We've got a home and, um, she was introduced to kangaroo wombats and ant eaters.

Natasha (21:51):

The typical Australian world.

Lisa (21:52):

Well, yes. Yeah. Yeah.

Natasha (21:57):

There was a time where you were riding and you had an accident, wasn't it. And that's what, um, has caused, what is it? 15% only now mobility in your ankle?

Lisa (22:10):

Yeah, so I was living in sky. Um, I, it was before Jess was born. Um, and I was training, um, quite a lot of horses at the time and this was, it was a dressage horse. Um, it, it bolted and it fell back over the top of me. And I put my tibia down through the bottom of my foot, um, and smashed the joints and several parts of that foot at the time. Um, that led to, uh, several, several, I think there was like 20 operations in that, um, to save my leg, um, over several months and learning how to walk and rehab and, um, uh, lots of, lots of work went into that. Um, so yeah, that happened then. And, uh, yeah, so that's how I actually ended up becoming, um, just before Rio, a para rider.

Natasha (23:16):

And how is the mindset? I know there's a lot of riders that have fear of riding, fearful feeling, fear of bolting or that kind of stuff for something to happen to you like that. Did you just get on the next arm you could ride, which would have been quite a long time after your, all your surgeries and everything. Did you have any fear or any apprehension or was that not there for you?

Lisa (23:39):

So, cause I've had another recently, I've had another really bad accident. Um, in December I had that eat, eat. It is hard. Um, you know, any order that says that they don't have fear, I believe, um, hasn't got enough respect for something that's five, six kilos underneath. Um, so yes, when I first got on, after my first accident I had, um, I was quite nervous, um, Cape, I was very lucky to have rhythmic at the time who I'd bred, um, wonderful temperament and, um, he's a horse that we'd send out droving on our properties and, um, you know, like it, it was very lucky to have him. Um, and the pain was mostly, um, poor trying to get my heel. I didn't realize cause your mechanics changed dramatically when you have these sort of accidents and you, when you've been riding for a long time, you get on the horse thinking that, um, cause the mind says, Hey, it's okay, just fine. And, and you go to ride the way you were going to ride before or have been riding before. But in actual fact it doesn't quite work that way. Um, and you've got to change your style.

Natasha (25:10):

Yeah. I can imagine that. There'd be a lot of frustration, a lot of, um, wishing it wasn't. So even though it's septic, so Wow. I think, I think I haven't talked to you for very long, but I feel you're a very strong woman and you have a very good way of handling that mindset. You wouldn't be where you're at without that, but I'm guessing there was an adjustment of feeling, sorry for yourself, feeling frustrated, feeling why did this happen to me feeling this is all too hard and just talk about it a little bit, the things you used or the things you said to yourself to get yourself out of there too. Well, I'll make good with now what my new reality is. My new situation is, and I'll make it better. And the goals then you set around that.

Lisa (25:54):

Sure. So I had a lot of, um, in mind, um, I will, I love riding. We all love riding. We all are, this is what we do, you know? Um, and I'm sure there's a lot of people out there that have had horrific accidents, um, that go, you know what, I'm just not going to put myself in that position again and understand that, um, you know, but for me, um, I look at it and it's something that with, uh, you know, other people do or not, I don't know, but I look at it like a car accident.

Natasha (26:31):

Yes, absolutely.

Lisa (26:34):

You're getting to a car, someone's hit your head on. That's a accident. Um, you've obviously goes through a lot of rehab, you know, then eventually, eventually you, you need your independence cause you've got to go back to that supermarket to get your milk and your groceries. So you, you really got to get back in that car. Um, so I look at it the same similar situation, um, but I'm very, very, very, very careful on what I get on. So, um, you know, I don't teach on, uh, you know, when I'm teaching, I don't get on other people's horses anymore. Um, I make sure I launch all my horses before I get on, um, if they've had time off, of course, and I just very cautious and I, and I I'm, I'm one of these people that, because I love it so much. And I look at that car situation and that scenario, I think we'll look, you know, what am I going to do with the rest of my life? This is all I've done. I'm not going to allow my brain and my mental wellbeing to beat me on this on me.

Natasha (27:43):

Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So, um, uh, do you tell me what you want to go? were you planning Did you say that you did Rio?

Lisa (27:56):

So we did Rio.

Natasha (27:59):

Okay. Yeah. A little bit about that.

Lisa (28:02):

Yeah. So Rio was a blast, unfortunately we didn't get to see much of it, but we

Natasha (28:16):

Everybody, if you can't say Lisa's face, It has lit up. She really liked this. Sorry to interrupt. Keep going,

Lisa (28:27):

look, we've put so many stores that show we don't have two or three hours. The team I was involved in were the most incredible, um, riders that you would ever imagine, um, mentally, physically and all the above, um, and going to Rio, you know, it was some, there was some downfalls, there was, there's no doubt about that. Um, the, the, the shock for stria was for me to become a para rider. That was cause I was a very, and still am, um, competitive grand Prix rider. Um, and I grew up with so many amazing riders, you know, that we, you know, have that, um, it was a bit of a shock for everyone to think that, you know, cause most, most rider if they've been writing for as long as we have. Um, and, and I'm explaining riders like Heath and Razi, um, mayor Murray Tomkinson, um, any of those top riders carry some sort of disability in some way where they've had accidents or whatever. So when I was classified as a PA grade five, um, para rider, it was a bit of a shock to most riders they've going, no, no, no, no, this can't, you've only got a fused ankle, you know, really that's happened. We don't like this, you know? Um, then I had other people, obviously a lot of support as well, but I believe that the reason I, well, I was classified and I can talk about the classification a little later on, but I was classified and I thought, look, I'm going to take this opportunity, um, that, you know, maybe I will never ever be able to compete at an able body, um, uh, Olympics or wheelchair and in classified, um, legitimately bought legitimately international, um, person classifier, not out of my own country, they're flown in from country. I'll just do it, you know, and I had first famous and I did it. Um, it was so exciting to do it. Um, we, we went into Holland first into a training camp and that was really difficult. I'll be honest. Um, the facilities weren't very good there. Um, there's a, I'm not going to put a golden spin on any of that. That was, wasn't very good at all. Um, I've gotta say, um, we'll let down a bit there. Um, and then, um, we, I moved to animate van Cortes place. Um, she was amazing. She took me on and said, look, come on over to my facilities. And I spent time there training, um, not without a mate, just myself. And then we came together and we flew back over or we flew to Rio. Um, Rio was incredible. It was scary. And um, everyone's going, why, why was it so scary? Well, the military was quite quite strong there and because they were what's it called? Um, they, the government was massive. They had a messy problem over there. Yeah. Yeah. So we flew in the middle,

Natasha (32:20):

Of all of that. We're here to go round in circle on our horses.

Lisa (32:30):

Going bankrupt and flying into the airport. And, um, and as I've come out the doors there's, um, there's military medics wrapped around them everywhere and you know, typical Australian country, girl, I go straight up to one, get my photo taken with you. So we get on the bus and we've got military all the way around us protecting us on the way to, um, the athlete's village was incredible. I mean, we had, it was every country had their own, um, um, mess building to work out off. Um, I think there was like nine floors on each buildings of quite large and each women, each building had their own swimming pool. So we're in there with all sorts of all the athletes, all the Australian teams from all walks of life. We're in there together. And you would have breakfast, lunch and dinner in the athlete's village, um, with every country sitting at tables and you listen to someone saying, I just had the worst day to day and you'll think, you know, what's happened. Oh, I just came second. And I really, really, really wanted a gold.

Natasha (34:01):

Wow. Yeah.

Lisa (34:06):

Just surreal. Yeah. Oh yeah. And then you couldn't share this. We couldn't, well, we did shower up, but you couldn't go to the toilet and put the toilet paper down the toilet without a, if someone was in, in the shower, because if you flush the toilet with the toilet paper, come up into the shower.

Natasha (34:29):

no, no, no That's good. Okay. Let's get into the horse thing. Were you happy with your tests in the games?

Lisa (34:40):

Oh, I was really thrilled.

Natasha (34:42):

It was a good point. I always, For anyone that goes to something like the games to do, Like, I think there's always be something left on the table if you're like, I could have done so much better. I don't know what happened. So that's, I'm so glad to hear that you did your best and you're yeah, you were really good and your best was fourth. I'm reading.

Lisa (35:03):

That's right.

Natasha (35:04):

How did that make you feel? Cause I think you're super competitive.

Lisa (35:11):

No was shattered. I'll be honest.

Natasha (35:18):

Thank you for being honest. I really appreciate that. You know, it's all the charity. No, I was shattered. Good. Well, lets move on from that, of course you will, but you get to be shattered. Absolutely. Cause I think four is, think, I dunno, I think I might want to become third or fifth.

Lisa (35:33):

you know, and 0.1%. Oh yeah. I wish I was like 3% behind everyone would have been better, but you know, things like, you know, I didn't, it brings you back into perspective the whole thing in perspective, because I'm having lunch after my first test and I hear like, there was probably a hundred different countries in that in a day instead having lunch together at the time and I hear this Aussie Aussie Aussie, where's this coming from? Where's this voice coming from, I turn around and here's his little man who's gorgeous. He would have been about, I don't know, in his twenties, I'm guessing. Um, I can't really what country it was from. And he was in a wheelchair and he saying, and he's wanting my attention. I turned around. I said, hi, you know? And he said, he said, you rode that big horse. And I said, yeah, he said, you should have one. Oh, Oh look. It was just so nice.

Natasha (36:52):

Did that fuel a much bigger fire for Tokyo? Like did it, was there or was it like, where are you thinking about Tokyo? Was it just, okay, well at least I've gone and I've done that and I'm not really thinking about it or was it like next time, podiums mine? What was the thinking after that?

Lisa (37:12):

Um, the thinking of did that was, um, uh, got business that I need to attend to. I walked away from this now as, um, an incredible experience that, you know, I cannot thank everyone for getting me there for a start, um, and having such an immense force to be able to ride. Um, and I thought, you know, what if, if the world collapse, like if I never have a horse like this again, and I never have this opportunity again, it's not going to be the end of the world either. I'm big. I had two sides, it I've got an unfinished business, but I also had that in me saying, you've done it, you know, you've done it.

Natasha (38:04):

I think that sounds like such a peaceful balance to have, like we, as humans always need to have something we're working towards, but it's not the be all and end all that your life might have meaning if so. Awesome. All right. So, um, where are you thinking his first famous young enough for Tokyo? Or do we need another horse? What's the plan?

Lisa (38:29):

No, he's just turning 13. So, um, she's I know, right. So she's got a few more years left in an hour and she's had a few Neagley type of, um, injuries because she's, she's done an enormous amount of traveling. So between her and I were, were, uh, both as bad as others.

Natasha (38:53):

Yeah. All right. So that's the plan. So then just take us to four months, four months ago, you had a recent

Lisa (39:03):

I, and it was not her of all horses, the quietest horse I've ever written my whole life. Um, and I had bought her back in, she'd been in for probably three, four months, I suppose, after being out for quite a while. And she was going really well. Um, I normally I'd ride on my own, um, on the property here. And I was very lucky at the time that we had some people moving into the cottage, which is all about 50 meters away from my Raina that I rent out and someone was moving in there. And, um, and so there was someone he luckily, um, anyway, I'm on the arena with her and at times she, she can get a bit fussy in the mouth when I'm going to do a rainbow. And I said, Oh, look, I'll start getting this going again. You know, I've practiced this. Yeah, yeah. So I'm on the edge of the rain I've stopped. I've asked you to reign back and I've got a Kickboard that's about knee high that goes around the arena and she's down on her tongue. We think that's what's happened and she's frightened herself and she's gone back even like quite fast and crooked. And she's put her outside, back leg over the Kickboard of the arena and gone into the gully that I've got that takes the water off the arena and, and down the paddock. And she's gone into this fall and sideways and collapsed on top of me, um, and, and got caught in this gully and she's laid on my pelvis and she smashed my, um, I couldn't feel my legs, which was quite frightening. Um, she, she smashed my, um, pelvis in several spots, um, my sacred, my spine, um, and, um, several of the other pieces of me. Um, and I ended up in, um, in hospital for several months. Yeah.

Natasha (41:13):

And are you riding now?

Lisa (41:16):

Yes. So the exciting thing is I've got two friends or two in particular friends that are very strong bond and said, you are not getting back on that big day. She's 18. And getting back on her straight away, we're going to give you an older, a stock horse. It's lot narrow and easy to get on. So I rode her for a few days and, um, and I'm back on first famous now. Yeah. Can to yesterday for the first time, um,

Natasha (41:45):

Congratulations, you are Phenomenal. I take my hat. I love your mindset. As you said, they are big animals and things can go wrong, but the likelihood of them going you've, you've riden your whole life, Literally like since you were two and, And yes, it's so unfortunate. Two big accidents have happened, but compared to how many million rods you've had, where nothing happened, I think your mindset around people would go and cars every day. And occasionally there are accidents. That's just the reality. Um, and as you said, it is a mindset thing. So I can only imagine what it felt like to swing your leg over again, um, a couple of months ago, whenever you, yeah. Which just attests to how strong you are and how strong minded you are. And, um, um, I'm just in awe. So huge love and congratulations for just overcoming that hurdle. Cause, um, does it, did you ever, did you have a pity party? Like I, if something, I have a pity party, I'm only allowed one hour, but I go to town on that hour. Did you have one of them in the house? Well, why, why me? Why.

Lisa (42:59):

I'm only human like everyone. And I, I, I can't tell you how low I got at time. Um, and every day, every single day, my husband would come into me. Maybe, maybe he missed two out of five months or four months of me being in hospital and he'd come in with his iPad and we'd sit, we will all sit him down and he would sit with me and we'd watch a movie and he would listen to me and he would help me. And, um, and my daughter, you know, she's a boarding school and she'd ring me and she'd be at home talking to me. And, um, the friends and the questions centered head, the bride, the Ryan's that y'all came and saw me that lots of friends came and sure, I did have some really low days. There is no doubt about that because the doctors, doctors would say to me, the surgeons will say to me, we don't know whether you will walk again. We don't know whether you thought let alone ride again. We don't know whether we went out and walk again,

Natasha (44:12):

Walking isn't on the table, let alone riding. That's huge. Yeah.

Lisa (44:16):

Yeah. Um, well putting me in a wheelchair and, um, lifting me with a, um, a big lift, like a, um, a crane type into the water, um, every day to get the circulation going and I'd bedsores, you know, and all the above. Um, but it was, she kind of, you know, I'd lay in bed and I couldn't move my legs. And so I would lay there and say, you're going to move and I'd get a tiny little feel and I'd move it. And eventually I'd be able to lift it off the bed a little bit, but you know, even now I, I can't with my leg, my right leg up properly. But, um, it's, you know, there was so many people in there that were dying of cancer or had lost limbs, or you kind of go together.

Natasha (45:14):

Wow. Yeah, you are amazing. And you're absolutely right. It is that perspective and it is, it can be so much worse. So you just get any other advice. Um, things like having a support network, friends, family really helped you, um, and was one of those things to, to, you know, get you through it. Anything else that you did or anything else that you listened to, or a mantra that you said to yourself, um, seems like it's just your blunt determination going to move my leg. I can just pitch you in that heart. It's nothing else to do in that hospital bed.

Lisa (45:54):

I think just, um, you know, you're laying in there and, um, you don't have any choice. You feel sorry for yourself, you know, really who else is going to feel sorry for you, you know? Um, and you don't need to go down that line. I mean, you sure, there's going to be times where you go, God, you know, what am I doing here? You know? But there was never, ever, there was never a moment I can, I can think of at the moment that I ever said to myself, I'd never get on a horse. Um, there was never that doubt in my mind. Um, I, I, I don't know what to be honest, other than friends and family. The only thing that I did, I did say to everyone was don't come and visit me with negativity.

Natasha (46:50):

Oh good on you to have that boundary good on you.

Lisa (46:55):

Yeah. And I, I suppose that's hard for a lot of people because people love you and they wanted you to, you know, get, you know, what do you need to understand that you don't normally ever be on? You know? And I said, no, no, no, no, no, look, let's, let's look at the positives here. You know, I'm starting to move and you know, and you go through, but don't come to me with negativity. You might think, but don't say it.

Natasha (47:34):

I love it. And that is that beautiful respect rock on with all your opinions, just don't share them with me, not interested. And you've really cultivated your own reality, which was you were going to walk and you were going to ride again. And that became your reality. And I think that's so important that people do. And I don't know if people listening, going through, obviously we have a virus down in Victoria we're in and locked down. There's a lot of things going on. There's a lot of people losing things and, and, and in really stressful situations. But I think how hopefully having an experience of listening to you, they can understand that, um, bad things can happen, but it is how you shape your reality and that positivity and that determination of, well, I can't control everything, but I can control while I lie here. I can control what I think. And I can con I've got times I'm going to work on moving my leg or whatever it is. And it seems like,

Lisa (48:31):

and there's a light at the end of the tunnel, you know, this Covid thing. It's really, and especially everyone from Victoria, we are thinking of you all there, hope they'd be staying safe, um, to, you know, but you know, we will get through this. It will get better. We'll try it. We'll get better. Um, we will be back all together, riding again, and it will get better.

Natasha (48:57):

I love it. And again, for everyone not able to see your gorgeous face, like again, you lit up saying, we're all gonna ride together. I think you are an absolute beacon of positivity and optimism. Not, and I don't like the word. Maybe I shouldn't have said positivity. I like optimism. Cause it's not like your everything's great. Everything's fine. We're aware of the reality. We're aware it can be bad or whatever it is. But as you said, looking out to that future and always knowing that the future is better and broader and we'll be like, this really helps. So thank you so much. So plan is Tokyo 20, 21.

Lisa (49:34):

I hope so. Um, that's the plan. I'm hoping it's even going to be still on honey. I'm like, like it's just with everything happening. Um, you know, the ones again, we just, you ride and you train and you plan for it to be on, but who knows?

Natasha (49:55):

Yeah, exactly. And do you have any sponsors accompanies or people that support you that you would like to thank today?

Lisa (50:03):

Oh, foresight. Um, they are just, I, they were my first sponsors when I bought first famous out. Um, so I've been using foresight, um, for, with my horses. We've got six horses on foresight and they sponsor all my horses, um, including my daughter's camp drafters and cutting horses. She's, she's into a bit of cutting. Um, so, um, full site, um, I've seen seriously, um, and honestly some amazing things. I mean, if you've got a whole list, it's completely riddled with arthritis. It's not going to fix it. Yes. But it's going to is lying. It's certainly going to make it more comfortable. And I've actually started the human grade of the tablet about three months ago.

Natasha (50:54):

It's a shame. You can't have it, but you can. That's great.

Lisa (51:03):

Um, that they they've bought out and it's, it's very good. It takes a couple of months. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. But it's good. So, yeah. But thank you, foresight. Yeah.

Natasha (51:16):

Love it. Love it. Excellent. Anything else you'd like to share with the community? Any passing message or thoughts, or have you said everything that you've got in your head that you want to share?

Lisa (51:29):

I think I've said, look, I, if anyone's got any questions or, um, I'm always open on Facebook, I'm on Facebook. Um, for anyone who wants to answer, ask any questions about anything, um,

Natasha (51:42):

are you a coach? What's your occupation?

Lisa (51:47):

I teach, I do teach quite a lot and I love my teaching. I just love it. So, Oh shit.

Natasha (51:59):

Your whole face changes. Like you have a smile and then you have a smile for the things you really love. You really love coaching.

Lisa (52:05):

I love it because I've been, I've been blessed to, um, you know, to, to have been trained by some amazing trainers. And I'd love to share that with other people. Yeah. Yeah.

Natasha (52:18):

Okay. So if someone wants to be coached by you, if someone wants to just reach out and ask you any questions, um, they can find you on Facebook, put your Facebook thingy in the show notes. Um, have we forgotten everything or are we good? Did we get everything? Oh, good. Good. Well, thank you so much. I've had such a pleasure to listen to your story. I'm totally inspired and I love your mindset. I love your thinking. It's no wonder at all the results that you've created in your life and I'm so fingers crossed for Tokyo next year.

Lisa (52:53):

Thank you so much guys. And I really appreciate your support and, um, you know, and, and really keeps supporting para Australia as well. Cause we've, we've got some big goals and I'm sure we're going to kick them.

Natasha (53:05):

Love it. If you enjoyed today's episode and you want more information, including the transcription, head over to your writing success.com backslash podcast, there you'll find all our other podcasts, lots of cool manuals there for you. Lots of cool other transcriptions, heaps of free resources there for you. Just go to your writing success.com backslash podcast, to get that all and make sure you hit the subscribe button. So you never miss an episode.

Podcast Episode 20: The Reasons Behind Your Fears Of Riding - Live Coaching

In this podcast, Natasha does a live fearless coaching session with Katie. Katie has been struggling with the fear of riding one of her horses. When Natasha gets to the real reason behind this fear and that it has nothing to do with riding it all, the results will shock you.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):

Well, cool. Cool. How are we?

Katie (00:03):

Brilliant. Thank you. How are you?

Natasha (00:05):

I'm good. What time is it over in? It's England. Isn't it?

Katie (00:10):

English six. O'clock in the morning. So it'smorning. Yep.

Natasha (00:15):

Okay. Awesome. Let me just turn my, um, okay, so Katie, is that what you want me to?

Katie (00:26):

Yes. Yep. Perfect.

Natasha (00:28):

No, in particular, some people go, yeah. Oh no. I'm going to hide it when you use that part of my name or beautiful. Cool. Why are we having this conversation? What's going on?

Katie (00:40):

So everything on the program, Tash makes 100% sense. I love it. It's logical. It works, I still can't work it out for me. I have no idea why I'm frightened. I keep, I go deeper. I go lighter. I think about it. I sit with it. It just, I've got no idea. I've got three horses that I ride. Two of them. I've fallen off the heap of times and I mean, they're easy, but they're hotter. I'm not frightened of them. I've got a young horse who is the easiest, nicest, most beautiful, brilliant horse. Absolutely terrified to ride him. And I've got no idea why.

Natasha (01:22):

Cool. No worries. So when did you join the program?

Katie (01:27):

Well, what about two months ago? I think.

Natasha (01:30):

Yep. And have you gone through the whole thing?

Katie (01:32):

Gone through the whole thing and from the beginning? Because it was still sitting with me then I didn't actually know what I was frightened of.

Natasha (01:41):

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. All right. Um, so where did you get to when you were doing the exercises? Did you, did you just were stuck there, but there was no way on that?

Katie (01:54):

No, no, no. So I've tried all of them. Um, and like I say, I love all of them, you know, the, the anchoring, I sound quite competent person in other areas of my life, you know? So that, that was a good one. And I can remember times when, you know, have been confident that it just, it doesn't, it doesn't stick with me if I'm on it, you know, I get that and I have the mindset and I've got the character and I've got everything and I get on the horse. And if I'm honest, he doesn't even do anything. And I just get this absolute funny tummy that like, can't turn into excitement even though, you know, I know that it is exactly the same. Exactly.

Natasha (02:34):

So, um, and it's only with this horse, not on the others it's on just this one.

Katie (02:38):

Yep. Yep. Yep.

Natasha (02:40):

Okay. Um, so how do you know that it's time to get frightened? Is it before you put your foot in the stirrup? Is it when you saddle him? When is it time to get frightened.

Katie (02:55):

Time to get frightened? So what he does is be working for 10, 15 minutes and his resistance to doing what we're asking him is to, is to kind of back off my leg, come right up underneath me, drop the contact and like stop going forwards, but start going on the spot. He's never done anything after that, but that's that I then think, okay, something's going to happen now.

Natasha (03:22):

Okay. So are you feeling up until that point? Complete confidence.

Katie (03:27):

90% confidence.

Natasha (03:29):

Okay. So if he never stopped, backed off and stopped and went behind your leg, you would not need to talk to me like you feel? No. Okay. So, so how do you know when it's time to get frightened? How do you, when does it start?

Katie (03:48):

I guess when I'm riding him, like I said, I'm 90% positive. I'm not a hundred percent and that's, that's not good enough. You know, I was always 110% confident for years and years and years. And I don't know what changed that. So I guess it's when I get on him, if we're honest.

Natasha (04:05):

Okay. But you do know, so sorry. Do you don't know what changed that, but do you know when it changed?

Katie (04:13):


Natasha (04:16):

Yes you do, You have to, but you have to know. Is it like it was, it was there. And was it there last Christmas?

Katie (04:23):


Natasha (04:24):

Okay. Was it there the Christmas before?

Katie (04:31):

I'd say no, I wasn't riding him then. So I'd say no.

Natasha (04:36):

yep. Okay. Um, so you're 110% confident, two Christmases ago on every horse that you ride at that point. And then tell me when you've got this horse.

Katie (04:50):

So we bred him and I broke him in last summer.

Natasha (04:56):

Okay. And the very first time that you sat on him, well, how were you feeling?

Katie (05:02):

Nervous. Really nervous.

Natasha (05:04):

Okay. So you knew the, what about working with him? Breaking him in? Were you nervous?

Katie (05:10):

No, not at all.

Natasha (05:11):

Okay. So everything's hunky Dory. So two Christmases ago, you don't have this, then come summer, you start breaking in this horse. You don't have this, you're breaking him in. Everything's fine. And it's the very first ride that you have to do? You're nervous.

Katie (05:26):


Natasha (05:27):

Okay. And is that the same field? How's that feeling? Um, gotten bigger, less to, to now, like, did it go up and now it's on the way down again? Has it just stayed the same?

Katie (05:43):

I think it's the same overall, depending on what he's doing, I'm fine because it's easy and there's no wind. You say there's none of these things that we make stories about and then something happens and then I just get that.

Natasha (06:00):

Okay. And, um, did he ever do anything, have you ever fallen off him?

Katie (06:05):


Natasha (06:05):

Yep. Great. Okay. Um, and I think back to that time, when you first started breaking him in, had you read an article that young horses were dangerous? Had you seen someone else, um, have an accident? Had you, um, heard something that's.

Katie (06:23):

no, I mean, I spent 10 years breaking in resources, you know, so I'm gonna know all about it and I hadn't read anything or seen anything different.

Natasha (06:34):

What colour is he?

Katie (06:38):

Bay, Dark Bay.

Natasha (06:38):

What colour are your others?

Katie (06:38):

One is chestnut and one is bay

Natasha (06:42):

Okay, I'm so. It, I guess it really doesn't even matter. I shouldn't have even asked the question why I'm like trying to pinpoint why your brain has coded that this horse is dangerous, but your brain has coded this horse is dangerous and you don't need to figure out why.

Katie (07:00):

Okay. That's a relief.

Natasha (07:03):

Because the fact is it definitely does. Like anytime I come around it, I'm checking. You know? Does it happen at this time? Does it happen? Yeah, pretty much like, like your brain. Soif I what's the horse's name?

Katie (07:14):


Natasha (07:14):


Katie (07:16):

Yup. Yup.

Natasha (07:16):

So if I say the word Jasper, what word comes to mind?

Katie (07:22):

Love, I love him so much.

Natasha (07:22):

what else?

Katie (07:28):

Power he is very powerful.

Natasha (07:32):

Um, do you think he's more powerful than any other horse you've riden?

Katie (07:35):

Yeah, definitely.

Natasha (07:37):

And is power a scary thing?

Katie (07:40):

No. I think if you can, if you have it and you can contain it, it's amazing.

Natasha (07:45):

Yep. Okay. Um, okay. So I've asked you three times. What does Jasper mean? And none of those things are anything to be scared of?

Katie (07:56):


Natasha (07:57):

So do you have, so normally, like if I say the word chocolate cake, what do you say?

Katie (08:05):

honestly I don't like it. So yuck.

Natasha (08:07):

No, that's fine. Chocolate cake. You don't like it. Tell me something you do like,

Katie (08:12):

um, Crisps.

Natasha (08:17):

Yep. So crisps is, I like it. Yeah. So if I, um, come over to your house and I have crisps and chocolate cake and I say, Oh, are you hungry? What kind of food? Which one of these do you want to eat? What, what do you grab.

Katie (08:33):


Natasha (08:34):

Yeah. Why?

Katie (08:36):

Because I really like them.

Natasha (08:38):

How do you know? You really liked them?

Katie (08:43):

Because I enjoy them when I need them. I've had them before and it's been good.

Natasha (08:46):

Yeah. So you are making a decision based on your past memory, teaching you and telling you in any future moment. Take that option. Cause it's a good one. Now God knows who were insulting, but someone cooked you a shitty chocolate cake somewhere along the line. And you learned that ain't good shit. Now you agree. If I knock you over on the head and you wake up and you have amnesia, you have no idea that your name, Katie, you have no idea. How about you? I have no idea or anything and I present you a chocolate cake. And Crips do you think you have got a 50, 50 chance of grabbing one or the other because you literally have no, it's literally just going to be based on your actual experience with reality and self, the chocolate cake looked beautiful and the crisps and to be fair crisps probably don't look that fancy. Would you agree someone with amnesia will probably choose the chocolate cake and give that a go. Cause I have no idea which one is going to be, but that's interesting. Great. Okay. So we make decisions in the present based on what our brain tells us about these things. And our brain can only tell us about these things based on what happened in the past. So like I said, we don't need to know why your brain says Jasper could die. I'm assuming it's, if you're feeling nervousness, it's could die, could get hurt that something uncertain could happen, bad things could happen. Whatever the pattern is. You've got that. When I say Jasper again, if I hit you over the head with a, um, a and you became amnesia become, I give you amnesia again, you most, you either will go. You most likely would go. I don't want to ride a horse. Cause you don't know if you can. Um, but maybe the, the, you know, the bit that isn't based on memory, you're like one of those things they look cool. Can I go? And Pat them and you'll instantly be drawn to them. Not based on a memory that they good, but based on just who you are, that's a good, you know, and then you're going to build new memories. You're going to start riding and you're going to go, Oh, this is fun. Or this is fit. So this feels great. Or this feels out of control. I don't like this. You're going to get, you know, create new neural pathways and new understandings of what riding is, great with me so far.

Katie (11:18):

Yep, Sure.

Natasha (11:18):

Okay. So I, now all we've got to do is rewire right now your brain says Jasper is dangerous or Jesper. Is that like, do you know which one it is? What's what is the, what is the code?

Katie (11:30):

Let's say dangerous. Cause he is not bad. He's kind, he's easy. Like this is my problem.

Natasha (11:36):

Yep. So Jasper is dangerous. Okay. And how would you want it to be? What do you want to believe about the experience?

Katie (11:45):

The reality that he's kind and easy and I've got this and it's fun and I'm relaxed and when I'm relaxed, he's relaxed and it's all great.

Natasha (11:57):

Great. Great. Okay, cool. Um, so normally then your Brian just doesn't run like a little pattern. Like Jasper is dangerous. Normally comes with some kind of picture or some kind of video or some kind of other stuff going on. Do you know what your brain does to tell you that this is a certain experience?

Katie (12:27):

I don't, to be honest, I really don't. When I get on here, I envisage the absolute perfect drive every time and it pretty much is perfect until it goes off.

Natasha (12:40):

Yup. So in order for you to get to the next day, do you need to become more aware of what your brain is doing in order for you to feel 90% confident you can be planning the perfect ride, but there half there would have to be in that. And is it a video that you show yourself or is it pictures,

Katie (13:07):


Natasha (13:09):

good. In order for you to feel 90% confident there's going to be a black spot or there's going to be something that tells you something might happen.

Katie (13:25):

I guess it's that moment where he just drops behind the contact and stop stops going forward. It's more of a feeling, but I can see it as well. If I look for it, I can see.

Natasha (13:36):

Yeah. Okay. So when you get that feeling and that's, that's what I said at the very start of this call, I said, so you don't have a problem until this happens. And you said, no, I do have a problem because I'm 90%. So it either is, or it isn't, if you can go, well, I can cope with the 90% then that's fine. But I feel the reason you feel the 90% is because you're waiting for the shoe to drop.

Katie (13:58):

Yes. Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Natasha (14:00):

Yep. But your brain knows that it has to wait for the shoe to drop. And the only way it knows that is if you're coding it that way, like I said, the video has to have a bit where you, the video stops, that's where the anxiety comes from, because why is the video paused? Or why is there? I can't see that because if you could literally see the perfect ride from start to finish, you would feel a hundred percent. So there's got to be a little matrix glitch or something in there. That's the first bit would you have to get rid of it. You have to be like, I see the perfect ride. I see me get on. I see me walk. I see me trot. I see me canter. I see me smile. I see me get off. Like, and that's the ride. And so as I'm talking to you, do you think that there is a little bit that is missing that?

Katie (14:51):

Yeah. I mean the must be like you say the absolute, he must be. That's what I see before I get on there. I guess I'm triggered by all the ridiculous things. Like he's, like you said, so if it's windy, I'm waiting for it. If the chickens are running all over the arena, I'm waiting for it.

Natasha (15:07):

Okay. So let's go back to that's the 90, let's go back to the big problem when there is a problem. So when, um, how did you know that? Um, that feeling meant something bad?

Katie (15:27):

I don't and I'm trying to make it mean something good. As you say, it means both all the time. Doesn't it? Maybe it is excitement, But I'm not sure how I know it's bad. I mean, it happens before. I guess it's happened before I pull it off, but I've riden a lot more time to not pull it off.

Natasha (15:51):

Okay. So you have fallen off him?

Katie (15:55):

No, him, I mean, this is the others,

Natasha (15:57):

but it doesn't matter. So if it's windy and the chickens are on the arena, you'll still ride the other three.

Katie (16:03):

Yeah. Yeah, sure. I mean, I was still ride him, but I'll just be terrified.

Natasha (16:06):

Yeah. But you will not even be thinking of the chickens on the other three and not be feeling anything different. Yeah. Yeah. I love your brain. It's so cool.

Katie (16:17):

I'm glad you think so.

Natasha (16:21):

Well, it's just, you've just got to figure it out. You've just got to go. How I'm. So like when you put your foot in the stirrup on the other ones, you have to be like, what am I showing myself? What am I telling myself? What am I hearing? What am I noticing? What am I filtering? It's it's you've got, and you've got to love your brain. You've got to love that part of you because it's like, I get that. You're looking after me here. I get that your being awesome right now, trying to keep me safe. I just don't get it. So I'm going to, and it's, and it know, that's what I would say to my brain. And I'd be like, so I'm going to play spot the difference because I'm very, very clear. I like I'm on a Bay, you've got a horse, you've got a bay horse that you're happy to ride in the wind in the, um, that you have at your brain, which you have fallen off and you don't feel any. And you've got a bay that you have not fallen off, um, that is going to be riden in the same condition. But you've just, your brain says, this is a dangerous situation. Yeah. Yeah. So it's literally like at case. So do you reckon you could get up both of those pitches for me right now? You can close your eyes if you want.

Katie (17:29):

Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Natasha (17:32):

So close your eyes and bring up the good Bay first. Oh, sorry. The naughty Bay that got you off, but, um, that you feel awesome on.

Katie (17:40):


Natasha (17:41):

Okay. And now bring up Jasper and tell me what looks different.

Katie (17:49):

I'm a lot higher on Jesper.

Natasha (17:52):


Katie (17:54):

And there is a, there's a lot more power. The naughty Bay is tiny and he's quite ease, quite huge. But for me, I'm a small person.

Natasha (18:06):

and there's no power at the hind legs. Like doing nothing on this tiny little horse on the little one.

Katie (18:12):

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, he's, he's a little racehorse and so she just kind of sprinkles along. So there's a lot of power, but it feels very different.

Natasha (18:20):

Yeah. Okay. So there's a feeling that's different. Yeah. And there's a, there's a, there's a height difference. What else? What else is different? Are they both in color?

Katie (18:30):

Yeah. Yeah. Both in colour.

Natasha (18:31):

Do they both have a frame around it?

Katie (18:33):

No framework around either.

Natasha (18:35):

Yep. Um, do, does one go faster than the other?

Katie (18:43):

Uh, the little one goes faster, but I think because she moves in a very different way. Like she kind of squiggles along quicker. So we've, we'd going into faster.

Natasha (18:53):

Any noises that are important with any of the pitches.

Katie (18:58):

Yeah. I'd say the tree, the trees are always crackling the bottom. Like they Creek, as you go faster, the chickens are shouting.

Natasha (19:06):

and that's in both pitches.

Katie (19:08):

Yeah. Both. It is quite well. It's quite quiet. But when I'm riding is.

Natasha (19:11):

and what are you telling yourself when you're riding the tiny horse?

Katie (19:19):

Mmm. So usually we are at school, I'm just warming up with her, so she she's race horse, so she's going to go out galloping and I'm thinking, okay, we're going to get out of his shoes. Like when did he done his hair? And then we can go, go and do something else. Yeah. I'm gonna, I really want to dressage with him. So we're, we're in practicing. Um, and I'm kind of thinking, okay, what, what are we doing next? What's next one.

Natasha (19:47):

Yup. Okay. You can open your eyes. What's your goal with Jasper.

Katie (19:56):

to be really good at dressage.

Natasha (19:59):

And you go with the tiny one.

Katie (20:02):

to win a race for that. So that's, I'll just try now,

Natasha (20:10):

what is, this is nothing to do with fear and everything to do with the expectation that you have of yourself.

Katie (20:16):

So yeah, that would make a lot of sense. And that would really be it.

Natasha (20:24):

Is it okay if you totally fuck Jesper up? Like you fuck up the training? Not it's not. Okay. What about if the fucker, is it okay to fuck up the training on tiny on that little, on the other one? Not really, but if not, it's not a tie to fuck up any of them, but if you were to fuck up one, I'm a fairy godmother and I, you can fuck up one. Which one do you fuck up?

Katie (20:55):

That's be hard. That would be a real hard call. And this might be it. Sorry, say that again. Like I'm not a fucking up person this day.

Natasha (21:07):

Yeah. I was going to say so like I was going to say, what's your job? Is this your job?

Katie (21:11):

No, no. It was my job for a lot of years, but I'm a nurse now.

Natasha (21:16):

Hmm. I'm so glad your personalities go into nursing. Don't fuck up the drug dose. Yeah. You don't want me as a nurse? Let me tell you that. I didn't think it was that important. Yeah. Okay. So you seek out opportunities to have to be perfect. Yep. Yep. Cause in your profession, if you're not perfect, someone could die.

Katie (21:51):

Yeah, exactly.

Natasha (21:52):

Yep. Do you like that? Do you, and I think you get a lot of like that lights you up is that right? Is it's pressure or, um, uh, expectation that you like, you bring me, I think you can sense that you should have that responsibility. Don't give it to Natasha things could go wrong. Give it to me. I'll make sure things are okay. Yeah. So then when you were on him Jasper and you don't know what you should do or, um, uh, yet you get to a point in the training, which every human being goes through and there's like, Ooh, should I kick it? Should I go back to walk? Should I, yeah, whatever the question becomes, what terrifies you more than anything is choosing wrong and getting it wrong.

Katie (22:42):

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think that's it. Okay.

Natasha (22:49):

I mean, having that, you're getting it wrong all the time. What would it take to give yourself the permission to explore and learn and play and, and just enjoy the process completely opposite of work. Do not take anything of what we're going to put into riding into work. Like it's just, just, just shocking. So everything about what we're talking about is so awesome for that job because you come up and play with medical doses and you can't just go to see what the day brings. You know, maybe it's just none of that in that place, but in this place it needs your personality completely transformed.

Katie (23:46):

Yeah. Yeah. It really does. It really does. I guess, give me the mission to do that is knowing it would get me to the end point or being better.

Natasha (23:59):

Do you, you obviously have a lot of confidence in your skill to be able to train horses to race. Is that correct?

Katie (24:07):

Oh yeah. Yeah, absolutely. For that. Yes. Yeah.

Natasha (24:11):

Um, so yeah, like, so if I said, Oh, I think I've got this horse. I think it can run quick. Would you be like, send it to me? I'm really good at that. Yeah, sure. Wow. Okay. Yeah, I would, I would train the horse. I'd be like, Nope, no, medium caner is as fast as we go stop, slow down, slow down. I would be, I would definitely not try to get a horse to ride. So that's amazing. You've got a really good skill and a really good, and I assume that's just come from so many years, you understand the foundation and the training and the building blocks that you have to do to get to that end point.

Katie (24:51):

Yeah. It's just doing it. You know, like it's not special. If you do anything for the 25 years, you you're better at that when you start it to, right.

Natasha (24:59):

Yes. So tell me, how did you feel in your first year.

Katie (25:06):

of riding ?

Natasha (25:07):

when you're, cause you don't know how to train a race horse all this and they've screaming at you. Go go. And you're like, wow.

Katie (25:14):

I loved it. I mean, I was really young and I think that does make a bit of a difference. Is that yeah.

Natasha (25:21):

Okay. So what's made you now decide you want to become a dressage rider because you love it. Cause you like, when you talk about the race and you're like, I loved it. What about, tell me about dressage.

Katie (25:34):

Yeah. So I don't know if I love it because I haven't done it yet. Um, but the guy I got to help me start off Jesper is really, really experienced, amazing. They just printed thoroughbred and he said, he's, he's too slow. He won't do anything. He said, however, he moved beautifully. You said, why don't you do dressage? And I thought, yeah, that, that sounds like fun. In all honesty Tash. I've got no idea. I've never done it.

Natasha (26:03):

How do you know you even want to do it? It hasn't sounded so fun. Like so far.

Katie (26:10):

I don't know. I don't know this. I, you know, I haven't, but when, when it's going right, I enjoy it. I love the idea of going out. Although the thought of riding him with other horses completely, I mean just sends me into an absolute mess. So I don't know is the honest idea, but it's what I'm is what I'm thinking at the moment.

Natasha (26:31):

and why, how come it can't just be okay for you to it's thought. So you're saying the biggest fear comes when he backs off and he stops because now I'm pretty sure what goes through your head. Tell me what goes through your head.

Katie (26:47):

I think when they, I mean, I always say they're going forwards. They can't do anything too bad. Right? If they're going forwards and they buck, they're still going forward, you've missed it. You're going through, they go forwards. They're not going to stand up, but they're going forwards and they're shy. They're still going forward. Nothing happens. I think that feeling of backing up and almost just like, you know, jogging on the spot, you know, I'd love to serve as a PR, but it's not quite that good. You just backed off and there's nothing. There's nothing. If you're not going forward. Well, anything could happen is my feeling. I think so.

Natasha (27:22):

Remember at the start of this call, I was like, what scares you? Or like, I don't know. Yeah. Now do you know?

Katie (27:29):

Yeah. I'm getting that. Yeah.

Natasha (27:32):

So what would you say now? What's your modified answer? Like you said, it's not the fine, it's not your final answer. Lock it in. It's just, what's your modified answer.

Katie (27:40):

No, no. Going forward because it opens the possibility to something else happening.

Natasha (27:45):

What is that? Something else?

Katie (27:48):

Maybe, maybe a buck or a leap. I mean, he does leave a lot now I'm sitting here. I'm not on him. I'm like, it's not a problem when I'm on him. It is a problem. I don't like it, but well, it doesn't end. So,

Natasha (28:06):

But it's not like you're scared of a horse that bucks or scared of horse that leaps. So what is, what is if he bucks or if he likes, what is it that scares you?

Katie (28:19):

I get, I think it's falling off and fucking up.

Natasha (28:23):

Yeah. But you've fallen off before.

Katie (28:27):

Yeah. But I guess, you know, in your race, it's very different to, if you fall off, then if you pull off your race, you know, it's like game over. People fall off all the time. People don't tend to fall off troting down the center line in a dressage arena.

Natasha (28:44):

Do you just want to repeat what you just said so you can hear how illogical it sounds.

Katie (28:49):

Yeah. So it is a logical racing, I guess, falling off is, is par for the course. It happens all the time. It's not a big issue. I mean, I've gone to watch, dressage, to learn and to see about it. I haven't seen anyone. I don't want that to be thing.

Natasha (29:08):

Cause if it was you, what would that mean?

Katie (29:11):

I fucked up big time.

Natasha (29:16):

I can say that if I say Oh, okay. But it's because others didn't okay. Yeah. But when no one's watching you ride, you're still scared of fucking up.

Katie (29:31):

Yeah. That's true.

Natasha (29:48):

It's, it's really, I can't play with this hindering point too much because all of your job and because of, it's a really awesome skill to have this, this, this commitment to, I must know all the steps and I must, um, therefore execute those steps perfectly. Like there's a, there's a lot of merit in that. Um, the fact that you rode resources when you were young, um, and as you said, you just enjoyed probably the speed and the fun of it. And then you developed skill along the way. And I feel you've got so much permission in your racing world, as you said, everyone falls off. If I fall, if I don't fall off, I'm weird. So I better fall off. Um, yeah. Like I feel that your brain's doing that. Like the first thing you said to me on the call was like, I have fallen off all the time and I was like, wow. Like I wouldn't even like, like falling off for me is a big thing. I don't really want to fall off. I'm sure I've done it. Um, and it hurts. So not a fun thing, but you're like fall off all the time. Okay. Alright. Cause that's in the world. You're used to it. That's normal. Now you've decided for some reason that you, I would say that you have to enter this world. I feel that you don't think it's your choice. You're like, I have to, because my horse I've been told that my horse, well, you know, he's not gonna win you anything he's, he's slow. So what are we going to do with this horse? If we don't turn into a dressage, so the minute we have to do something, there's more pressure anyway. Yeah. Yeah. So I feel that you should definitely give yourself the permission to entertain the idea. There's five other things I could do with him. I could hunt him. I could sell him. I could try and make him into a showdown. I could do dressage. I could, um, just to have him as my trail ride horse, like give yourself permission to brainwave other things you could do with him. So you don't have to do this cause I'm sure he's lovely. And I'm sure he's amazing, but, and I'm sure he, he could be an amazing dressage but he's not totally. Yeah. If he doesn't go into the dressage Korea, he is not the first horse that was going to get a hundred percent. So it's like, okay, there's no pressure here. It's not like I'm doing the world a disservice by not bringing him to the dressage world because he was going to be the a hundred percent horse. So it's totally your choice. You do what you want when you want, how you want. And I just want, that's the first step that you need to be like, cool. Okay. Then it's like, once you've gone through that step, you might go. You're like, I really want to, I choose to do dressage with him. I want to do that. And then when you get to, there you go. Okay. So when you get to the backoff and the stop, yes. You're scared of falling off because no, Dre, you haven't seen a dressage, out to fall off. But secondly, I think there's something a bit before that, that you're not even scared of the falloff. And I think you say something to yourself that terrifies you. Do you think, you know what that is? Like, what do you make it mean when you're riding along and then he backs off and stops. What do you make that mean about your riding, your writing skill and your writing ability and that doesn't sit with you. You can't suck. You've found it. That which I love I've had the most fun playing with this because you don't have a riding fear at all. You have a no, not, not, not like a sucking fear. You literally need to go say hi, I'm Katie. I have a fear of sucking. And so this will show up in other areas of your life. For sure. Yeah. I would. I would think you're not going to like go to a well, you're definitely not going to go to a, make a chocolate cake anyway. But if there was a chance that you could suck at making chocolate cakes, you just wouldn't do it. so how many things in your experience and you not doing and not enjoying because there is a whole lot about there's yes. You have to be proficient and good. Please be a shit hot, awesome nurse. But when it's not life and death, which so many other things aren't, if you do choose to give yourself permission going actually really like sucking it at some stuff. Cause I, I, it's funny. And it's it's um, allows me to, you know, to grow and learn and play and all those kinds of things. Um, then there might be some more joy that you haven't been able to tap into before, but totally your choice. Um, and so then when it comes to this horse, you just need to rewire the brain. When he stops and backs off, you can't make it mean here he goes again. Cause I suck. Cause I can't ride dressage. Cause I don't know what I'm doing. Cause I'm giving him conflicting AIDS because I'm a, I'm a shit rider asked him, he's stopping and insert whatever you want it to make it mean that maybe you should put your hand forward and ride forward and who will go forward again? Because I love, as you said, Oh like the, uh, whatever you said, like the back in the shot, it doesn't matter. Cause they're still going forward. You'll actually be a key kkick arse dressage rider, our dried up, because we also have that rule. Our dressage horses also have to go forward. But within the Gates. Yeah, exactly. So there's, there's the shitty shot. Like, as you said, I'd like to say it's PF, but it's not PF. Okay. Then give me a forward shot. So you're going around. So let's say you try it, you get on him in your trot and he's going one, two, one, two, one, two, two, one two. The minute you feel that first shift, you know, like gear sticks, change that rod with music and he is ride with a metronome ride with something and right above the pace for a month. So the Cantor, he rocks into a beautiful Cantor one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three, right at a bit. One, two, three, one, two, three one two three one two three one two, three. And as you, you can add circles at the training tools at leg yield, but think as you go into the different exercises to up the, the tempo rather than, um, what always happens when you ask for more, they suck back and I can tell you as a dressage, I'll dry them sucking back. And that backing off is so normal. Especially if you ask them them to go into the contact and you just go, it's literally called. Have you heard, have you heard in the dressage terminology of riding the horse through.

Katie (37:12):


Natasha (37:12):

that's all it is. You put pressure on with the hands and they go and you ride them through it. You literally kick him and go go, but you don't really push the rinds. You just go, go and they go through it, lift their back. And there was dressage horse and you won't know what that is. Cause you've never felt it. He won't know what that is cause he's never done it. So you're going to completely suck at it. You're going to completely fuck it up. It's going to be fucking messy and that's okay if you want to play there. And if you go, no, it's not then sell him. Yes, because I definitely don't become a dress out. Draw it out because you're dressage a driver like their address, add riders, like the Charlotte and the Isabelle's are the worst that are like, Oh, I think maybe, maybe just now on maybe slightly getting the dressage thing. It's a life long journey of learning. Um, and, and it doesn't matter. Like I'm, I've been, I am the best rider I've ever been today. Like I'm so much better than I was a year ago. And I feel so much more behind than I did a year ago. Cause the more you learn, the more you go off. Yeah. I know nothing.

New Speaker (38:38):

That's true. I know that. Yeah. Yeah.

New Speaker (38:40):

When we were pony club as well, like I, like, I just remember like my horse was not on the bit and I was like, I'm pretty shit hot. I'm pretty good at it. And then they keep telling you you're on. It has to be through and it has to be connected. It has to be straight. And you're like, Ugh, I was good at that. So yeah. It's your choice. It's your choice. How you play this game of life. It's your choice, how you choose to experience it. But how you're choosing to experience it is what's got you to here because you are so scared of sucking. It's affecting it. And you haven't got that pressure on these other horses because you know, you won't suck because you know, you're good at training them to race, Any questions?

Katie (39:21):

That is 100% make sense.

Natasha (39:25):

So what are you going to do differently? Or what are you going to add? Or what are you going to do as a result of Today?

Katie (39:34):

What am I going to do the next time I get on? What am I going to tash?

Natasha (39:38):

Well, it's up to you, firstly, as I said, there's some questions you need to answer. Do you know what those questions are? No. Okay. So remember I said, firstly, come up with different things that Jasper could do. Yeah. Don't take on that. Other, I feel like that trainer saying he had to become a dressage horse. You just went and he's dressage horse. Like you just did it into your subconscious and that's not everything that he has to be. So firstly go through it and I would think hunting, you would enjoy.

Katie (40:11):

No, I did not go into hunting. Okay. He's not good at jumping tools to deserves. He's amazing. But he's quite slow in trail. Riding hacking is not an option, but I I'm choosing the dressage. I wouldn't begin to. Well, yeah, no.

Natasha (40:37):

So he's not going to be riden or you're you want to, and you choose playing the game of dressage, understanding that it's going to be more for your character building than anything else. Anyway. Yeah. You to learn dressage will be you to learn that it's okay to suck. And that there's enjoyment to be found at perhaps sucking a little bit less than you did a month ago. And that it's fun to be found in the sucking process and that the pressure has to disappear. The minute that pressure comes on, you have to release it. It's not real. Yeah. When you feel that thing, Oh God, I'm talking and fuck off. No one knows. I don't know how to do this. And I'm in quite enjoying learning. Thank you very much. It's like if anyone, um, and I feel like you haven't had that experience. If someone said, Hey, come over. We've got a new, um, Nintendo 64. Is that what they called? I don't know. Or a thingy thingy. Um, he, I have a game controller and you and I will play the game and what will happen? Cause I've never played these games before. I will probably like, I think it's a shooting game. So someone's going to come and shoot me and I'll be dead within five seconds. And the little five year olds or maybe not five ten-year-olds it'd be like, Oh you were so shit at this guy and you just die. And then I'll be like, Oh, well, well how do you shoot? What's this thing and what am I scared of the green man? And what's the point. And as I play in the afternoon, I'm going to last 10 seconds and 15 seconds. Um, if you want to be in that game and you're like, yeah, I just want to get better. Then that's what you want to do. And if you go, no, I don't want to pick up the Nintendo 64 because I'm not going to be able to get it. And the little ten-year-olds going to be better than me then do that. Choose that and go, I know who I am. I know what makes me happy. I know what lights me up in life. And it's fricking rocking at certain things. And that's why I'm choosing to do it, but owning it either way. So knowing has been really useful for you. Cause when you put your foot in the stereotype of Jasper, you going to know what the fear is and whether or not you want to solve that.

Katie (42:51):

Yes, I really do. And I'm confident now having thought about it, sat with it. It's my choice to do dressage. It's a choice and I want to make it fun.

Natasha (43:04):

Great. Then that's all you need. You're good to go. Because what's going to happen is when he stops in bed backs off and stops, your brain's going to go. You sat, this is shit you should be. And you're going to go stop. Like thank God the horses stopped. Cause everything just has to stop and think they there and go and rewire it. I'm glad he stopped. Cause this shows me that I've got to work on my through and work on what I'm doing, you know? And, and I'm thinking he's stopping. It's literally like, can you get a dressage lesson? Yeah, I've got the guy I suggest we do. It is amazing. He yelled at me all the time. I'm so, so lucky. And why did he tell you to do when the horse stops and backs up? So he always just says, you know, you've got to ride in forward, go forward. And you're good at that. I'm not good at that. I hate it. When they say ride more forward, I'm like, we're fine. Just as we are. Let's just keep this.

Katie (44:03):

He doesn't still dead. He's still just going full. It's got all that palace that's coming underneath you that's that's it. Unfortunately you don't get that moment of stationery. You get this moment, I've been growing about three hands and dropping completely behind the contact and just coming right up underneath.

Natasha (44:22):

that's okay. I mean the hind legs are meant to come under and if he's dropped behind the bit, that's fine. Cause that's the last bit of thoroughness. He's going to push it out.

Katie (44:30):

Yep. Yeah, we can do that.

Natasha (44:33):

Yeah. And, and, and go, thank God I can fit. If you can feel behind like come under, you're doing a great job. That's the whole point. So don't make, so you're going, I feel the Heimlich commander. I'm doing it wrong. You suck. No, I'm feeling the home. They come on. God. I'm almost there. If you change the wiring to your associate to I'm almost there. You'll be fine. Yeah. Cool. Can you please email me in a week and let me go.

Katie (45:00):

Yeah, of course I will. Thank you. I really can't. Thank you enough. It was fun. It was really good. I will let you know. Thank you very much.

Natasha (45:09):

Awesome. Have a good day. Bye bye.

Podcast Episode 19: Sharon Jarvis Part 2 - Paralympian Equestrian Medalist

In this podcast, Natasha has the pleasure to speak with Sharon Javis. Sharon is a Paralympic Equestrian, trainer and coach. She has overcome the odds and has a heartwarming story of determination and love for horses and riding.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00:00):

So, Part two with Sharon. we cut off at a cliff hanger. We had some things going on, so, um, yeah. Continue from, from where we were at. Let me know.

Sharon (00:00:12):

Um, yes, so I fractured my FEMA, so that was, um, yeah, just after having done our first competition. And so the doctors at first were like, okay, we're just going to be really conservative with it. Um, so I went onto crutches for eight weeks. Um, they were too scared to do surgery on my legs. So, um, it got to, uh, eight weeks and we started a bit of rehab and I had a doctor's appointment at 10 weeks, um, to see how the healing was going. Um, and I went into that really positive thinking. I was going to be told I could get back on a horse. And then, um, just to be told that the leg just really hadn't healed visually at all. So, um, They said, okay, you've got a couple of options. We can just keep going week by week and see if it starts healing. Um, or we could do try surgery. Um, we can't guarantee exactly what will happen if it goes to plan. We'll let you get back on a horse, um, after three weeks, if you can handle it. Um, and then if it doesn't go to plan, you know, then we can't guarantee, you know, when you'd get back on a horse.

Natasha (00:01:32):

Talk me through how you make a decision like that. Cause this is now one of the biggest decisions that you get to make and you were seven, it was more, your parents were making decisions and they were coping and doing the best they could now, it's you, isn't it.

Sharon (00:01:47):

I tell you what it was completely. I suddenly realized what my parents went through. Um, you know, I had to make a choice and by the time, you know, like I had to make a choice, it was six weeks out from the first selection competition for Rio.

Natasha (00:02:02):

Of course it was.

Sharon (00:02:02):

Um, I said to them, I had, you know, I was going to be at that competition. Um, so yeah

Natasha (00:02:13):

You were there, with legs or not it was going to happen, but ideally you wanted to do your best to apply would be nice.

Sharon (00:02:21):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was just, it was so insane yet to, to actually go in and say, yeah, we can, you know, we'll do this. Um, you know, my surgeon, professor Richard Kerry Smith was just incredible. Like, he's like, right, okay. We can do this. He said, Hey, there's some latest technology in, in, you know, nail, they call it a nail, but anything like a nail, it's the full length of my FEMA.

Natasha (00:02:48):


Sharon (00:02:49):

Um, that they, they put down through the middle of the bone. Um, and there was some new technology he got on the phone while I was in the doctor's surgery. He said brings out, says, yeah, yeah. You know that person, I said, we need one, these for. Yep. Send it over. So it was like, I'm waiting, waiting for a parcel to arrive in the mail.

Natasha (00:03:05):

Yeah we are just waiting for the parts. Love it.

Sharon (00:03:10):

Yeah. It was really fast, but he was really great because he actually said to me, okay, you've still got your fractured leg said, I want you to go home, get, get on a horse. And so make sure it's the safe one and make sure you, you know, what it feels like to sit on a horse. So he, that was great. And so it was really funny when a hospital rang me and said, um, you know, can you come in this afternoon? I happened to be sitting on a horse. I said, Oh good. That's good. Gives me time to ride another horse before I come in. I think the person at the other end nearly died. Um, so yeah, surgery happened yet, uh, six weeks out from that first.

Natasha (00:03:45):

So he said like you weren't allowed to get on a horse for three weeks.

Sharon (00:03:49):

Yeah. So now, so, so I go in for my appointment at three weeks and um, they pull my stitches out and he said, can you do it? I said, yep. I can get back on my horse. So, um, it's really funny. So in that time, my, um, uh, very good friends, um, um, Jade Edwards and her husband, Chris drove the horses over to, uh, to Ryan's. So Rosie could, um, keep them in work for me, um, to the lead up to the, to the competition. And, um, so I had the surgery and so yet three weeks I hopped on, I went to a wonderful place in WA called Claremont therapeutic riding center. And it's run by the incredible Melissa Henry. Um, and I just, you know, because I'd had offers a friend say, Oh, you can come and ride my horse, but I just, I just needed to know if I sit on a horse to start with. So, um, I went there and Melissa was great. She, she literally gave me a pony ride, which was exactly what I needed. Um, and I just walked in, although it's crazy because at first ride I basically rang my mum in tears off. Was it, Oh my God, I have no idea how I'm actually going to do this. It felt so weird. Um, the leg felt so different. Um, I guess wasn't cause it wasn't so bendy, it had a nice piece of steel rod in it. Um, and so, yeah, but, um, so I ended up having a total of five rides there and, and by the end I could, could walk trot, canter and, and a bitter bitter shoulder in. Um, and yeah, that was crazy. And then I, um, flew over East and Rosie picked me up at the airport, looking at my crutches, going on my God. You really still need those.

Natasha (00:05:39):


Sharon (00:05:43):

Um, and yeah, I, I, I rode five minutes at the end of, um, Rosie riding my horses, you know, five minutes each day, I could still couldn't roll over in bed. Um, it was yeah, pretty insane. Um, and then I had, um, so the first competition we were up at Newcastle, the next competition was down at Werribee. I had a good friend, um, Emma Robertson, she, um, flew over so she could drive me down to the competition, um, and, and, and groome for me and I, I actually, I remember about three things from that competition. I remember completing my first test and I don't think I've actually ever cried at the end of a test. And there were to use like the, my warm ups, where the horse was lunged for 20 minutes on hopped on five minutes in the warmup arena and rode my test. So it was, that was pretty crazy either. My other memory is that I don't drink coffee very often, except for when it's not a good day. And I remember emma, uh, walking into the truck and just handing, handing me a coffee before I got out of bed on the last day says, I think you might need this. And then my other memory was that, um, Emma didn't know who, uh, way too well with the directions of getting around the ring road and stuff. And we drove out of werribee and she said, can you, can you just, can you just help me get through the ring road? And I said, yeah, yeah, no problem. And then the next thing I know, I was waking up two hours down the highway,

Natasha (00:07:18):

So you got through it?

Sharon (00:07:20):

I got through it. Um, and I, I, I got, um, I think I've got three first place.

Natasha (00:07:24):

You got three first place?

Sharon (00:07:24):

So it was just pretty crazy to, to not only survive it, but to, to win it too, was a big, a big relief.

Natasha (00:07:34):

Good for you. Did that mean you were selected or you still, that was just one of the selections?

Sharon (00:07:44):

No, that was just one of the selections. So we had another two to go. Um, and so I stayed, stayed in the east through to the boneyard competition in January and we had another good competition there. Um, and then we drove back home again, you know, that 4,000 Ks I think were home for five, maybe six weeks, um, turned around, drove back again. Um, and did the final selection competition in Sydney and then turn around and drive back home again today.

Natasha (00:08:15):

So uh, in number two and in number three.

Sharon (00:08:20):

Yeah. So I, I did well, um, and I think I ended up being like ranked third in Australia for the team. Um, and, and yeah, we made, made the team. So, um, that was pretty, pretty crazy and yeah, six trips across the Nullarbor, like, cause I had to keep going backwards and forwards in the sense, because I was coaching at that time to earn money. So, um, you know, he, hadn't got to do that thing called earn money. Um, look, honestly, probably wouldn't have got on the road. Um, if it wasn't for, I got granted a Wally foreman scholarship by WRA Institute of sport and that, that gave us the petrol money to do the first trip. Um, you know, so, and just the, you know, between going home from the last selection competition and, you know, ramping up to come back for the preparation of the games, the WA community was just so incredible. Um, fundraising, you know, like honestly it would not have happened if it was not for fundraising of the amazing community behind me. So, um, because it's great to do things it's things, but you have to be able to survive as well. So

Natasha (00:09:30):

You're absolutely right. Thank you so much for bringing it up because it is the pressure to perform and the pressure to get through health challenges and the pressure to do all of that is compounded with, okay, and am I paying off a house or where am I getting food for fuel, as you said, how am I going to get across this elbow? And God forbid if the car breaks or something happens. So there's a lot going on.

Sharon (00:09:57):

It's, it's pretty, pretty insane when I think about the things that we do, but it's, you know, I'm also so lucky to be able to do it, you know, like, um, it was quite interesting. Um, I remember one time being at a competition and lovely lady, uh, pulled out with the car and float next to me and she was saying how wonderful it was things I was doing. She's like, Oh, you're so lucky. And I'm thinking to myself, I'm not sure which part of luck this is. It's all about survival. Um, but you know, like the, the community behind me and for all my campaigns, they, none of them would have happened if it wasn't for the help of the community behind me. Um, and some amazing people in my life like Nikki Harwood for she at the time owned Brooklyn equestrian estate. And, um, she gave me a base to be an in Perth because, um, being the farm and the farm was three hours away, um, I was on the road so often that, you know, like she provided me with incredible base there, which I can then use the Institute of sport, um, and be so close to our state of question central WA. It's such a big state that, you know, that was a huge, huge help. Yeah. Um, so yeah, I've had some amazing people in my life.

Natasha (00:11:16):

Yeah. I love it. And, and I think that's, you know, no man is an Island. I always think for anyone to achieve anything in their lives, as you said, it just can't be done by this one person. There's, there's a village and an army. So you have gotten to Rio.

Sharon (00:11:34):

Yes. Yup. Yup.

Natasha (00:11:36):

And your leg is alive, it's moving as well as it can move with a big steel rod down the middle. And, uh, uh, so yeah, take me, take me to Rio because obviously there's climate issues there. Um, you've never been To South America before.

Sharon (00:11:57):

Yeah, no, it was, um, so like, it was really special, like, so I went back in mid June, um, and based at Ryan's, um, in the lead up to Rio, um, and to continue coaching with Razi and yeah, no, it was pretty intense time really to get the horse we had ready for that kind of competition ready for that kind of exposure. Um, us knowing she'd never been to anything like that. And again, you, can't.

Natasha (00:12:31):

sorry to interrupt. Did Razi do anything like, did you decide to try and create atmosphere, loud noises, bunting, tablecloths? Like, did you do any desensitization or it was more than that and you couldn't really replicate the crowd until you get to the crowd.

Sharon (00:12:47):

Yeah. You can't replicate the crowd. So when I've been back in Western Australia, we'd used, um, a lot of time to do a lot of desensitization. Um, and I had a few people helped me and Rebecca Thomas was brilliant at it. Um, and even the time out that I spent out of the saddle, um, had Jess Manson riding the horse and, you know, we use jess to also work on a lot of this stuff as well. So, you know, we, we had done things, you know, we had prepared and it was actually really great because when we were at Ryan's, they actually held the massive, huge fundraising ball. Um, and so, um the days leading up to that and preparing the, um, arena and things like that. You know, we use those as opportunities for training the horse. Um, you know, we never missed skipped a day of training during that whole time. So, um, we've done what we could in the time that we had. Um, so, but nothing, you know, again, it's like just, there's nothing like getting in the world honestly. Um, and so, yeah, so we went to actually, um, we flew out and went to Holland for three weeks. Right. Um, so the Austrian horses, because the huge quarantine issues to get them home back into Australia quicker, what we actually had to do was, um, go to yeah. Have them Europe. So they become a European citizen, so it was quicker to get them home to Australia afterwards. Um, so we had three, three weeks there. Um, and you know, that was good because we got to know the other people in the team a lot more living in close proximity to people. So you starting to get a feel for each other. Um, so yeah,

Natasha (00:14:34):

Is it a team environment? um, cause I, I always start a soccer team or a basketball team. There's so much trust. Like it's literally, if I throw you the ball, I have, you got it. Like it's and we don't have a team sport, we have a team it's Just us and the horse. So I've always wondered what the team dynamic is.

Sharon (00:14:57):

Yeah, I think for our sport, for power question, it's still developing, um, you know, in sports like venting, I think that, you know, that have been involved in sport a lot longer. Um, so I do think that para equestrian is still developing in that area. Um, but it, it gives you, um, yeah, a bit more of an understanding, you know, with other people involved and things like that. You each have your own team around you, but then everybody's own team has to come together at the end. Um, and I, yeah, I do think that is still an area that's developing and I think it has definitely got better, um, since I'd began in the sport

Natasha (00:15:38):

Thats good, Yes.

Sharon (00:15:39):

So, um, yeah, so, so Holland was good. I mean, um, except my horse actually a few days after arriving got a bit travel sick. Um, so we had to deal with that. That's a bit stressful. Um, so we had to then do deal with that, which meant she had a little bit of time off when we arrived. Um, and then Rosie flew over a few days before we were due to fly out to Rio. Um, so yeah, it was, it was incredible having Rosie there and, you know, we'd, we'd managed enough fundraising to be able to, you know, have Rosie there with me, which was just, she she's a very, very good in, in all situations because she been in those situations. So she understands how it all works. Um, so yeah, then we flew to Rio. Now I was quite happy about the temperature I'm, I'm a warm weather person. Um, so, so the little bit of heat was, you know, that that's right up my alley, you know, it's really funny. We, we have photos from earlier and there's everybody in T shirts and it's Sharon still in the jumper, but, um, yeah, so we, um, arrived and my horse arrived pretty good. Um, but you know, we really, we had a good understanding of how much the whole horse needed working.

Natasha (00:17:03):

And so whats you mindset here? Was the ghosts from the past of 2008 where you're like, I'm here for the gold. Was there pressure from on yourself from you going, I want to do better than what I did in Beijing. Was it I'm just happy to be here. However it comes is cool with me. What was your thinking when you're there and your goals for that event?

Sharon (00:17:26):

Yeah, so knowing and getting to understood the horse and what we were doing, I honestly know, I just wanted to keep that horse happy. Um, you know, for me that then became a priority because I knew if she was happy we could produce some really good work, but I also knew we were kind on the tip of the iceberg for where and what she produced. Um, so I kind of felt a little bit unfinished, um, being there. Um, but I also, you know, I just wanted her to be able to perform how she could at that time. So I, I, in a sense, yeah. You know, like I went in going, yeah, it'd be great to come home with a metal, but I kind of underneath understood, you know, like for that games, it wasn't necessarily about the metal that time. Um, it was about keeping that horse happy for the future.

Natasha (00:18:26):


Sharon (00:18:27):

Um, because she had so much more in her.

Natasha (00:18:30):

Right. Um, and how old was I in 2000?

Sharon (00:18:33):

Um, I think she was 11.

Natasha (00:18:40):

so your thinking in four years she will be 15. Yep. That will be our time if you know, this is our, this is our Warmup.

Sharon (00:18:46):

Yeah. Yeah. Right. So I, um, she was, she was one of the, I think she was, maybe she was a bit younger. I can't imagine that was one of the youngest horses there. So, um, you know, I said, yeah, that's okay. So, um, we, um, we, we thought we were going really good. Like honestly, she was producing really good work. We'd put the hard yards in, you know, like we didn't leave a stone unturned in the work that we've produced when we were there training beforehand. Um, and you kind of, yeah. Really excited about what was happening and how she, you know, she was turning heads.

Natasha (00:19:26):

Okay, Go to day one, Tell me what happened!

Sharon (00:19:32):

So day one. And the temperature is heating up.

Natasha (00:19:37):

Um, and how do you feel you're not a nervous person, even at the Olympics. You can, of course, you're more aware that this is a kind of important, but you're feeling, I can't imagine that you're completely crazy. You're just like.

Sharon (00:19:55):

Nah, it's actually the place I get the least nervous is at the games.

Natasha (00:19:59):


Sharon (00:20:00):

I see. I think it's, um, I D I actually get more nervous competing at little local show.

Natasha (00:20:06):

Okay. You feeling good? You're feeling a lot less nervous than you've ever felt before. And the warmups good.

Sharon (00:20:15):

And the warmup is brilliant, so good. And we go, we go into like the, the last arena, you go into five minutes before your test. And then all of a sudden there is mess gunfire going off, like semi automatic machine, semi automatic machine gun going off. Like I was brought up on a farm. I know what gunfire sounds like.

Natasha (00:20:43):

You had never heard it. Wasn't like all that. So guns, that always go that, that time, this was shit.

Sharon (00:20:52):

It was like, my head was going to get blown off.

Natasha (00:20:54):

Like, you couldn't see people with guns. You could just hear it.

Sharon (00:20:59):

Could just hear it. And like, so in the, um, in the actual competition arena, you couldn't hear it as loud because it was kind of enclosed by all the grandstands around. Um, so yeah, so it was just, yeah, this, this gunfire went off in my, my poor heart horse has suddenly her heart is coming out side her chest. I can feel my legs pounding. My heart's coming outside of my chest. And we had, um, I had my ear phones in listening to Rosie, coach me in the warmup and Razi bless her heart did not skip a beat at all. She just keeps pen, voice. I love, it just keeps coaching me in the meantime, I was just so ready to explode under me. I'm like, Holy crap, am I going to get my head shot off? It was kind of so insane. And so, you know, like we're just managing, I'm just trying to keep a lid on this horse. And, um, then we would pull the ear phones out, like boots are off. We're ready to go down the shoot. And it happens again off guys, the gunshots again, like I was just, um, and by this time my horse is just like, no, you're not, you're not sending me down that shoot. You're you're not putting me out into that arena by myself.

Natasha (00:22:19):

Like you had practice prior and it was all good. It was just this, this noise. Right. So do you get down, do you, do you get in, do dark, tell me, do you get through or are you not competing today? What happens.

Sharon (00:22:34):

Is I tell you what, like Emma who groom and for me just she's leaving, she's leading the whole drag. Yep, yep. Yep. Come on horse. You are. Yeah. And then, um, you know, there's a point where the groom has to let go of the horse. So Emma, let's go. And literally my horse stands on the hind leg and it says one 80 and I'm outta here.

Natasha (00:23:00):

And so you and her galloping back through the shoot

Sharon (00:23:07):

Now she's standing up doing good job standing on hind legs and just not going forwards. And she's not the type of horse. I don't have enough legs to pressure the horse anyway, but you can't pressure. This horse, you know, kind of have to.

Natasha (00:23:21):

And I'm thinking about your gorgeous goal. I just want to keep her happy. We're kind of epically failing at this point would not call it.

Sharon (00:23:30):

And, um, um, yeah, I, I know it was really kind of, as you know, it was just that, you know, strengthen that, you know, desperation, I think of me of desperately just we, man, I don't know how we actually managed. We finally made it around the arena once. Yes. And I think the judges were actually quite kind. Um, and, and we have it on video. Like I kind of took her into, took it into the gate at a, on a very large angle because I figured if I could just slide her in there in that arena. And she always, you know, she could be a speaker, but you kind of get her into the four walls of a competition arena. And she kind of knew her place, um, in my, so my theory was just get her in there. So we have this very, very weird, um, entrance. They're interesting. We're in tents, we were quite tense, but at the same time, she, he didn't do anything wrong. I think actually not a mist coming in a counter canter. I accidentally get applying change. I think so I did have one mistake, but apart from that, it was mistake frame.

Natasha (00:24:43):


Sharon (00:24:43):

The good bits were good. Um, so, you know, and I was just so excited to just get in that arena. Definitely. Um, definitely had my inner lighten Hewitt on I, the words. Come on, come on, come on, Slightly going through my head. They were the words that just kept going through my head. And um, yeah. So just to finish that test, um, kind of, um, you know, like, as my mum said, we were just happy I survived.

Natasha (00:25:17):

Yes. All right. What happens the next day?

Sharon (00:25:23):

Yeah, well, we, we had a, I think we had a day between competition, so we had time to work and again, she was working well, um, a little bit on edge, but, um, working well and we had no plan for getting into that arena better and things like that. Um, and she went in there and she did go, not sure. And I said, you know, I just put my legs on as much as I could and set the whip there and say, come on, we can, we can do this. And she went around the arena and went in and produced a beautiful test. Um, it was lovely, but, um, you know, unfortunately we suffered the joys of dressage judging, um, at that competition. And, and the first test, uh, I think a couple of judges had me fist and six in the class. And then the rest just had me like dead last, like judged what happened around the outside of the arena, then what actually happened in the arena. Um, and then there's, so my second test where it, where it was much better tests, I was really lucky. I had three judges. I had, Y we have five all up. I had one judge on fourth. One judge had me on fifth. One had me on six and then the other three had me dead last again.

Natasha (00:26:36):

So, and there's no recourse. There's nothing you can do. Is there.

Sharon (00:26:41):

  1. And that's the sport, that's the way it is. And you know, like I was, I was happy in that second test. Like I remember thinking, you know, she's with me here. She doesn't want to be with me, but she's. Yeah. Um, and so that was, you know, like I had a really positive feeling coming out of that test

Natasha (00:27:05):

But how did you feel looking at that score board, seeing like your happy, you think it's a good test. Do you think it deserves the fourth, the fifth or the six and then you're seeing the, the, the, the other judges really bring that score down. Are you, are you crying? Are you sad? Are you angry or are you, I know you're bounce back, but right at that moment, cause I would be feeling a lovely gamut.

Sharon (00:27:29):

Um, I think you feel a bit of everything. I think fresh frustration is probably definitely the highest one. Um, because you can't do anything about it. No. Like that's not the way it is and that's the sport and that's as frustrating as it can be. Um, and yeah, you just, I think if you, if you get too hung up on it, that's when you, you, you will kill, you know, you'll kill yourself. Like you just can't get too hung up. And at the end of the day, that's where it comes back to why do I do this sport? Because I love the horse because I love that feeling. I love the, you know, like it's

Natasha (00:28:07):

Cause you go was to keep the horse happy. And you did that in day two day. Okay day Three. How are you, what are your goals around day three? Are you a little bit like, I'll prove you judges I'll do a better test again. I, you just staying focused on, I just want the horse to be happy and do another good test.

Sharon (00:28:26):

Yeah. Well that was actually the disappointing thing. Cause I didn't get to do day three. Um, because um, our, our scores, we didn't qualify for the freestyle. So, um, that was really

Natasha (00:28:41):

Did you cry, I would have cried.

Sharon (00:28:44):

I did a lot of crying after the first day because I mainly felt because the first test was the team test and I really, I felt I'd left. Let the team down, you know, like I couldn't produce a good score for them and I felt devastated. Like I really was devastated in that point that I felt I had completely let the team down. Um, and so yeah, like I, at the end of the day, I was just happy to go through that second test as good as I did and have my horse with me all the time. Um, and so that's where you have to remember you do a sport with an animal, you know, it's not on their agenda to win a medal. That's what we,

Natasha (00:29:28):

I just want to eat oats. Yeah.

Sharon (00:29:30):

So, um, yeah, you have to, you know, that's where our sport is unique. So yeah,

Natasha (00:29:36):

Our partner is not all in. So not like your tennis partner.

Sharon (00:29:42):


Natasha (00:29:43):

Wow. So I'm, I'm now dying to know, I know you were planning for Tokyo and clearly we've now postpone Tokyo for another 12 months. Is that still with this mare?

Sharon (00:29:57):

Um, no, it's, it's, uh, it's not, it's come down to a no. Um, so I went home after Tokyo. Oh, sorry. After Rio. Um, where am I? Yeah, what's I went back home to the farm after Rio. Um, and look, I'm really lucky because part of the farm is specifically set up for my horses and I do have good facilities there and things like that. Um, but I was, yeah, riding on my arena by myself. Um, you know, looking at my moves to see what I'm doing, trying to coach myself. Um, and you know, I thought if I'm going to go for Tokyo, I've got to go for Tokyo. So my horse in the lead up to getting to Rio just before she flew out for Rio, she'd covered nearly 26,000 kilometers by a road in that 18 months prior. And that's really a lot of kilometers on a horse's legs. Um, so, you know, I thought, okay, how am I going to make this happen? And, and, you know, it came down to the best way that I'm probably gonna make it happen easier. Um, hello. I laugh at that comment now, the way I thought I would make it is to make a temporary move to the East coast. Right. Um, and so, yeah, I wasn't really sure what at anyway, I had a good chat to Julia battens who at the time was our high performance manager for para and, um, she was, um, finishing her role at the end of that year. And I chatted that what I wanted to do or not, I'm not sure what I wanted to do. And she actually offered me a job opportunity at her place at Balmoral equestrian center in Victoria, um, coaching, riding school, and, you know, like that was actually a really good stepping stone for me to be brave enough to make a move to the East coast. Um, you know, like I, I didn't really have any other job experience to find a job and things like that. Um, unfortunately the Victorian weather just does not suit my body completely, completely froze, completely froze through that year. Um, and then, so, um, yeah, at the end of that year in 2017, um, uh, look, I enjoyed a great competing at, uh, bono regularly. Um, and you know, I had a great nationals that year because I held down there, um, achieved something I didn't think I would. And that was placing amongst the able bodied in the medium competition in the open. So that was, that was a huge, um, I think for me to do. And, um, so yeah, so I, I threw everything in there. I had no idea where I'd land, um, and Mo made the move up to Newcastle to, to be, um, based up here near Razi.

Natasha (00:32:58):


Sharon (00:32:59):

Um, so yeah, so that, that was pretty crazy. Um, at first I got a job at the local, um, it's actually a friend's fish and chip shop.

Natasha (00:33:08):

love it.

Sharon (00:33:08):

I, you know, I was just like, yep, I'll do whatever to make whatever work I just, you know, um, so I did that for a few weeks, you know, they were just so good to me to say, look, we'll give you a little job to find somewhere else. Um, and it found somewhere to live, you know, it lived in a friend's house in a bedroom. Um, and then, you know, it took me a good eight months to work out exactly what are they going do? Um, I kept applying for jobs actually in the disability industry and despite having my own disability, I couldn't get a job in the disability industry. Um, and then finally, yeah, my mum kept saying, look, you just need one interview and we'll get a job. And she was right. Um, eventually got one interview and had a job, which was, um, yeah, cause that can work in, I can work shift work and work that in with my horses really well.

Natasha (00:34:06):

So whats the job?

Sharon (00:34:06):

So I work as a disability support worker.

Natasha (00:34:09):

Yeah. So in that sector where you just couldn't couldn't couldn't you finally got an interview, right? Yeah.

Sharon (00:34:15):

Yeah. So, um, I work in a supported, independent, independent living houses in Newcastle, so it's just 25 minutes away. Um, and I now rent the granny flat next door to Ryan's. So it's yeah. It's been, been working in very well. Um, yeah, and we, we aimed in 2018 because that was the weg in try-on. Um, and so we competed up and down the East coast, went to Brisbane, went to Bernio, um, and was ranked second in Australia, um, in the selection process, um, for Australia to decide for the first time in history to not send a Australian team.

Natasha (00:35:01):

Oh my gosh.

Sharon (00:35:03):

So they, they sent, um, the, the number one ranked rider in Australia Emma booth, she got the opportunity to go, which is great. She deserves it. Um, but to be ranked number two and not be given

Natasha (00:35:16):

Exactly, um, there wasn't much Hein, like much warning. You were all working towards what you thought was normal that had been happening all those years prior that a team would be sent and then all of a sudden,

Sharon (00:35:29):

Yeah, yeah. I think, you know, like, cause they had said that they, you know, there were issues with funding, um, and you know, that that's fair enough that there's always issues with funding, but just to not be given the opportunity to self fund, like the dressage riders could go, but they self funded, you know, to be, not even given the opportunity to do that.

Natasha (00:35:51):

Mmm. That is not cool.

Sharon (00:35:53):

It's still, it's difficult, you know, you suddenly like, um, yeah, you feel completely smashed. Um, and that, you know, your efforts are not worth it. Um, you know,

Natasha (00:36:04):

Was that the biggest time where you went, I wonder do I want to, or did you, yeah, I'm wondering, do you ever have thoughts of, do I want to give up, do I want to stop riding completely? Do I want to keep riding, but not at Olympic level or you dislike until I die, I'm going to these Olympics and I'm doing it. What's your mindset at this point thousand and 18. You're second in the world and in Australia and that's not good enough to go to a world of question games. How do you like

Sharon (00:36:38):

It was pretty, um, it's pretty soul destroying, honestly. Um, yeah. And you think, yeah, you do think, why am I doing this? What am I doing?

Natasha (00:36:51):

I'm assuming you'd like, do I need to go meditate on a rock? Like out

Sharon (00:36:56):

Completely, completely. Yeah. So, um, just, uh, it was, yeah, so, well, yeah, Rosie and I were, we did some serious thinking thought, okay, maybe this, this horse isn't, isn't going to, you know, if the selectors are not game to send the horse, then you know, why are we putting every heart, soul and money into something that potentially isn't going to happen? And because, you know, my aim is that metal, you have to have these serious considerations. Um, and so the D you know, we kind of decided, okay, we're not going to campaign the horse again. Um, because yeah, that was pretty soul destroying. Um, so I had over here with me, I had Lord of the Mark, the lovely Hannah ovarian stallion that I've been riding all along, but he, he struggled with the concepts of dressage a bit. Um, he makes an incredible show horse and, you know, he's ticking along, but, you know, it was slow going, um, that he just had the incredible temperament, like a bomb could go off and he wouldn't blink. Like, it was just amazing, seriously, amazing little horse. And, um, yeah, so we thought, okay, well, let's, let's put a bit more effort into him and see how we go. Um, and I'm him for Tokyo.

Natasha (00:38:14):

And did you keep the mare as your second chance, or did you sell her for more funds?

Sharon (00:38:21):

So, um, well, we, we did attempt to sell her, but unfortunately, um, we haven't found a sale for her yet. Um, so I kept her in work for, uh, the following six and, and then, um, she actually, we ended up putting her in foal to Laura tomorrow and I'll tell you what she has just actually become the most loving mother. She has just not put a foot wrong since having a foal. And, um, so quite possibly, um, and she's in foal again now. So, um, for a second fall and, and quite possibly when I head home after Tokyo, then, you know, she might just go back into work again and we'll see what happens. So, yeah,

Natasha (00:39:08):

but the plan is the stallion for Tokyo.

Sharon (00:39:12):

Yeah. So it's, we're going good. And, and we've just got to the point, um, April last year where we think, okay, we're ready to bring him out at some competitions and, and, and to aim, to do some selection competitions. Cause they'd started then. Um, and we took him down to Sydney, Royal, um, to do some showing. Um, he wants Supreme down at Sydney Royal, and then the next day we're warming up for our written class and he goes lame.

Natasha (00:39:41):


Sharon (00:39:44):

In the warmup, just, yeah. So, so you had an injury, um, acquired an injury and um, yeah, it took, it's taken a very long process to, um, to deal and sort that out. And he's actually now headed back to West Australia to do he finish his rehab over there. Um, which was quite soul destroying for me this year. I sent him back just after COVID hit because it was just all a little too much. So I think it became too about, uh, it was about June last year, June, 2019. And I went over to Ryan's and said to Rosie, I, I don't think I can do this anymore. I think I need to head home. Tokyo is not happening. Um, I just don't know what I can do. And I'm Rosie, Rosie bless her heart and she's done it about three times. You're not driving home. You're not leaving it. I won't, I won't, I won't let you drive out that driveway. OK. Um, she said, Oh, come on. She says, what, why don't you do that Facebook thing you do? Rosie's definitely not into Facebook. Um, she said, but you know, like maybe what are you ask on there? If anybody's got a horse and I'm thinking the horse we need, is there absolute unicorn.

Natasha (00:41:10):

Before you go into that bit of a story. I just want to touch base. I think how important is it to have a coach that fights even harder than you do and believes in you more than you do and is with you through it all? Like I just, I just, I hear you saying Rosie said that and I just go, That is such a gift that is such a gift because it doesn't matter if you're the most motivated, most passionate, most obsessed person out there. We still go up and down. And when you're in one of those downs to have someone, and as you said, she is, she might, she'll have her own ups and downs in her own stuff that she's going through. But how she shows up as your coach is steady, she is just the same, no matter what, no matter what you throw at it. And no matter what she's going through, she turns up. And I just think that has to be just highlighted at what a gift that is and a huge secret to your success. I think because to have someone in your corner that has got you is it's just huge.

Sharon (00:42:17):

Oh, massively, massively. Um, yeah, I'm completely indebted. Um, because you know, like at that point where I've gone, I can't do this shit. She's been the one who says, yeah, you can. Um, and to have to have someone, you know, not only that, you know, my, my family has been the same, you know, they would love me back in Western Australia. But, um, you know, they're like, you're not coming home yet. You're not finished yet. Interesting. Um, and then I've had, I've had a couple of friends, you know, who I've rung and gone. Oh my God. I just want to drive home and they've gone. Okay. I'll see you next week.

Natasha (00:42:54):


Sharon (00:42:55):

No, I don't need this conversation and need hang up now because I need to find someone

Natasha (00:43:00):

Yeah. Like called that. I call it being an unreasonable friend. So it's like, I'm coming home. No, you're not like it's unreasonable, but I'm upset, but I'm going through something. I don't care. Stick at it to have someone like that. That's true friend That is someone in your corner going, I don't care. Keep digging, keep fighting, keep going. That is such the gift of true friendship. So sorry to interrupt. I think you were explaining. Yes. So Rosie says, Oh, do the Facebook thing. We're at the Facebook. And you're saying, I spoke for a unicorn. Cause you didn't, Cohen's done it yet, but let's give it a go.

Sharon (00:43:39):

Yeah. So, um, yeah, so Rosie and I came up with some words and we put it out onto their, um, platform did off their Facebook page Ryan's horses. And, um, yeah, the, the response was incredible. Like just, it was amazing that there's so many offers. Um, so many horses that just weren't suitable, but people were prepared to, you know, to loan a horse. Um, because that's what we were asking for. I, I had no funds to buy one, you know, and horses like that are just so expensive and I'm, I'm reliant on other people allowing me to ride them.

Natasha (00:44:17):

Mmm. Mmm.

Sharon (00:44:19):

But what I can offer is, you know, incredible home, beautifully looked after, you know, so we had to play on those things and the support crew behind me over here. So good. um, so yeah, so I couldn't believe it when, um, Danella merit from Queensland, um, she's five hours North of Brisbane place called Gladstone. She sent through this message and, and said she had something. And as soon as Rosie sorts yep. That's the one that's, that's the horse we need. Um, and so organized to get on plane and, and go up and see me. I have one ride. Um, and you know, it was, that was it. I just had to be that horse. He's amazing. He is no he's Brown. He is brown with four white socks. and um, yeah, so he reminds me so much of my medal winning horse already though. He's just a little aversion, so, um, just, just ideal. And yeah. So to, to being loner, suddenly Tokyo was on the cards again, you know, like it was just today, again, it's it's elementary and medium, like it needs to have a chain. Yeah, yeah, yeah. The horse's way of going the horses way of going is more far more like a small level horse, you know, like the top, the top horses, you know, basically out competing grand Prix, the top horses.

Natasha (00:45:51):

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I like to try it plus fancy.

Sharon (00:45:54):

Okay. It's like, um, you know, and, and this horse is definitely taking my ridingnow to the next level, to what I want. And he's being able to teach me so much along the way. And he has this quirky, funny personality, like, Oh, he's so sweet. And he's like, underneath is just this cheeky little fellow, you know, trying to get out. Um, he's just so much fun. Um, so yeah, I couldn't believe we, we went to nationals nationals, um, and just, yeah, got scores that I, you know, in the low seventies. And it'd been a long time since I'd get, got a score in the seventies, um, to come home national champion really, really cool. Just, you know, it's been a great learning curve. And, and then we, um, headed down to bony again for the classic. Um, and we, we had a couple of wins down there and just producing, sorry,

Natasha (00:46:59):

just winning and winning.

Sharon (00:47:02):

And then, um, we went to, we had a selection competition literally the week before COVID very serious in Australia and, um, yeah, it was just, you know, we, we pre produced the results there and come out on top of all grades there. It was just amazing, um, to be fitting in this position of potential for Tokyo, like yeah. And now we have COVID.

Natasha (00:47:36):

And so is the owner happy for next year or is she saying, well, actually I only thought I was learning my horse for 12 months. I'd actually like it back. How does that work?

Sharon (00:47:48):

Yeah. So, um, I was so worried at first, like that was the first thing that crossed my mind of, Oh my God. I said, I can have this horse to Tokyo, you know, what's going to happen. Um, and yes, it was, I was terrified to, you know, get on the phone, send a message, but no, they were really positive because of the results we'd had. Um, you know, like they were positive to, you know, carry on and finish the project. So that is amazing. Yeah. So it didn't, Danella merits just wonderful.

Natasha (00:48:31):

Now you're just at Rosie's practicing and making it like you're going to do an 80 next year.

Sharon (00:48:39):

Well, I'm not stuck here because WA has closed their borders. Um, yeah. And I think as you know, like at first I definitely had a cry about that thought, um, you know, kind of got over that. And, um, now though I don't, you know, cause it kind of can't see the end in sight at the moment. It's again, gone back to that phase of all my God, when am I going to see my family again? Um, and just please nothing happened back home in that process. So it's, yeah, it's an unknown. Um, but we just tick along and keep, yep. Got the eye on the, what we want to do and just keep improving. And you know, I've got an extra year now to, to, to improve more and that's the way we have to look at it. And my thought in theory is to make the most of the next year, the best I can. Um, because after that, I probably plan on retiring from international competition after Tokyo. So it's, it's my, my last final thing. And I guess I am now really want, I do really want that metal now, but you know, you have horses and you just, you know, make the most of your opportunities. Um, and afterwards I want to stay involved in the sport. I, I, I love the sport, but, um, maybe spending some time at the farm back home and I've got a little plan of what I would like to achieve when I head back home and that's to set up a farm, stay for people with disabilities so they can have an interactive and inclusive, um, you know, experience of being on a farm.

Natasha (00:50:17):

So can we just have a, just a little bit touch base on that decision? Is that a decision? Um, just me through that is that because it is a very stressful way of living and it is a very pressured situation and you have been doing it for so many years and there's so many, um, you have done an absolutely stellar, amazing job at controlling the controllables that you can control. But through these stories, there's always been these times where there's things that are out of your control that have impacted it, um, which is wearing on anyone. Cause that is how the world works. You can control what you can control and, and things you can't control. You've got a great mindset. You keep going, you find the positive in every situation, but that is, that is draining, that is wearing. And it sounds, so that seems to be part of the conversation. And honestly, so the family, part of the there's so much sacrifice that you've done, um, financial sacrifice, family sacrifice, living in a granny flat in isolation. It's not isolation, but there seems to be a huge sacrifice to what you've done and is that are so, yeah, I'm not willing to sacrifice the next 20 years. Like if you, if you, you don't have to answer if you got one too, I'm just so curious and now a little bit.

Sharon (00:51:35):

Yeah. So I like, honestly I think, um, you know, finances were not an issue. I wouldn't give it up right. Because I do love it, but it does come down to a financial, you know, um, you know, like I'm reliant on riding other people's horses. Um, and, and look, I don't mind that because it'll allows those owners to have joy in stuff and things like that. They get to see a dream achieved, you know? And, and so it is special for all the people involved. Um, but I just, yeah, I think, I think I have exhausted my resources at the moment, um, in, in finding horses and things like that. Um, and so I think to myself, um, well, what, you know, what can I achieve back home? And I think, you know, I do love the farm at home. Um, so I've had to come up with a thought of what I can do to help contribute to the farm, um, and things like that. Um, so it's, it's purely comes down to finances, um, and things like that. And I guess having a bit of continuity in my life too, I probably have lived, lived the life of a gypsy, um, in one respect. Um, and then, you know, that leads me to, okay. I keep saying, Oh, when I'm in a nursing home, I'll have time to find a boyfriend. But I mean, if that, if that came a little bit sooner than that would be nice to, I guess.

Natasha (00:53:10):

I feel like Razi with Facebook, it is it into, is it swipe left? I don't know what you're meant to do all these things after Tokyo. You can look forward to it.

Sharon (00:53:25):

Yeah. I keep thinking this a lot. I don't have time for boyfriend or I think, Oh, if I found a boyfriend over here, but I want to head home, like, you know, like I think that's not fair. So, um, yeah,

Natasha (00:53:38):

But I love it. I mean, I think to me, I'm, I'm, I'm always so conscious about how to live the most extraordinary life and my life philosophy is how can I have as much fun, love, joy and happiness in every moment. And, um, I've got Olympics as my goals, but I've also got so many other things, cause I don't want to just have that one dimension. And I think it's really awesome that you're aware of while I've had all of this and achieved all of this there's bits that I haven't had. And actually I'm choosing with a conscious choice to go after those things. Um, and so you'll have more family and boyfriends and farms and, and, and, and having your own little business. And I know for me personally, as well, running a business and setting goals and the business and hitting those goals is really cool as well. Like you can, you can have success in so many different areas, so it's very exciting.

Sharon (00:54:32):

Yeah. Yeah. And I like, I love, I have a passion for my sport still that hasn't died at all. So to be able to, like, I've been lucky to be able to mentor some new riders to the sport. Well, young riders to the sport. So if I can carry that on yeah. Then that helps progress the sport for the future and things like that. Yeah. So, you know, I still have those, those passions and, and, you know, like Rosie says, Oh, but if a good horse, So yeah. I guess you can't underestimate that. Yes. If a good horse came along. Yes. I'd be out there again.

Natasha (00:55:07):

Yeah. I love it. So. Um, I'd love for you to tell me a little bit more about, um, socket to sarcoma and your family's involvement with that. And I said the cancer council daffodil day.

Sharon (00:55:23):

Yeah. So, um, I'll start by the cancer council daffodil day. That means definitely very, very close to my heart. Um, so my brother, um, studied horticulture in New Zealand, um, back in, I think it was 91. And, um, they had left a two day in New Zealand. Anyway, at the time we grew some daffodils commercially on the farm. And, um, but we were kind of finishing up that, that, um, area. And so we just basically had these, you know, acres,It was just growing. And so he said to my mum, you know, they've got debts to do all day they're perhaps they have one in Australia, perhaps we could donate it daffodils. Um, anyway, mum got on the phone to cancer council and he said, what we had anyway, they were so receptive to it. They said, Oh, we've been wanting to get daffodils. They started here. We had no idea where to start. Um, and yeah, the, the following year, I think it was 92. Um, that was the first daffodil day. Um, it was either 92 or 93. The first daffodil day held was held in Western Australia.

Natasha (00:56:35):

Wow. That's a nice guy.

Sharon (00:56:38):

It was just, yeah, we, we, we donated thousands of, of daffodils and yeah, the first daffodil day, it had definitely day, I think for one or two years already in the East coast, but yeah, to get it started in WA, um, it started with our daffodils. So that was really, really special and to see him huge it's growing, um, today. And, and to know that we've been a part of small ever. So small part of that is just, yeah, really incredible special thing. Um, and the, um, the soccer to sarcoma charity, um, that was founded in Western Australia. Um, but lovely, lovely girl, Abby Bason, um, passed away from, from having a sarcoma. So sarcoma is the type of cancer that I had, um, primary bone or soft tissue, um, cancer. And it's very, very little, um, funding is, is for specifically for that type of cancer. Anyway, um, Abby Kay socket to sarcoma was her dream, um, that she, um, would like to start it up and in way after, after her death, her mother, um, Mandy Bassler, um, started the charity and in getting it going, um, and soccer to sarcoma kind of gets his name because you have to seriously fight this type of cancer. And, um, so cause it's aggressive, um, and fast spreading, um, and it requires a fight to beat it. Um, so yeah, it was really, really funny. I only found out about it in this crazy way that, um, I was at a gym with somebody who was doing research, um, for, for, uh, about sarcoma and rehabilitation and things like that. And, um, I was wearing a pair of shoes, um, and they were basically a teal and fuchsia color and she said to me, Oh, they're the, they're the colors of socket to the sarcoma? And I said, well, what, what's what socket to sarcoma? And she said, Oh, it's a, it's a charity. And so I went home and Googled it and brought it up and, and found out all about it. Um, and was just suddenly, um, I found that there was a piece of me that was obviously missing.

Natasha (00:58:59):


Sharon (00:58:59):

And I just knew that a piece of me had to be a part of this. Um, and, um, at the time I was at Brooklyn questions and I told Nikki about it and I, and I said, is there something, you know, can I, can I do something to raise funds for it? Um, because it was just so special and he said, yeah, whatever you want to do, we'll support you. Anyway, we ended up running a dressage training day, um, on the grounds and, and had massive fundraising. We raised, um, it was around $8,000, um, by, by running a charity event. And it was just, yeah, the, my way of getting involved in a charity. And I'm now lucky enough to be an ambassador for the charity. And, and I just, you know, it's a really special thing to me and to I Mandy, who has done done all this work is just such an inspiration to me and the type of person that she is and how she's managed it and, and carried it on and, and her enthusiasm and your enthusiasm for life. And yeah, I think it's, um, you know, I love to find people who inspire me and she certainly inspires me and, and the work that she does. So yeah. Being involved with that NAS is certainly something special and I'm heading back to West Australia. I hope to be more involved. in it as well.

Natasha (01:00:23):

Yeah. Well, we will put the link in the show notes for anyone who would like to know more about either of those two things. So thank you so much for bringing that into our awareness. And, um, do you have anyone that personally sponsors you or helps you in your horse journey or it doesn't have, I don't know yet who you, who helps you and supports you?

Sharon (01:00:43):

Yeah. Um, uh, look, there's some amazing people in involved with me. Um, so prides easy feeds. Um, it's been really good to me. Um, and we've got saddles plus in Western Australia, um, we've gotten double, um, double up panels that make the panels, the horse float panels, which is so good knowing I've traveled Australia stallion and knowing that I've got safe yards on the side, my float is always a good thing. Um, West coast castle, the question with which are the owners of Lord with Mark, very, you know, so incredibly good to me. Um, kept helmet new one that came on board last year, um, and crown equestrian, their leggings. Um, Oh my God. I suddenly realized I was so behind the times in fashion. Um, and then, and then like, uh, first time I rode in the tides, I was just like, Oh my God, where am I being like, serious. Like, um, and that, so yeah, no, I've got some wonderful, wonderful people behind me and that, so no really lucky, um, but is true. The sport is also, I've been lucky enough to be involved in AA and ship of sport for a long time. Um, and also now over here with the new South Wales Institute of sport, um, is very good, but, um, the EA high performance program has developed over the years and, and they're actually, you know, very good resource now, too. So, um, you know, sometimes it's not about, um, it's Not about the money that's involved, but it's the people that you can have connections to as well. Hmm.

Natasha (01:02:27):

Brilliant. Thank you so much, Sharon, for giving up so much for your time and sharing your amazing, inspiring story. Is there anything else you would like to add before we finish today?

Sharon (01:02:38):

Oh God, I have no idea. Yeah, no, I like that.

Natasha (01:02:45):

Well, thank you so much. I'm sure there's, there's so much to unpack out of that and, um, uh, can people find you on Facebook, Instagram, if they want to follow your journey and see how you go next year in Tokyo?

Sharon (01:02:57):

They can. I probably admit I'm not the best at social media. Um, I literally have anxiety over it, so, um, but, but I am on Facebook, Instagram, so it's great.

Natasha (01:03:11):

Excellent. And, um, yeah. Is there a website for your farm? You said you were doing the farm stays. Is that set up or still in ideas?

Sharon (01:03:19):

That's still in ideas phase.

Natasha (01:03:22):

Yeah. Okay. Excellent. Cause I'm sure there's. Yeah.

Sharon (01:03:25):

Um, but if you actually look up, um, prime organics, um, prime organics and twin Apple packer, Um, they, they are out farming enterprises.

Natasha (01:03:38):

Well, I'm sure when you do get that going, you'll have to contact us again and we can put the link in because I'm sure when the world is opened up again, there'll be plenty of people wanting to travel all the way down to Australia and experience a real farm. So I think it's a very cool idea. Excellent. Thank you so much for your time and, um, yeah. Thank you. Thank you for everything that you share.

Sharon (01:04:00):

All right. Cheers.

Podcast Episode 18: Sharon Jarvis - Paralympian Equestrian Medalist

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review!!
In this podcast, Natasha has the pleasure to speak with Sharon Javis. Sharon is a paralympian equestrian rider, trainer and coach. She has overcome the odds and has a heart warming story of determination and love for horses and riding.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

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Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:02):

So thanks for joining me today. I'm so excited to get to know you better and have this conversation.

Sharon (00:09):

Yeah. Thanks for having me.

Natasha (00:11):

Our pleasure, our pleasure. So I think I'd just like to start with, how did you start with horses? Did you have a Shetland when you were little, did you start later in life? Were you always horse Mad? How did it all kind of evolve?

Sharon (00:26):

Um, yeah. Well I think, well, I feel, I was definitely lucky growing up on a farm. Um, so we come from farm down Southwest of Western Australia, um, where we have a beef cattle and a Apple orchard. So, um, my mum still blamed herself for putting me on a rocking horse age one. She's like, Oh, I should never have done that. You know, like, um, because I come from a non horsey family. So like, yeah, well we have some, a little bit of history. So my dad's, um, father, um, he left school when he was 12 years old and basically rode the mail run, um, around the area and stuff. But, um, yeah, my, and then they had working horses on their property. Um, but my dad, Dad never rode and mum was a city kid. Um, so yeah, but, um, I had, I have a older brother and sister who are six and eight years older than me and they, they liked the idea of getting a horse and, you know, so we had land. So mum and dad, you know, went off and found a horse and honestly how we didn't kill ourselves when we were younger, like we did everything wrong really. Um, and by the time I was, um, turning, turning five, it was safer for my parents to try and buy me a pony rather than had me climb up the legs of my brother and sisters horses. Um, and you know, honestly we were saved by the local pony club, you know, they actually gave us guidance and you know.

Natasha (01:59):

This is how you feed a horse, really?

Sharon (02:03):

Oh, like I looked back in the, you know, I think, Oh my God, the tech we used and, you know, you're like just crazy. Um, and we had, you know, the, so we went to local pony club. Um, back in those days we had the open cattle crate that we used on the farm for transport. And, um, you know, I liked that it made the most amazing memories, you know, one side of the town and the pony club was on the other and, you know, we would stop at the, um, cattle ramp in town and load a few more ponies on the truck and, um, off we'd go. So, um, that was, yeah, how, how I started and, um, amazing memories and went to, I went to a few local competitions, um, and just, yeah, I was seriously bitten by the bug and I'd spend the day at school and then come home and, you know, tie the lead rope from one side of the Holter to the other side, climb up Superman onto my pony. And if my pony moved on, hit the dirt and I'd climb up. Um, yeah, that was, yeah, how it started. And my first pony he was, he was, um, yeah, he's a little bit of a devil every time he cantered he buck, you know, it took me a long time to learn how to sit to a buck and stay on. Yeah. Like, um, yeah, he was 10 .3 hands. He was, uh, a little Australian pony. His Pinto name was Tonka, so there's definitely a Tonka toy and, um, yeah, great memories. So I love it. That was the beginning, the beginning of the end. Yeah.

Natasha (03:51):

And then we, we've got to now, so, um, uh, can you touch on, I'm not at all familiar with the classification and the disability classifications for all that. How does one go about learning that and exploring that?

Sharon (04:07):

Yeah, well, it was definitely a learning phase for me. So come about having, having a disability because of having bone cancer as a child. Um, so, um, I wasn't born with my disability. It was an acquired disability. Um, so yeah, so I was, uh, turning, coming up to my seventh birthday and I was obviously an active kid and, um, I started to limp and complain of a sore leg. And my parents were like, well, you're not the type of kid who would complain. So they took me to the local doctor and the local doctor looked at me and said, she's just got growing pains. So, um, which was, you know, I was only seven years old. Why would I be having growing pains? Um, and my parents weren't really entirely happy with that. So they took me off to see physios and, um, things like chiropractors and nobody could come up with answers. And then, um, so it was just before Christmas and my dad walked into local doctor surgery and said, look, we're not leaving until we get an appointment for a specialist so we can see, you know, what's going on. And so they, um, yeah, got me an appointment for a specialist. So they took me off for an xray, uh, went back to the specialist and they said, um, look, carry her home, pick up, you know, get belongings, take her straight to the hospital. And the bone on x-ray looked like it was going to explode.

Natasha (05:36):


Sharon (05:36):

So, um, yeah, they did biopsies and, uh, yeah. Then diagnosed me two days later with having a Ewing sarcoma, bone tumor. So it was a type of, um, is rare, um, cancer and type that would normally affect a teenage boy. So, um, yeah, they told my parents. I had about three months to live and 20% chance of survival.

Natasha (06:05):


Sharon (06:06):

So they yeah. Told my parents to take me through the perth of the major children's hospital and not to expect to bring me home again. So that was, um, what started the whole, um, yeah, they did experimental limb surgery, so they limb salvage surgery. Um, they took my case to the head of pediatrics oncology in the U S to work out what to do. Um, first of all, to saved my life. And then secondly, to save my leg because the position of where the tumor was, if they were to amputate, they would have had to taken like from the whole hip. So, um, to then put a prosthetic on that was in those days really difficult. Um, and they wanted to give me the best life possible. So they went down the experimental limb, salvage surgery route, um, which has given I've kept my leg, but it does have limited abilities since then. Um, so yeah, so for me, the worst part was not being able to ride my pony for that year

Natasha (07:14):

And how much did, I mean, you were seven. I can only, I just have full just love and just wow for your parents. Cause I can't, I'm a parent and I can't even fathom how, how to go about doing all of that. If it, you know, a doctor gives me that diagnosis and says, you've got three months, like I just don't even know how I'd begin to process that. And they're so awesome already just fighting for you, like going no, we're not leaving until we get that specialist appointment. And, um, just huge. So in your memory of it was it just, I can't ride my horse. This is awful.

Sharon (07:50):

Yeah. So honestly I have so much admiration for my parents. They actually, what they chose to do was not tell me how sick I was.

Natasha (08:01):

I was going to say that would be my, be like, you're fine.

Sharon (08:07):

So obviously I knew I was sick and I went through chemo and went through radiotherapy. And like the longest time I spent out of hospital for that year was 10 days. So I was like, I knew I was sick, but the, um, the words that were put into my head was, you know, my job was to get well. So that was, you know, I might just keep it your job of getting well, you know, like, so that was, um, I think it was definitely a harder time for my parents, my brother and sister,

Natasha (08:39):

They were a lot older, they would have really understood what was going on a bit more. Yeah.

Sharon (08:42):

Yeah. So they definitely got the harder job. I see, um,

Natasha (08:48):

You were just eating jelly in the hospital.

Sharon (08:53):

It certainly wasn't a pleasant time. Um, but you know, like I remember the water fights in the ward with the syringes and I remember the crazy sock days we would have. And, and I remember attempting to play, skip rope with the line that was hanging out of my chest. Like I remember the races up and down the code or in the wheelchair and things like that. So, um, you know, I, there, there are the good parts that I remember. I mean, I remember the not so nice parts. Um, but yeah, for me, the hardest part was not riding. I mean, mum and dad used to put me on my pony when I got home and it would just lead me around, but it was never the same. So when I got to the end of that year and I went into remission, they allowed me to ride again. Um, and I got back to doing other things. Um, and yeah, so I went back riding and playing netball and, uh, seven months later, nine months later, I then actually suffered a fracture in the place where the tumor had been. Um, and that was then the end, the writing for six years.

Natasha (10:02):


Sharon (10:03):

Um, like we end up having complications from that, um, and bone grafts and plates and pins and yeah, the doctors just couldn't risk it, um, and, and said no riding and.

Natasha (10:16):

because it's the fall, like the fall factor.

Sharon (10:19):

Yeah. The fall factor. Um, and they had, you know, like I had would go to every checkup with the list of things. Could I do it? Can I climb trees? Can I do this? Can I do that? And eventually it got down to basically, you know, the only thing that was left on my list is can I ride again? Um, and so to, yeah, like in the end, the doctor just said, I can't say no anymore. You're not going to give up, asking can ride. So he'd put up with me asking for six years. Um, and, and that was that, was it

Natasha (10:55):

Was it a factor because you're growing like, so then everything in that joint and everything is also growing.

Sharon (11:03):

Yes. Yeah, yeah. What I ended up with six centimeters difference between my leg length. Um, so they had to work out how to fix that. And what, what that normally do is kind of like make one leg grow. But instead what they did to me was stopped one leg growing. So, so they stopped the good leg from growing. So they stapled the growth plates.

Natasha (11:30):


Sharon (11:31):

So I would have probably been about six centimeters taller than I am now.

Natasha (11:36):

There goes your modeling Career. It was, you know, six foot here you were.

Sharon (11:42):

Yeah. So they did a few, you know, things along the way to yeah. Try and even me up, but pretty, pretty good. Now there's yeah, just a couple of difference. So, um, so yeah, so when I could get back riding again, my poor parents just shuttered at the thought

Natasha (12:02):

I know I'm thinking as a parent, I'm like, I've kept this, my daughter alive. I've got it through everything she's gone through. And now she wants to get on a bloody horse and risk her life.

Sharon (12:14):

Honestly. Yeah. My parents were put through hell, but you know, they, at the same time they'd been so supportive. You know, like in those six years they let me try everything. Like I, I played netball, I played basketball, tennis. I was crap at them all because I couldn't run. But you know, I was out there giving a guide and the local clubs were gorgeous cause they'd include me in the teams. And um, and the only, the only sport I could do during that time, that was, I was good at, um, was swimming, quaint, quench my thirst. I was, I could be competitive in that. Um, you know, so I, I, that definitely saved my competitive spirit.

Natasha (12:58):

Is that a big part of who you are? It's I want to win, I want to win. I want to win.

Sharon (13:04):

I think I not necessarily winning, but just, I just like to be good at something, you know, like, like the things I wanted to be good at, I couldn't do at that time. You know? And, and I think, you know, and teenage kid, you don't know where you fit in my world. Like, so, so having that one thing that I could do and I could be good at it. Yeah. It was, it made my school. I did not enjoy school.

Natasha (13:32):

There was no English or math that you would kind of be

Sharon (13:36):

No, no time whatsoever.

Natasha (13:41):

No, no Nobel prizes for the physics award.

Sharon (13:46):

Nah, he was so come sport. Like that was the thing that I loved. Um, and, and so it was kind of the only time I was ever, like it gets included in things. So, um, when I could get on my pony, I just had this ability to be equal again,

Natasha (14:06):

you could run and be fast and the freedom.

Sharon (14:09):

Yeah. It was just, you know, there was my legs. Um, and so, yeah, and I just, I could ride away from my troubles of the days at school. I wasn't, I wasn't a bad student. Definitely. I was probably a very quiet student. Um, but the, the bullying side of school definitely showed, showed, unfortunately, but this was getting, getting back on. My pony was my way of escaping at all.

Natasha (14:36):

Thank God you had that vehicle to give you Enjoy to give you your center back. Thats really important.

Sharon (14:41):

Yeah, it was just, yeah, I had my legs. So that was, that was it. And there was no stopping me. We had a riding lesson the next week at the local riding school. It went from there. My parents went on holiday and I organized the lease of a local pony.

Natasha (14:56):

Good on you. I will find away

Sharon (15:00):

Definitely find a way. And then, you know, and then my parents supported it and you know, they helped drive me to local pony club and things like that. So they, as much as they didn't want me back riding again, they didn't say no. Yeah.

Natasha (15:16):

Brilliant. So. And are you, you started competing in dressage, just normal dressage.

Sharon (15:23):

Yeah. Yeah. I look, I honestly, I did everything in those early days. They even had me on the games team, um, in pony club. I never did the games where you had to jump off the pony cause I was never very quick at getting back on. Um, and so yeah, I did. Um, I actually, my first love was eventing. Um, loved, loved that, but it frustrated me because I couldn't make my stirrup short enough to go up and do the bigger jumps and the con the concussion on the leg actually just had me in tears, tears most of the time. So, um, so I got frustrated. I couldn't go up the levels that I wanted to go up in that. So then I got the opportunity to sit on a dressage horse that knew some tricks.

Natasha (16:05):

And you were hooked.

Sharon (16:07):

That I was hooked. like honestly.

Natasha (16:09):

What was the trick. Was it, was it P off? Was it a change? What was the trick?

Sharon (16:13):

It was a com. I got to try this one day. Um, my coach at the time, Karen spice put me on her horse and I got to try a flying change. I got to try a half pas, try some half steps. Like, like it was just, I will never forget that day for the rest of my life. Um, the adrenaline rush I got was like, I found what I wanted to do. I'd been doing a bit of showing, um, cause I'd worked out. I could go showing and I could, yeah. I had a bit of success in that and did some Royal shows and um, but then, you know, yeah. Was the next step was finding dressage that was like, Oh my God. Yeah. I found what I want to do. So, um, yeah, I competed, I like, we went and found, um, we thought, okay, we'll find the, you know, advanced school master can teach me something. Can we went and found this freshly broken in three year old? Uh,

Natasha (17:12):

Yep. I'm looking for a grey horse. I got a black one.

Sharon (17:16):

So we got the freshly broken in three year old, but um, yeah. It's so it was actually interesting. So once I started riding again, um, I actually had, I didn't realize that I had this massive fear when I started riding again of falling off.

Natasha (17:30):

Yeah. Understandable.

Sharon (17:34):

Like from the early days going through pony club where I'd literally squeak or squeal, if the pony did something that I didn't want it to do or, you know, then, but then progressing to a big horse, this fear actually reactivated. Um, and so it took me a good long time to actually get over that fear. So I, they had the first three years I had this freshly broken in three year old was definitely a love, hate relationship. Um, I can only imagine driven, driven out of fear and he wasn't even that big, I think it was a 16 or just over 16 hands maybe. Um, but yeah, he, he loved me to the beginnings of a dressage journey and that, and so, um, yeah. And, and then, um, this crazy thing, I had no idea I could read the Paralympics. Like I love the idea of the Paralympics. I'd seen a little bit, you know, um, but I didn't have a full understanding of it and I was at a competition in Perth and um, so when I get on my horse, I get on the wrong side. So I got on the off side. I can't. Yeah.

Natasha (18:44):

Because thats the stronger leg?

Sharon (18:44):

yeah and so, um, someone saw me getting on my horse on the wrong side and um, they said to the person next to him, you know, what's wrong with her? Why, why is she doing that? And they said, Oh, that's Sharon. Um, yeah, her leg doesn't work properly. And um, they said, Oh, I'd like to meet her. So I went and competed and I came back and um, I was walking past my friend said, Oh, um, and Mary would like to see you. And I'm like, yeah, who's Mary. And she's like, go introduce you to Mary. And I met Mary and there was Mary and, and, um, Mary happened to be sitting in a wheelchair.

Natasha (19:23):


Sharon (19:24):

She just straight out said to me, have you thought of going to the Paralympics? And, and I looked, I looked at her and I gave her the most evil looks and I could've killed her and buried her six foot under because I was just so like, who the hell do you think you are telling me I have a disability.

Natasha (19:45):

Yes. Yeah. And I could imagine that would be a, because you're such a go getter and you're such a, nothing stops me. Um, that, that kind of mindset is hang on. I, I reject that. Um, but yeah, as you get more into it, it's like, well, hang on. This is kind of cool.

Sharon (20:01):

Yeah. Cause I was just like, and she's like, well, what's wrong with your legs? And I'm like, Oh, it just doesn't work properly. And you know, and she, you know, she was like, well, you know, Beijing's in two years' time. Have you thought? And you know, she said, look, here's my name, here's my number. You know, if, if you want to get involved, let me know. And I can tell you how to go about this. Wow. And, um, honestly, like I went to my friend and I said, Oh, I've been asked about this. And she was like, great. Super went to my coach. And she was just like, I'm glad somebody had approached you about this. Cause I was too scared to approach you about this. Um, yeah. I was suddenly like, Oh, all these other people seeing me as a disability. I, I hadn't really, yeah. Seen it myself. And so, um, yeah, it was crazy. So I got in the car and I drove, you know, the three hours home from the competition. And I actually, I cried the whole way. Like I was just, I, it was just in a sense, just so confronting. But then at the same time I've got, these thoughts are going through my head of, Oh my God, here is my way of representing Australia, doing what I love the country. I love. And like, yeah. So I went home and I said to my, I got home and I said, Oh my God, I've been approached about doing, you know, do I want to do the Paralympics? And um, my parents again, which is brilliant because they just said, look, if you want to, if you want to do it, do it. If you don't want to do it, don't do it

Natasha (21:44):

Easy, do what you want to do.

Sharon (21:48):

Yes. Yes. We'll support you. If you say you want to, we'll support you. If you say you don't want to, you know? Um, so yeah, but what happened the next morning? Oh my God. I, I woke up, it was honestly like this kid on Christmas just had this fire in my belly, this like, is this thing that I could do? Um, yeah. Like, and the whirlwind since then was just nuts. So I don't think it's actually still the most, I've lived the most crazy life since then, honestly. Um, but yeah, so I just, yeah, I rang the lady and, and I saw she actually, her first words were, you're going to tell me you don't want to do it. I actually said, no, tell me more, what do I have to do? Um, so yeah, so the, the parents have this whole classification system, um, and there's five different grades, grade ones, the riders with the most disability grade fives, the riders with the least disability and you have to get classified. Um, so I went for the classification and my words were look, honestly, I don't think I've got enough of a disability to classify. They were my words anyway. Um, and we get to the end of this classification and they're like, yeah, I think,you are grade four.

Natasha (23:15):


Sharon (23:16):

And, and I'm like, but that's not even the least. Somehow I've managed to fit it. So absolutely what we found out through this whole process, which was really interesting was that my, my, what we thought was my good leg actually, um, doesn't function correctly. Wow. It comes down to when they're at a hundred percent, when they, when they did the, um, you know, it was obviously affected after they stapled the growth plan. Um, so I was just like, Oh, right, okay. Well, I thought I had at least one good leg. Maybe I've got half a good legs. Um, so yeah, so, and that was how I fit into the great degrade that I do. Um, so yeah, and I just couldn't it. So I went that year and competed at what was then the RDA nationals and was just mind blowing by that experience and picked up a third and a fourth, I think it was. Um, and then that, that got me selected into going to the world championships the next year. Um, and they were held in England at heartbreak and they were separate to all the other disciplines with, we had to go over there and borrow horses like Australia wasn't even taking their own horses. Um, so that was a massive experience. And then we, yeah, so did that and picked up in sixth and eighth place. Wow. If I can do that on a horse, I've riden for a couple of weeks and I just said no. And so, but we had to like, so then the, you know, the decisions came that, you know, the horse that I had, um, uh, wasn't going to go international. And he was at that stage, I still had the horses being the freshly broken in three year olds. Um, and of which we just had an incredible partnership.

New Speaker (25:19):

And, and, you know, as a pair we'd achieved something, I never thought I wouldn't, we, we rode it the, um, nationals for show horse in my rider class, you know, like here I was in a disabled rider, riding in my rider class at national was like, that was just beyond what I'd ever dreamed of doing actually. So, um, yeah, so we had to sell, sell him and, and I'd been breeding a few ponies at home, um, because I had the passion for ponies cause I was too scared to ride big horses. Um, and so we, we sold as many as them as we could. And with the help of my parents and the bank, you know, we, we came up with a budget to, to buy a horse, to, to go to the games on. And that was pretty scary. Um, and we couldn't find anything in Australia and by chance, um, we had, when we were training in England, we had a day off from training and we went into the local town. And so what does Sharon do? She does. She goes and finds the, um, horse and hound magazine and the horse and hand magazine and sits down and has a coffee and fixed through there and finds an ad for a horse for sale. So your had him due to arrive into Australia. So then, you know, we're thinking, okay, we've got to qualify and get selected for Beijing. And the weekend is due to arrive into Australia the EI outbreak hits

Natasha (26:44):

And he gets stuck

Sharon (26:46):

Stuck in month for months in the quarantine, in the UK. So budget got completely blown out of the water. So I'm finally, finally getting back back home to Western Australia the week before Christmas. So,

Natasha (27:06):

and he's not been in work now for a long time.

Sharon (27:10):

Nope. They didn't work for six months. And um, yeah. And, and literally six weeks later was the selection. It was so crazy

Natasha (27:22):

Talking, keep telling me that that was a good ending. Ah

Sharon (27:28):

Yeah. So he arrives into Australia very massive steep learning curve for the horse.

Natasha (27:38):

Can you imagine so you're trying to like do Christmas, but you're like, Oh, I gotta learn how to. For level four. Do you have to walk, trot, Cantor? Like what's the difficulty of this dressage test?

Sharon (27:50):

It's about, it's a weird combination. It's about an elementary level. Um, and your freestyles about a medium level.

Natasha (27:58):

So it has changes in the freestyle. Yeah.

Sharon (28:01):

Has changes in your freestyle. You don't have to, but like, honestly, if you want to be up here, you've got to be there. So yeah. So

Natasha (28:10):

Like, you've got to find buttons.

Sharon (28:13):

I had no idea what I had at all, he, he trained, um, he'd, um, done. He competed up to, into one then, and, and you know, he's half steps there and things like that and no idea what buttons I was pressing.

Natasha (28:28):

And then obviously with the legs, you would use a lot different leg guides and one leg stronger than the other. I'm assuming. So there's a lot to get used to.

Sharon (28:37):

Yeah. Well, the thing that got me when, when I tried him that one ride was, he just said, Oh yeah, I think I know what you mean. Yeah. I think I'll give that.

Natasha (28:49):

Yeah. Good on you. Yeah.

Sharon (28:51):

It was such a character though. He was, Oh my God. Just such a character. So it was kind of controlling learning about the character that do will actually probably the hardest. Um, and so we did this selection competition and they were flying the judges around Australia because what had happened with EI. So they flew the judges all around Australia and um, yeah. And then just, yeah, we, we were selected, it was just quite really crazy. And at the same time.

Natasha (29:19):

So you won the test or came second, like you, you, you are now selected for the Beijing

Sharon (29:26):

For Beijing and you know, we had to make plans. And then in the middle of all this, my, my dad actually suffered a heart attack. Um, and then had a quadruple bypass. Um, and, and a week later I had to be on the road to Victoria to go base, to, to prepare for the games. You know, that was good.

Natasha (29:47):

How old are you at this time?

Sharon (29:49):

Um, what was I? I was 29, 29 and I driven, I'd already driven across Australia.

Natasha (29:58):

Yeah. Because that's where I'm about to go with that.

Sharon (30:03):

Well, uh, I tell you what, like, it adds a whole different perspective to your understanding of how big Australia is.

Natasha (30:11):

Yes. And let's just say for everyone in Europe, the distance is like, it's so many countries of Europe, isn't it from Western, do you know the kilometers?

Sharon (30:23):

Um, it's just on the 4,000 kilometers.

Natasha (30:26):

Right. But it's like dessert like, it's not like there's hotels. Like I don't even know how you do it with fuel. Like there's no fuel, there's no petrol stations. I don't understand. I'm scared.

Sharon (30:41):

I see. I believe everybody should do at least.

Natasha (30:45):

Well, I think you're right. I think it's a good challenge.

Sharon (30:49):

My, my, my dad used to be my co-driver, um, and that, so he would always, he'd always, um, do the trip home with me. Um, and we, I used to borrow my uncle actually at times now I've honestly borrowed everybody. I can possibly find to help drive that drive. Sometimes I've borrowed, friend's husbands,

Natasha (31:10):

Just a random guy

Sharon (31:14):

And people either love it or hate it. It's really interesting

Natasha (31:18):

are you a good singer, I feel you need good fan tracks and good singing.

Sharon (31:24):

I'm so good at singing. I turned the volume up so loud that you can't hear my singing. Um, and yeah, so that was just being involved in that Paralympic experience for the first time was completely mind blowing to me. Um, and it really is like an, um, like, ah, I think it will fifth at first test. Um, so that was cool. It was cool. You know, um,

Natasha (31:57):

did you go there Going for the Gold's mine or were you just happy to be there? You had no idea. Cause obviously the combinations also new and you were just like, whatever we get is whatever we get.

Sharon (32:07):

Yeah. Honestly, you know, it's like a metal would be nice, but I had no idea what I was getting into I've come fifth and my horse, we went, we rode out into the arena for the first time and um, he's literally exploded for like, he's just like, like he's, you know, being a bit, we've probably, I've probably underprepared, you know, you haven't been worked enough and that, and everything else is going on. And so he's kind of been a bit explosive. And I think in that test had, we had a score from, from a two to a nine. It was, that was this. We had an explosion and, and, but then we had amazing work. So, um, come the next test. It was like, right. And we worked really quite hard and um, you know, and then I draw the worst place possible. Nobody wants to draw first and I draw first and the next test. So first out of those blocks and then just.

Natasha (33:08):

So this is the freestyle now with the flying change.

Sharon (33:09):

We've done the team test, this is the individual for a metal. This is a metal. And we go and we perform for what at the time was probably our best test. And then we're getting through the, through the best part of going first is when that sport or scoreboard goes up, it's your name and place first.

Natasha (33:43):

Right? The one is next to my name. It happened.

Sharon (33:46):

Completely. And, and so, um, we, um, and then we get down and then someone else beats me and someone else beats me and me sitting in bronze metal place.

Natasha (33:57):

I'm dying, Im so nervous.

Sharon (33:58):

and I'm the rider. rides. And I'm sitting with my parents in the stands and the last ride, a ride. And we're sitting there on the edge of our seat, waiting for this score to go up. And she just beats me by like 0.8 of abstain or something. And I'm just like, ah,

Natasha (34:18):

I can't believe you watched, I would just be under like, I'd be in bed with the covers over my head. Going just tell me when its over.

Sharon (34:25):

I Love watching. Honestly, if I could watch every test I would love, I know I love watching how other people ride their tests and learn something all the time I really do and.

Natasha (34:39):

so you have come fourth. We have got fifth and now fourth. We're so close. Tell me, give me some good news. What happens in the freestyle?

Sharon (34:48):

Yeah, it wasn't our test suite test, but it was, I think at that time, um, you know, like probably as a bit tired, I was exhausted by the whole situation where we were as a team. Like we did a nice test, but it was that lack of international experience really that probably, you know, we weren't, I think we finished, I think we got seventh, you know, the toptebd, like it's just fine. Don't really complain. You know, I was, I was so static about my fourth place. We definitely put this fire in my belly. Like I wanted that. I wanted that.

Natasha (35:33):

I can only imagine you were very obsessed before now you're on. Tell me what happened for 2012.

Sharon (35:41):

Well, we were have to go through 2010 first.

Natasha (35:43):

Oh, WEG.

Sharon (35:49):

that was the next one was, um, when was the first time that para in 2010 was included in every other sport. So it was all the FEI sports where there in Kentucky. Um, and so it was definitely, it was like, Oh my God, I've got to get her and I've got to go get my medal. Yeah, definitely on that mission. So yeah. So I head back to WA after Beijing and the games and, you know, starting to make plans for what, you know, 2009 is going to look like to lead into 2010. Um, and then just suddenly completely out of the blue. Uh, my dad died and, um, just a heart attack and just, it killed him, killed him in my mom's arms. Um, and my, my world just died like that. Just my dad had been such an incredible supporter. It was completely my rock. He was my, my, um, you know, fuzz on the phone. He, you know, when I ran out of petrol a kilometer from home, because I'd been, you know, going, yeah, I'll make it home without fueling up. And he would come and save me. Um, you know, but he taught me a lot of things. Um, you know, he was like, right, you can do this, but he was also like, you have to work for it. You know, like, and, um, I had this, this one time, um, I'd filled up some water buckets. We had, um, uh, before we got water in our stables, I'd filled up some water buckets and I needed to carry them like 20 meters. And I filled them up to full and I couldn't carry them. And I asked, my dad said, you know, dad, can you carry these water buckets for me? And, um, what he did was he picked up the water bucket. I literally picked it up and tipped it over my head. So I just ended up drenched like, and I'm like, what the hell was that? I was just lucky. It was a hot day. What was that for? And he's like, look, he's like, I'm not always going to be here to do stuff for you. You you've got to work out a way to make things happen, you know? And, and it's a bit of a tough lesson on the day. Cause I was, it was just, you know, it's taught me, taught me everything because, you know, I might, I might be able to do things, but not necessarily most conventional way, but I can make things happen. Um, and so yeah, like definitely, um, had to draw on everything because, you know, then, you know, my mom's just, you know, she's at home on the farm and, and, and my brother is there and you know, my, my dad ran the farm with them and suddenly, you know, we had to work out how to make the farm work without him.

New Speaker (38:38):

Um, and I can remember my brother ringing me one day going, so, you know what cows were getting joined to the new bull. And I'm like, I have no idea. Like dad, dad was a farmer that kept everything, a lot of things in his head. So it's, it's probably taken, you know, the next 10 years for us to really sort out how to run the farm. Um, so yeah, I, I, yeah, I went, yeah. I went to Kentucky, my, my mum flew over and that was a massive experience for her to come and to come by herself. And, um, yeah, like I placed third in the team test and, and that was kind of, I think it probably was when I was like, okay, I am.

Natasha (39:23):

You got a team bronze metal?

Sharon (39:26):

No. So they don't actually award medals for the team test individually. So I had to ride the freestyle and no, sorry, the individual championship test. And like, it was interesting. So I'd gone out in the first test and could be a bit explosive black we'd learnt at Beijing and indeed in a team testy. I know someone said a flash went off behind me and he skipped a beat. And, um, but we've done a fair bit of training with him beforehand. So when we would definitely attain and that, but he was, he knew when to turn it on and it could be a showman and, you know, so you had to keep him a little bit in control. And, um, so we made this plan of, okay, when we go out for the individual tests, all the Ozzies supporters are going to go crazy when I first go in, be like, when I'm going around the outside the arena. So he could have his little, Oh my God, I'm on show. And I could get him a bit under control again anyway. But the problem was, we forgot to tell my mum this. So we come up with this plan in the stables and mum hadn't been in that chat. Um, so she told me this story afterwards is that, um, you know, everybody's gone crazy when I've gone in there, he's gone and exploded a little bit and she's telling her anyway, then she, then she realized that, you know, like everybody was going crazy. So she said, Oh, hang on. This might be a bronze medal was, yeah.

Natasha (41:02):

Like you finally got that metal.

Sharon (41:05):

Got, got that metal is just, yeah, it was just incredible. And seeing that, seeing that Ozzy flag go up, but honestly saying that that flag go up, it was just, yeah.

Natasha (41:20):

And after losing it, being so close with that would have felt amazing.

Sharon (41:26):

It, it did feel amazing. Um, and, and just, yeah, it was, it was a very special, very moment. And it's probably, probably the moment where I really felt, felt my dad was there with me. Like, like just, you know, and it was just definitely watching me. And, and then, and yeah, and then I think it was two days later we had the freestyle and, um, you know, I think because I won one medal, um, you know, I always, I was thinking, God, I was just hungry for another one.

Natasha (42:02):

Did you have in your head that you could beat second and first and you were going to get the first, like, was that your intention in the freestyle or did they were just too hard for you to reach right now?

Sharon (42:14):

No, I don't think so. They were deaf, there are definitely people admire watching and riding. Um, and I, I think it was just about me and what I could do, you know, and if, if I could, if I could beat them, then that was fine, but it was just me and my horse in there. And the freestyle it's really funny. I was riding the freestyle and I thought to myself, geez, it's never worked as good as this. This is good timing. It was just, you know, I was a static about it. Um, and, um, and, and yeah, I came home with another bronze medal, which was just incredible. Yeah. So it's just, yeah, that was, that was coming home. Yeah. From there was, was incredible. Um, two bronze metals, um, Australia, one green metals that year with a Boyd XO gold medal, um, special. So, yeah, so then it was two years to London and, um, so I headed back to Western Australia and, um, planned on going to London. Um, and yeah, unfortunately I had to retire my horse before the final selection competition. So, and it kind of allowed me a year to have a bit of fun, not that the other isn't fun, but just, um, yeah. And I, you know, I actually went and eventing with my stole my niece's pony

Natasha (43:45):

2016 to get a horse ready for that one.

Speaker 2 (43:49):

Yeah. Yeah. So, um, to, um, purchase a horse, um, with the aim of Rio, um, M a found, found a horse, um, in Europe, um, and you know, like I wrote it a couple of times and, and I thought, yeah, this, this horse has the potential, um, to do this. Um, it was really fancy. It fitted within the budget. Um, and yeah, so took, took that opportunity. Um, so we looked at that, uh, December late, 2014, um, and then the horse, I don't know, it must be something to do with importing horses. There was some bland is outbreak and this or that or something. And so the timeline of getting the horse back to Australia certainly changed. Um, and then it got into Australia and was travel six, all these things go on. So six months later, again, I get a horse. Uh, we get the horse back to Western Australia in the, in the may, um, and you know, six months off and, and the horse was a little different to what I'd written in Europe, um, and was definitely again, severe steep learning curve to get used to this horse. Um, so, um, so yeah, so we lead into, um, Rio, um, and July, 2014, I went to my first competition on the horse. Um, we just went out at medium level, went really well, um, and had a couple of wins, which was really nice. Um, and a week later I break my bad leg.

Podcast Episode 17: How Important Is Rhythm In Your Horse Riding?

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review!! In this episode Natasha talks about the importance of having good rhythm when riding your horse and how to ensure your horse is doing the correct rhythm.
If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript


Today, we're going to talk about everything rhythm. Rhythm is on the first part of the German Training Scale. It is vital to training a dressage horse. We're going to talk about rhythm. We're going to talk about tempo. We're going to talk about what it all is, how it all works, how we do it properly and get it going. So let's get into it.


Today I thought we could talk about out, uh, the very first thing that I think about when I'm riding a dressage horse, which is what do you think? One of the very first things I'm going to think about when I get on a horse, what do you think I should be thinking about? But the very first thing I'm thinking about is what is the rhythm? Is my horse moving in a rhythm. So even before I go, I want it forward. Even before I think about, is it going or does it stop or does it turn? I want to know, does it, is it working in rhythm? So in a walk what's the rhythm of the walk ?walk is four beats. One, two, three, and four. Well, not an four because it's not that rhythm. It's this one, two, three, four. So if we were writing music, it's a four, four rhythm. I do believe is that right though? If I'm writing music for a walk, it's yeah. Good. Okay. Then we're going into trot. What is the rhythm I need to look for in trot, Phil, uh, to check if I was writing the music signature, that would be two four.


Does that mean two beats per bar? Like doesn't that mean that it would be slower? I don't know music very well. Trying to walk. Yes. And we know that the truck is a two beat goes one, two, one, two. But is it the time signature too? I mean, you could theoretically, cause then I wouldn't know if it was a quaver or Sammy or a crutch. It look at my old music. Don't worry. No one else is musically inclined either. So we're not going to get into crotchets and semiquavers and all these things weekly up to two beats. Exactly. We don't know how we would write it in music land. We just know it goes one, two, one, two, one two. Now I find the walk rhythm. Well, the walk rhythm for me a bit hard to find sometimes, sometimes it, um, can have a one, two, three, four, like it can, it can be on rhythmical.


I feel the trot rhythm is the easiest one to keep regular, like one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, but they canter and everyone, um, go with the Cantor and tell me, um, what Bates it is a, Ooh, the Canter's really tricky to keep one, two, three, (123) 123-1231 (231) 231-2312 (312) 312-3123. So I find sometimes, especially when you start working with collection that you going one, two, three, one. one, two, three, one two three and it's just no rhythm to it. It's just there. There's one, two, three, and then there's a one, two, three and a half, and maybe you're even trotting behind and it can just get really, really messy. So I know in the cancer, if I'm in my head and one, two, three, one, two, three one two three one two, three, stop, stop, stop. And now, now, now, now, and I always stamped down with my heel on beat number one.


So it's beep beep beep. And then if I'm, if I'm, I'm like, is that rhythmical? Well, one, two, three, one, two, three one two, three. And if I'm cantering going one, two, one, two, three, and not being able to count with that stamp, then I know I'm in trouble. So it's really, really important that, Oh, I love it. We have, we have a music dance theater Bay, dark rock on Deb. I love it. I have year nine music theory, 20 years ago. Um, but I, I think I did get 80% in that class. I don't know. I am. Yeah, music theory. Um, but it's okay. We don't need to be music theater, um, music theory, geniuses to work this out. We just need to be able to have an understanding that one, two, three, four one two one two one two and one, two, three one two three one two three one two, three.


And you can see even like, when I tap it out, I bounce my hand up off the, up off the desk because it's that fat moment of suspension of that one, two, three, one, two, three. I'm like I fought, like we come down, but then we bounced back up and that's that moment of Canter. So I know what I'm learning dressage. I didn't quite understand why everyone was banging on about rhythm. It's like, well, you know, and who hands up, who gets a bit confused with rhythm and tempo. So rhythm is, is it how many beats per bar, if we're going into music into music theory. So it's, there's four beats to one, one bar or one stride, and then there's two beats, um, to the trot. And then there's three beats to the Cantor, uh, tempo. It's just how fast do those things happen?


So I can walk with a tempo. I, as long as I can stay in the same rhythm of one, two, three, four, but I can walk at a faster tempo. So one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four one two, three, four or one, two, three, four. And that's tends to be the Friesian walk when you hop on them for the first time. They're one, two, three, four. And so the first thing I do is I'm like, what's up. And even as I tapped them up, like stuff up their rhythm for a little bit, because that's how I apply my lot leg. They'll go one, two, three, four, one, two, three, like D as I use my leg they'll they might take a couple of faster steps and then slower steps, which now means that, that, that I'm a, I'm a bit in trouble. So I need to keep the same rhythm, but I can also play with the tempo.


And that's the trick you've got to wrap your head around when you, when you're riding dressage. So whether I'm riding, you know, massage or extended trot, it's still one, two, one, two, but what's the tempo. Same with the Canter, the tempo of the Canter slows down and collection. If I'm going to canter, pero at it, then one, two, three, one, two, three, because we're turning as opposed to one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three. If I was across the diagonal in an extended C antar. So do you just want to be playing with these ideas of rhythm and tempo and rhythm and tempo? And have I got the rhythm first? Don't worry about tempo yet. Have I got a rhythm? So you might get on a thoroughbred and, and it's just going to go, Oh, sorry. That would, yeah, they might walk like that or they might try it.


And they're like, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, just around the arena and truck, but it's with it's in rhythm. It's a rhythmical trot. The tempo is way too fast than what you want. It's not the tempo that you want, but your horse is still in rhythm. Same with the cantar. Yeah, one, two, three, one, two, three one two three one two three one two, three, three, one, two, three. It's a kind of rhythm to it. Um, and it's when we adjust the tempo that we can stuff up the rhythm. So as you play with the tempo, everyone keeps talking about, you know, with your dressage horses, you've gotta be playing with the tempo. You've got to be adapting, the tempo, you've gotta be playing with the tempo. Okay. But, and while you do that, make sure that you keep the integrity of the rhythm, correct.


As that's where the trickiness can come into it. Okay. I trust that makes sense. And so when you're riding this week, I want you to think about, um, adjusting the tempo because no matter where you are in your riding, you want to start playing with it, but really have it clear on your mind. So I don't know if you know what a metronome is. A metronome is something that keeps the beat, the rhythm again, please. I'm so sorry, Deb, where are you? Deb? She's cringing at me right now. That's not the right word for it, but it's a thing that it's like a clock and it goes tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. Um, and you can adjust it and say, I want you to give me, um, what do you tell it to do fail? Do you say, I want you tell it to go fast or you tell it to go slow.


So when Phil's playing piano, he sometimes sets it and it goes, tick tock, tick tock. And he knows that his brain he's got to play to that. And then he might adjust the metronome. And then it goes, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. And he's got to play all those notes in between that tick tock, tick tock thing. And so that's what I'm always thinking about when I'm riding . I'm like, well, what's my metronome. What is my one, two, three, four. And when we get on a horse and like I said, you get on a, and then it's one, two, three, four. Well, my metronome is not set to that. I don't care if the rhythm was good. As in it's one, two, three, four. It's not set to my metronome. My metronome is one, two, three, four one two, three, four.


And how I know that that's my metronome for walk. I visualize or think about what's the walk that my horse gives me when I'm a leading him from the paddock into the stable at dinner time, we all know that walk, okay, that's the walk you want for your extended trot. It is a marching. Let's get somewhere. We've got places to be walk. And sometimes, yes, your horse might break into trot when you're leading him into dinner, but you don't want to run. So you're like, Whoa, come back to walk. So it's the biggest March yest. Let's get to the place that we want to get to. Um, but we have to stay in the walk. That is your extended walk in the test. And that is where I'm one, two, three, four. And I'm just screaming in my head one, two, three, four. And if I don't feel those horses legs moving with my metronome, my legs are coming on and I'm saying, come, come, come.


You've got to come to me. And then same with the truck. If I'm on, you know, one of the thoroughbreds. And it's like, I'm like an one, two, one, two, and clearly they can't talk that slow, but I'm going to really bring them with my seat and my half halts and my moon come back. Two one, two, one, two, one, two, rather than the one that you want to do. And then on the counter, I tend to have lazy horses. So I'm like one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three. Um, if I had a whole set was what did you do Tuesday? I'm like one, two, three, come back to me. So you always have an inner metronome, and I want you to start being conscious of what that is this week and I'm riding to it and then adjusting it and playing, and remember, keep the playfulness, keep the irreverence, keep the enjoyment, um, that that's where the fun is in the writing.


So there's, there's a border or a cuts where you can ride the horse to before you flip it over the border or off the cliff. And then it's like, dog's breakfast. So you ride the trot that both you and the horse can deal with and that's rhythmical and yeah, it's regular and rhythmical. So you find that Trump, and let's say you're on a Friesian. And that tried is one, two, one, two one, two, one two. So it's rhythmical, but it's not the truck you want, then you sneak it forward. And you're like, come on one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two. Um, and then something you get, once you wonder and it's, and it's gone too fast or whatever, you just bring that back with. You see, remember when we ride horses, this was the biggest thing that my brain had to wrap around.


When you ride horses, you're not turning on a computer and I desperately wanted to turn on a computer. I wanted to say quick, I've got rhythm now. Cause I had rhythm. Therefore I'll always have it when you ride horses, it doesn't matter just because you've had all of it in the last stride doesn't mean that this stride will have all of that. Every single stride you're working on balance. And when I used to hear that word balance, I thought, Oh, okay, just like the horse is balanced on its legs, Fallon in everything. Cause you're either got too much contact when I'm off contact. You've either got the horse too much to the right or not enough to the right or too much to the left or not enough to the left. Your horse is either blocking to the left or blocking to the right. You'd like you constantly going, you just want equilibrium.


You just want 50% of any chance. You just want a softness in line. It's you just want an active hind leg. You just want the backup. You just want all these things. And while you have them, doesn't guarantee that you'll have them in the next stride So you're constantly juggling and going up. I've lost that. And the best riders in the world can, I wouldn't even say that they feel when they're 1% off and they fix it, they fix it even before it's 1% off. And when you're learning to ride, it has to go a hundred percent off before you go, Oh, I wonder if I should fix that. So like I remember with contact, my horse, his head would be up in the sky probably for two to three strides before I'd be like, Hmm, suppose I should work on getting the head back down.


And then, you know, I'd I'd as the head would coming up, I'd be like, Oh, maybe I should work on getting the head down. And now I'm at a point where I'm like, Oh, I can, that you're about to disengage. I'm gonna get you more through. But my it's very rudimentary tree. And very basic compared to the top riders in the world, I was talking about it today with a friend of mine, we were riding and I was like, Oh, if I can just get this quicker and better, the horse is going to be much quicker and better. So everything that your horse isn't is what you aren't. And there's nothing to be upset about. There's not a criticism it's, it's exciting. If you get it quicker and better, your horse will get quicker and better. And you're only as quick and as good as you are based on the experiences and the, and the learnings that you had yesterday, you can only be better and quicker tomorrow if you learn and experience something today.


So my riding journey is constant. Wow. What am I going to learn and experience to make me benefit tomorrow? And so that, that, so, you know, if someone says, was it a good session or a bad session? Those words don't exist because the sessions just are because it fits a bad session. I learned something and I thought about something and I'm percolating. Why it didn't go so well and I'm going to play and do something tomorrow. I might get worse again, but it will be different, worse. So to me, if I do the same thing, two days in a row, there's something wrong. I'm very unhappy. That to me is about sessions. So I have to be constantly pushing, constantly playing and constantly exploring like, um, I literally said to someone that they were like, what are you doing today? And I said, I'm literally hunting.


I am going digging for gold. I don't know if I'm going to find any gold when Might has come up short, we might just hit rock and coal. Um, but we're digging for gold. Uh, so. Yeah. I don't know if that helps perfectly. Yeah. I always think that the pur perfection doesn't exist because whenever you reach whatever you deem as perfection, there'll be another level. So I'm the perfectionist in the world. I know you guys, aren't happy. I know you live in a very horrible prison, um, of this constant chase to be, um, to have perfection. And the pressure is very, very strong to, to find that perfection. And it's great because it pushes you to find new levels, but it's also completely unattainable because there's no such thing as perfection. Um, especially in a sport like dressage, because it's not even your idea of perfection. It's someone else's, and they're not always clear on what their idea of perfection is and their idea of perfection, what they gave at ten four, which is deemed perfection in our sport. What they gave a 10 for 20, 30, 40 years ago at the Olympics, in the dressage sport. It's not, absolutely not what they would give a 10 for. So perfection is unattainable. Perfection is unrealistic and perfection is actually having no standards.


I know I'm pissing a lot of perfectionists off right now. People don't like me when I say this. Um, but so if you're not going to go for perfection, what do you go for? And it's what I was talking about before we have it all over the office. It's can I constant and never ending improvement? That's all that I expect. All my team love it. That's all I expect from you every day. Constant, never ending improvement. Don't you love it, Kate she's saying yes, but she is like the, the, the re the results and the work she gave me 10 years ago. I accepted 10 years ago. If she came in today with that, she's just, she knows that'd be like, get out, get out. It's not that I don't like her. It's just, that is not an acceptable standard anymore. Um, but it was acceptable when she did little bit at 10 years ago and who I was was acceptable 10 years ago.


She and I are both very, very, hopefully we better be different humans than we were 10 years ago. And what we excepted from each other and excepted from ourselves and accepted as a good standard is absolutely unacceptable today. And, um, yeah, th th th that's I I'm so grateful that I found this gorgeous human to be by my side for the last 10 years, because so many other people don't appreciate that they want to stay in the status quo. They want to stay in their comfort zone. They want to stay in their little zone of, well, this was okay, rock on. Like, I'm not judging, go rock on with that, but that is going to get you the same results that you got 10 years ago. And if you're not growing and growing, you're ripe and rotting, and I'm always having to be green and growing, which means that we have to live by that rule of constant and never ending improvement, which doesn't mean that we're always unhappy does mean sometimes I am.


No, no, no, but like, there's the constant, that's why I'm constantly saying, what are you grateful for? There has to be a gratefulness and appreciation, a love and an a, and a full heart of where we're at. So if you're learning to canter rock on, that's awesome. You need to be so grateful and happy. And so it's hard that you are learning to canter today in a year from now, how you canter today will be completely unacceptable and completely not the standard of how you expect to canter. But for right now, it's already out of your comfort zone. It's, it's, you know, right on the cusp of what you can do and where you're at. So as long as you're always pushing the cost, but I do it in my writing. I do it with myself. I do it in my relationships. I do it in the business.


Always find the cusp and push just that little bit every single day. So the fearless program is, is, like I said, it's, it's help. It's a program designed to, um, get you from feeling anxious about riding, scared about riding, worried about riding, feeling that Pitney stomach of, I dunno if I wanna ride, I'm scared to ride. What if, what if, what if, what if, what if something happens? What if I get hurt? What if it goes? Yeah. What if I do all that? So I, I figured out that, you know, I, I, something happened to me. I fell off my stallion. I broke a bone in my back and I suddenly had all of those feelings and I went, Oh my God, this is awful. The thing that I love is now the thing that causes me pain, the thing that I want to do is those are the things I don't want to do.


The thing that gives me joy is now the thing that gives me dread and pain and stress and anxiety. And so I was all messed up because riding was my, and my joy and my lights and my, my expression and everything that was good in my world. And now it was everything that was bad in my world. So I was lucky. I was, I'm very obsessed with success, thinking how our thinking, determines our world and determines our results. So I delved into all my study, lots of NLP, lots of sports, coaching, lots of, um, all different modalities and, um, uh, therapies out there and completely transformed my experience with my writing, had it that I could get back on that stallion. He backed me up plenty of times after that, but I never had any fear, never had any anxiety, never had any of those problems anymore.


So I solved it for me. And I went, Oh, well, I, now I want to help some more people. I wonder if I, I wonder if this works on other people. And so I started coaching some other people and it did. I could completely have them, you know, in five minutes, they're from literally, I've not cantered for 30 years to cantering around the arena, smiling with tears of joy coming out of their eyes, because they were doing something that they was scared to do, and they couldn't do for 30 years. So I went, this is awesome. This is what I'm here on the planet to do. I have to help riders find their joy. Again, I have to help riders find their, their, um, their love and their passion and, and have that, have that, you know, all of this negativity, E like, I don't know if it was just me, but like I said, the thing that gave me joy was the thing that gave me pain.


The thing that I looked forward to was now the thing that I didn't look forward to, and I just want to help as many people who are experiencing that get to the other side, like I did, and all my clients. So that's what fearless mastery is. And like, um, ah, sorry. Now I can't remember your gorgeous name. Um, uh, you mentioned it, doesn't just do that in riding. Cause I can't just do it in a silo in isolation. The program is designed to help you understand and who you are, why you do what you do, why you have fear, why you block, why you're scared, why you, you want to be in control, all those kinds of things. And then trance teaches you the tools that need to do to get rid of it. And then the last bit of the program is if, uh, if there's get rid of something and don't put something else in, you don't know what will go in.


So I deliberately install trust and self confidence, love, it's brushing fun, all those things that we want to have back in our riding, um, goes back into you. Um, but obviously it's, like I said, it's not just riding you get to, you get to have that as you, so how you show up in relationships, how you show up at work, how you show up in certain situations, all of that, um, yeah. Is what that is. So that's what the fear program is. Thank you so much for asking the question to be able to go, yeah, this is my race. Like who's, who's in my race, me, it's just me versus me. Whenever I'm doing something, I'm like, Hey man, it's Natasha in the red. Um, and in the other corner, it's Natasha in the yellow, It's just natasha vers Natasha. And I am so busy and so so much energy and focus goes into me versus me, me bettering the me of yesterday.


I couldn't even have any spare brain to even know what anyone else is doing. And so I always find that really interesting when we've got people that judge and people that complain and people that have the time to get on social media and give their opinions, which they're perfectly entitled to please don't get me wrong. You're perfectly entitled to any opinion that you have rock on, but it always perplexes me that they have the time, because if they have the time to judge someone else, I know I know enough about human behavior to know, fuck how much do they judge themselves and how hard it would be to be them to live in that brain that is constantly criticizing and constantly seeing what's wrong and constantly judging what's okay. And what's not, um, because if that's what they're doing to the external world, that's what they're doing to themselves.


So I feel so much love and compassion for those kinds of people, because yeah, like the fun and the journey and it sounds like you're there crystal, when you realized it's just you, it's just you and, and the, and when you can't miss it, then the next level when you can, except that you are totally awesome and totally fantastic and totally brilliant and totally perfect in your imperfections as well as, so that's, that takes next level to be okay with that. But then next level over that is you're okay with all your shit and all the things that you're sharing, you're shamed about and all the things that you're worried about and all the things that you hide and all the faces that you put on too, to make sure that people don't find what's really you and what's really, you know, when your deepest, darkest secrets and your deepest deepest worries, when you would say up to that, that's okay.


A whole new level as well, which is really, really exciting and you never, you never arrive. You never go. Okay. So maybe Dalai Lama is, I don't know, I don't have the time. I don't want to go on a cliff top and meditate for the next 60 years to hopefully achieve enlightenment completely. But all I know, I love exploring. Wow. I'd like, my journey is more maybe. Okay. And maybe I'm okay, even if I'm not okay. And maybe I'm actually really okay. And maybe weekly. Okay. Being really not. Okay. And, and, and it just keeps going and going and going and it's fun.

Podcast Episode 16: Catherine Haddad & Hope Beerling - All Things Success

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In this podcast, we speak with Catherine Haddad Staller and Hope Beerling. Catherine has represented the United States in competitions throughout Europe at both national and international levels. Catherine was also the alternate rider for the USA Dressage Team in Aachen and Kentucky for the World Equestrian Games. Currently, she runs her training facility located in New Jersey. Hope Beerling is an Australian young rider currently working as a student for Catherine. We speak about why she made the huge move overseas and what it's like working with such inspirational women.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00:59):

Alright, so thank you so much, both of you for taking the time. I so appreciate it.

Hope (00:01:43):

That's all right.

Catherine (00:01:44):

You're welcome.

Natasha (00:01:45):

Good, good, good. And I love it looks warm. I'm over there. I'm in like three jackets and jumpers and you guys are loving it and the T-shirts and the singlets. I'm so, what, what temperature is it?

Hope (00:01:57):

Uh, it's like 32 degrees.

Catherine (00:02:00):

Maybe it may be a little bit warmer. You wouldn't love it If you were here, the humidity is excruciating right now. It's like a jungle.

Natasha (00:02:07):

and the riding. So do you ride very early in the morning or you do it all day?

Catherine (00:02:13):

Very early. As much as we can, Hope because she's, my assistant has to ride. A little bit later than I do, but yeah, we try to get, we try to get the really intense riding done early.

Natasha (00:02:24):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. We'll start with you, Catherine. Sorry, I just a short little snippet of where you riding Shetlands when you were two years old or did you start riding later? What's been your riding journey in a couple of minutes, if you can summarize it.

Catherine (00:02:42):

Well, I started riding when I was six years old on an unbroken sort of wild pony that my mother picked out for me. Um, and.

Natasha (00:02:49):

I, I love it was unbroken.

Catherine (00:02:51):

It was unbroken. Yes. I was broken immediately afterward. Um, but the pony, it took about a hundred days to get her to stop bucking me off. I was, was only six at the time and didn't know much. So it was kind of a bare back break in job. But, um, I graduated from that to 4 H horses and I rode in what are our 4 H is like country riding and, you know, minor competitions with Western and English riding and things like that. And then when I went to college, I got into, uh, eventing and dressage and for five years, I evented very seriously. And then I ended up getting such a really nice warm blood to ride from a client that bought it for me, that I, I started doing dressage and, um, that journey took me to Germany when I was 29. Yeah.

Natasha (00:03:38):

One sec. When you were eventing, were you winning on your dressage score? Like, was this the signs you should just stop here?

Catherine (00:03:47):

Absolutely. I was winning on my dressage score. Yeah. And it was, it was lower level of eventing. So, you know, it was easy to jump around. So I, I just kinda like laughed after the dressage phase and just galloped around and jumped a few fences. But, um, then I moved to Germany when I was 29 and I, I meant to stay three months, but I ended up staying 20 years and yeah, I, I worked with some of the best trainers in Germany and I ran my own, um, uh, training and sales business there. And I competed internationally for the United States while I lived in Germany. And then I met my husband and I moved back to America in end of 2012. And I've been here teaching training and showing ever since

Natasha (00:04:30):

That's huge. There's so much to unpack there. So firstly, thinking you're only going to be in Germany three months and then being there for so many years was that there's going to be people making those kinds of decisions all the time. Was it hard for you to go? There's obviously a family, but it's some like back home in America, there's friends, there's there's things there, but was it just number one in your life was riding like nothing else mattered. What was the mindset around making?

Catherine (00:04:57):

My ambition was number one and I didn't want to be mediocre at my sport. So I wanted to go learn from the very best. And I knew that my journey would somehow take me to Germany. And I, I knew that I had to go there and put a foot in that door. And really when I left for Germany, I didn't know where that journey would lead me. It, it evolved as I stayed there.

Natasha (00:05:21):

The people are probably listening to that going, yes, but obviously didn't know German. I'm thinking and it's scary. And it's kind of like what you're doing, hope you're on the other side of the planet. You can still got the English going. I love that

Catherine (00:05:34):

She thinks she knows English, but she's in America now. So her English is also foreign.

Natasha (00:05:39):

I love it. Um, so it was, it just that ambition just took it, overcame the fear, it overcame every other emotion that you could have been feeling at that time because I have to be the best. And that's just, there was a full stop after I have to be the best. So it didn't matter what else happened.

Catherine (00:05:56):

Yeah. I was fearless Back then. I'm pretty fearless now actually fear has not ever really factored into my life in a, in a large way. I'm, I'm a risk taker and I enjoy taking risks. So, um, it was, yeah, it was a risk to pack up my whole life and moved to Germany. But like I said, it was only supposed to be for three months. So I thought, Oh, I'll do this three months and I'll have a little more on my resume and I'll come back to the States and I'll be a better teacher and so on, so forth. And I just ended up realizing that I had a whole life of learning in front of me. And the best way to do that was to go to top professionals and the top professionals were in Germany. So I went to study with Willi Schultheis, who was one of the greatest masters in, in the world of dressage ever to this day still. And, um, I then continued to work with one of his proteges. And when I began showing an international competition, he was the person who coached me to my first international starts. Um, so, you know, there was so much more available in Germany because of the people who were there and because they made opportunity available to me. Yeah. That's why I stayed. And it didn't feel like a risk. I didn't feel like I gave up anything. I'm very close to my family, but I only see them sort of once a year anyway. And you know, I continued to see them once a year when I lived in Germany. So just telephone, email, you can stay in touch.

Natasha (00:07:19):

That's it. And was it also a case of you didn't know what you didn't know when, til you got there? Like, did you think you were very good and then kind of got there and went, Oh, now I can see how much more I have to learn.

Catherine (00:07:33):

Well, I knew that I sucked and, uh, and I knew that I was a very uneducated rider that much I knew, I thought that I had talent and I knew that my, um, my confidence, I think in my, my, just my ability to sit back and say, Oh, the knowledge will come when I'm ready to hear the knowledge. My, my calmness about the situation led me to places where I can really, really learn and yeah, about halfway through about 10 years into it. I thought, boy, I really do have a lot to learn still.

Natasha (00:08:05):

Oh gosh, ten years in Germany. Oh shit.

Catherine (00:08:10):

Yeah. Yeah. It's a lifetime learning experience, dressage. I mean, and I'm, I'm just, now I'm now I'm 56 years old and I'm just now saying to myself, yeah, I'm pretty sure how to train most of the horses that come through my stable. And I have a really clear idea of where I want to get to with most of my horses, but I still need eyes on the ground. And, um, it still helps me to have someone, you know, mentioned something that, that I'm, that I should tweak or change with a horse. So I S I worked with Johann Johann, and now I'm mostly remotely in the moment because of the COVID crisis.

Natasha (00:08:46):

Yes. And has that been great. So was he more coming to America and going back and now with the force four thing of we've got to get the technology. That could be a great thing moving forward.

Catherine (00:08:58):

Yes. Yeah, but I mean, I coach a lot of people remotely as well. It's not, it's not a replacement for live eyes. It never will be, but it's a very nice thing to touch base and to tune things up in between the live lesson.

Natasha (00:09:11):

Yeah. Yeah. And is that, sorry, let's have a chat about, um, uh, you said you met your husband in America or in Europe.

Catherine (00:09:19):

Yeah. He's American. So he's the reason that I've moved back to this country, to the United States.

Natasha (00:09:24):


Catherine (00:09:25):

So I met, I met him at a selection trial for the world equestrian games in 2010. It was the first time that I brought, I was, had been showing internationally for four or five years at that point. But it was the first time that I brought a horse back to the States to compete impact. The first time that I competed internationally on the international level in the United States was during that selection trial period. And I became reserved for the team in 2010 for the Lexington world equestrian games.

Natasha (00:09:51):

Yeah. That's huge. And so you're, you're focusing on the world of Christian games, but there's a man. Like what were you distracted or did that come after?

Catherine (00:10:02):

No, I was quite, I was quite distracted, actually. It was very, it's very distracting at the time, but, uh, he's, uh, he's a world class veterinarian. And with, you know, he specializes in sport horses, so he was the treating veterinarian for that particular competition. And yeah, it was a bit distracted. It's probably why I ended up reserved for the team instead of on the team. I could blame him for that. Actually.

Natasha (00:10:27):

Oh, that's fabulous. So then you came back home and you created a stable. Was it nice to create a home and to go, Oh, this is going to be mine because I'm assuming you, you were operating a business in Europe that you, um, with leasing staples, I'm assuming

Catherine (00:10:43):

I was leasing state. Well, one stable. I stayed in one place for a long time. Yes, yes and no. It was, um, in some ways, a bit of a shock to come back to America because the industry is so different here from what you've experienced in Europe. And it, and I thought as an American, I would just come home and everything would fall into place. The way I made it fall into place in Europe, it didn't quite happen that way. So, um, it's much more expensive to keep horses in the United States, especially in the two areas where I operate my businesses in Wellington, Florida, and in California Jersey. They're probably two of the most expensive places to keep horses, um, meaning to board them, to have them in stables, to buy property, to feed them, you know, that whole thing. So compared to Germany, which where I lived in Germany was relatively, was more of an agricultural scene as far as raising boarding and, and supporting horses. The, the, the prices were a shock factor. And also the industry is very different on the two different sides of the Atlantic. Very, very different industry. So it took some adjusting. Um, I think I'm a little, a little bit better with it now. And, uh, yeah, we just move on from there.

Natasha (00:11:59):

Yeah. I love it. So, um, you've got two places. Is this because of the weather or is it the competition? Uh, opportunities. Cause I hear of everyone going to Wellington, Florida in, is it the summer or the winter? When do you go to

Catherine (00:12:15):

Our, our winter, your summer, which is also quite confusing. I know, but no, um, the summer in New Jersey is at least cool in the nights, but hot and humid in the day, Florida. You can't, you can't be there during our summertime. It's, it's worse than a jungle. Um, so Wellington is a winter competition circuit, and most of our qualifications for world cups and world equestrian games and Olympics take place in Florida in the wintertime. So that's why all of the professionals, they take their, they usually take their clients with them. Um, I take my whole stable. We're either completely in Florida or either completely in New Jersey and Hope got to experience the move last spring. She got to help do all the packing up and moving horses home. And it's not, it's not an easy project. It's, it's a logistical nightmare, but actually with the help of people, like Hope we stay very organized and we're getting pretty smooth at being gypsies twice a year.

Natasha (00:13:13):

Huge. Wow. Okay. Um, so what are your current team of horses? What's what's um, was, were we planning 2020 and we now planning 2021.

Catherine (00:13:25):

We are now planning 2021. I knew that 2020 was going to come too early for me for, I have, I have two grand Prix horses up and running actually one is convenient, ground Prix. The other one is just about to do her first intermediate two, and I hope she'll quickly graduate to grand Prix. Um, and no one believes me. No one in the horse industry was happier to hear that the Olympics got postponed by one year. So, um, now I'm thinking, Oh, maybe I have a shot to at least at least participate in the qualification. Let's put it that way.

Natasha (00:13:58):

Great and, um, do you buy horses already made or do you have a lot of young horses? So you're like, yeah, you're 20, 28. You're 2032. You're 2036. Cause it is a long term thinking when you're talking about, if you do it from the young horse.

Catherine (00:14:12):

Oh, absolutely. And I've always made my own horses, but I have a mix. I have two top horses up and running right now. One of them I actually bred. Um, and she, and I've, she's been trained. I don't want to say I trained her because she's been trained in my stable almost to grand prix by people. Like Hope who've come to learn from me. like a rider. If you will, might the people, my apprentices have trained her and competed her all the way up to the level. She's, she's one with four different riders. Um, and yes, and then I took over the ride last year and she's now going out grand Prix. She just did a 74% in her last competition a week ago. So yeah, really, really coming along really improved horse. And then the other one I bought is a nine year old and she had already done an intermediate two in Europe with the rider that I bought her from, but she is not the easiest horse for me to ride. And I've had to really revamp and, um, retrain her to respond to me the way I want her to. And that's that's for me a much more difficult job than taking over a horse. That's already been trained in my system. So that's why she's a little, they're the same age and they're two mayors. Um, but that's why she's a little bit behind the other one because it's taken me a while to resculpt her, if you will.

Natasha (00:15:35):

Yes. And so for people listening, I mean, everyone's going to have their own opinion and their own personal preference, but for you, it sounds like you prefer to do it from the very start. As you said in your system, all the buttons are where you put the buttons. Yeah. That's huge. And yeah, you go,

Catherine (00:15:53):

Most of my horses have been developed from the age of six. I've purchased them at five or six and they've been developed up to grand prix by me. So they they're, you know, they're fully stamped by my way of riding. Um, so this will be, there was another horse that I showed two or three years ago that had also been, had a lot of training from different people on her. She also took me a long time to turn around, but that was also a fabulous Horse. So, you know, I kind of well known for getting horses in that are a bit of a project they're either ordinary or they have some issues and they need to be turned around and, and trained into something special. And that's, that's kinda my, my wheelhouse, that's what I like to do.

Natasha (00:16:36):

That your zone of genius. I love it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We'll go with that. So how many horses hare there, how many horses do you have to look after Hope? How many horses get riden and how many horses are there?

Hope (00:16:53):

Um, well currently I'm running like six a day right now. Like we have 16. Yeah. 16 in the stable. Yeah.

Natasha (00:17:04):

Yeah. Okay. So there's a, there's a lot. Okay. And what does a day in the life. Firstly, you Catherine, what does a day in the life of you look like?

Catherine (00:17:14):

Well, I think hope is can better tell you that. Cause cause hope can tell you what her day looks like from morning until evening. Let her tell you.

Hope (00:17:20):

You wake up at like five and five 30. I come out, that's a team of us. So we do the boxes, the hoses get fed, and then we sweep the fair, like a witch's brooms, but they are the best brooms ever.

Natasha (00:17:37):

Look at your you so excited about the sweeping. As long as you have a cool broom.

Hope (00:17:44):

Yeah. And when we start, I start riding. So I usually like hope to get on my horse, at eight o'clock. Catherine gives me one less than a day, which is incredible. Yeah. And then by the time my horses are finished, it's probably two o'clock. So then we start grooming. Um, that's where we can check the legs to make sure nothing's changed. They're all still healthy. We keep them clean then.

Natasha (00:18:10):

Do they go out in the paddocks or they stapled all the time.

Hope (00:18:14):

Oh no, we have some that go out during the day. Uh, well the morning. So like when we're doing boxes or feeding, we take them out and they usually out for like two, two hours, the flies are very bad. So they can't stay out all day and then afternoon chores and like usually done by four or five every day.

Natasha (00:18:34):

And did we, do we eat at that time or are we just eating a big dinner at the end of the day?

Hope (00:18:40):

No, I, so I usually eat in between my horses. Yeah. Usually do like three, then I'll eat and then I'll do the rest. \.

Natasha (00:18:48):

Yeah. Yeah. That's very full on.

Hope (00:18:51):

And obviously lots of water in between each horse. I'm need to get better at.

Catherine (00:18:56):

Yes she does. She needs to get better at staying hydrated. And I eat every two hours, like on the, on the dial I'm I'm a Gazer, so.

Natasha (00:19:06):

okay. Like full on meals or just some nuts and fruits.

Catherine (00:19:09):

no nuts, fruit and stuff like that.

Natasha (00:19:13):

Yeah. Fabulous.

Catherine (00:19:15):

Anything, but just, you know, very healthy foods. But I have to put something in my stomach every two hours or I get cranky and nobody wants to see that. Right.

Natasha (00:19:25):

Fabulous and do you Like a, is there a swimming pool or do you just hose each other off? When it gets really hot?

Catherine (00:19:31):

We pretty much hose each other off.

Natasha (00:19:36):

Yep. Fabulous. All right. So let's go to you hope. How are you if this amazing place having this amazing riding experience and having all this learning, how did you get here?

Hope (00:19:49):

Um, so I actually had a job with someone else in Florida and before I took anything, they will ask me, Oh, you should apply for this position with Catherine because we feel like that's probably why you will get more knowledge and skills. So I did. And Catherine was like, when can you be here? So I got my passport and I was here within a month. So that was last year. And I was here for three months on a trial just to see if I was suitable for the position. And then I went home and applied for my P one athlete's visa. So that was time for like all the time from September til the start of December. But I didn't hear anything from the embassy until like mid November. So that was really scary because I knew Catherine needed me back for the start of December. So I had two weeks to pack everything up. I had to sell my horse trailer and send training horses home. And then of course I had to send my horse to my coach back home. Yeah. So yeah, it was crazy. And then after two weeks I was on a plane coming back to America.

Natasha (00:20:50):

So have you still got one horse in Australia?

Hope (00:20:53):

Yeah. So Remy down under most, most of the Australians know him. Um, he's with Emma LaBelle at the moment they are training grand prix at the moment. So at the end of the CRN, and go from there.

Natasha (00:21:08):

How fun. So, yeah. What's the plan. Is your visa only up until for one year or are you staying a five year visa?

Hope (00:21:19):

There's no flights coming home. So I am here for at least like another two years.

Natasha (00:21:23):

Yeah. It's just it's this is what's happening. Yeah. That's fabulous. That's huge. Okay. And are you, it seems like this is your dream. You have lighting up like this is, I'm not seeing any kind of, I don't know if I've made the right choice or I don't know if I've done the right thing. You look so happy.

Hope (00:21:42):

Yeah. No, I've definitely made the right choice. I knew that like sometimes Australia doesn't really have the international competitions, Europe or America have. So to be able to have this opportunity and experience, it was one that I couldn't like say no to. I had to get on a plane and come and do it.

Natasha (00:21:59):

Yeah. Yeah. And so were you nervous? Um, obviously you coming to Florida with the other position, same thing. Like I'm sure there's a million people back home in Australia going, I wanna cause how old.

Hope (00:22:14):

21? I was 19 last year when I first came. Yeah. Then I turned 20 over here last year and came back when I was 20 and I just turned 21 on the weekend.

Natasha (00:22:26):

Happy birthday. Congratulations. That's awesome.

Catherine (00:22:31):

Nice party with good friends. And one of the best cakes we've ever eaten,.

Hope (00:22:41):

It was vanilla with cream cheese icing. It was beautiful. It was incredible.

Natasha (00:22:46):

It's the only reason I ate carrot cake for the cream cheese icing.

Catherine (00:22:51):

Don't you want to know why I hired Hope?

Natasha (00:22:53):

I would love to know. I would love to know was there a big list. Was there like so many people that applied and you're like, no, no, no.

Catherine (00:23:03):

When I put an advertisement out, which I usually do on Facebook, if I need help. And I say that the position is a riding position. I get dozens of applicants. There are lots of people who would like to come ride with me. And um, I put an ad out. I don't know. It must've been, it must've been soon spring of 2009. Yeah. Okay. Spring time, our spring time, 2019. And I think it was within 24 hours that I, that it was like three, three hours, three hours later. Hope contacted me because her, one of her contacts in America said, you need to talk to her now because she, this lady in Florida knew how quickly my positions get filled. And I, I talked to Hope a bit on the phone and I said, well, could you send me some video, which she did? And she's probably she's going to be laughing because of course the video she sent me, she's, she's riding in her backyard on a couple of normal horses, uh, and also some nice videos of her showing her own horse Remy down under. Um, and I just took one look at her and I was like, this kid understands connection. She's got a natural seat. She needs help with it, but she's got a natural seat and a natural connection. And she understands how to, how to frame a horse from the rear end to the front end. And I knew that she had the little bit of it, you know, that's special it. And I thought, that's, that's a talent. I thought I want to meet her. I want to see how smart she is, how, what her work ethic is because that's very, very important in my stable. Nobody gets to come here and just ride. That doesn't happen. They all have to the whole team, muck stalls, they muck stalls. They feed, they groom the horses because I don't want to produce people in my stable. I don't want to produce professionals who don't know how to take care of the entire horse. So they need to know how to take care of the feet. They know, need to know how to take care of the legs. They need to know how to recognise injury. They know how to, they need to know what it feels like to sit on an injured horse so that they can recognize it and then do the rehab. They have to be responsible for that. Hopefully they don't injure too many. Um, you know, they have to know the whole system. So I wanted to work with her and Australia's a long way away. So I said, you know, come for a couple months and let's see, come for a couple months and let's see if we can work together. And I I'm happy.

Hope (00:25:29):

I'm happy.

Natasha (00:25:36):

Yeah. And let's go back. Like you said, you could see that there was an, it was that in her, in her riding and in her physical, as you said, seat, the connection or is there, how important do you think mindset is like that she you've mentioned work ethic and what about the hunger to succeed? Or the willingness grit? Because I also feel people are like, yeah, I'll do what it takes. I'll do what it takes. That's really hard. I'm not doing that. Well, hang on. Can you talk a little bit more about the mindset that you think is required for someone like hope to succeed and what you see in hope? Um, which is why she's, she's doing so well with this?

Catherine (00:26:15):

Well, that was part of the reason I wanted her to come try out for the job. Cause she looks fabulous on a horse from right from the beginning. The first few videos that I saw of her, I thought, Oh, she looks fabulous on a horse, but let me tell you, after 30 years in this business, I can tell you tenacity wins over talent every single time. So people with work ethic and people who are really dedicated people who can take the hard knocks of the business, because this is a, this is a tough business to stay in. There's always, you know, you're one bad step away from having to get another horse. You're one bad step away from having to be out of the saddle for six months. It's um, there's there's injuries to deal with. There are all kinds of things. A horse gets sold that you've developed. You know, you have to learn to take those mini blows and you have to look at them as, okay, well, one door closed, two more will open. I just have to find the open doors. And if you don't have that kind of tenacity and that kind of grit, and also the ability to get up every morning and do this very physical physically demanding job, then there's no point in trying it. You know, people, people dream about doing this, but I will tell you in your dreams, you will never sweat like you do in a day in my stable and the reality of this job, the reality, it is a hard job. It is a physically hard job. It is a mentally hard job. So I was really, you know, for such a young person to come so far. I knew she's young. She's still, you know, sometimes I look at her, I think, Oh my God, you're so young, but she's just pretty smart. She, she knows what she wants. And she is a tough, she's a tough cookie gets up in the morning and she gets job done.

Natasha (00:28:02):

Yeah. Yeah. I love it. And like I said, like even with what you've done at 15, and then you finished your degree and you've turned 21 and you still paying that mortgage, there's this so many people on the planet that aren't even there yet. So yeah. I'm so excited about your future. I can't wait, are you competing? Obviously? I don't know if the word shut down, but is there any competition plans or do we have to get the seats sorted first? Where, where are we at with that?

Hope (00:28:30):

Well, I actually have a competition next week, but I did injure my back this week. So trying to get back in the saddle. Today's a little bit better. I saw a physio this morning and she helped me out a lot. So I'm hoping I wake up a lot better tomorrow.

Natasha (00:28:49):

Well, we have a laugh fingers crossed for you and I can't wait to hear the results. Um, and I think it's just there. So I always ask 'em what's is there a, uh, uh, for both of you a really low point in your riding where you went, Oh God, I think I might need to give up or, you know, it was just such a devastating, low you've come last you like the horse freaked out or the horse, you know, what's one of your lowest, um, or embarrassing things where you decided, Oh, maybe I'm not a rider. Maybe I should give up. Do you have any of those stories? And, and then, um, at the end, tell me your best, most successful moment that you are just so proud of. And so thrilled about that. We can end on the high

Catherine (00:29:30):

I have long lists. Hope, She can go first

Hope (00:29:33):

I did showing for like the first 15 years of my life, I don't have it over here in America, but Australians know what it is. And there was definitely like, there were multiple times where I was like, I didn't want to do this anymore. I'm going to give up. I'm never going to like, I'm never going to go anywhere. Um, and then of course my mom was incredible and she was like, why don't you try dressage? So I bought well mum brought, my first warm blood and my love for dressage came from that and I have not looked back. Um, and then probably the one, the biggest achievement I have accomplished is last year at the 2019 Australian dressage championships remmy down under, and I won the advanced five cm, like 71%. And that feels like 38 people in the class. So that was, yeah, yeah, yeah. That was after I had been away for three months. So I think I was home for a month and I went straight to nationals. Yeah.

Catherine (00:30:37):

Well you see what good coaching can do.

Natasha (00:30:39):

Yeah. But you couldn't sit trot. You were trying to find your sitting trot.

Hope (00:30:48):

It was hard. Like I had States the week after I got home and I was worried going into state. I was like, how am I going to get through a test? But I made it happen.

Natasha (00:31:00):

I love it. What about you Catherine?

Catherine (00:31:05):

Wait way too many. I mean, I think every professional in their career at some point just says, I can't go on, but I, I have such a love, such a passion for what I do. And I'm, I'm so addicted to the feeling of good riding that if I don't, if I don't ride on a daily basis and not just your average horse, but a good horse, I get depressed. I mean, I seriously get depressed. So, um, it's very important for me to keep riding as long as I possibly can in this lifetime. And I remember distinctly, I had a very difficult horse. His name was Cadillac and anybody who's been active on the dressage scene in the last 10 years would know Cadillac. He was very, very difficult horse. And I remember taking him along with my other grand Prix horse at the time, he was a pre st. George horse to Rotterdam, which is one of the biggest shows in Europe. And I entered the pre st. George international with him there. And he was shying in the test and turning around and so difficult. And I came out of the test thinking, Oh, it's just so miserable. I was last in the class with 59%, right above me with 60 was occupying Greenspan. And right above that with was Isabelle verite with 61, we were all three of us were last in that class. And I thought, you know what? These guys have difficult horses in a bad time too. And then the next day we all rode the intermediate one. And I was third from last and AKI was behind me and Isabel was last. And so, and I actually got to know both on and Isabelle, you know, they weren't good friends, but we went to so many horse shows together that, you know, I, they were colleagues. I could speak with them. I watched them have a lot of ups and downs in their careers. And I think you have to understand that people who are winning at world cup and the Olympics, they have setbacks too. And they're just as disappointed when their PF doesn't work or when they fall out of a pure wet or a horse goes lame before competition. Um, you know, we all have setbacks in this sport. I do think the loss of horses, whether it's through soundness or, or Cadillac died as when he was 14, he was 14. And he was just about, I, in my opinion, to pop into a really successful international career, he'd already won quite a bit, but he was getting at that point, well, enough trained that he was, um, becoming steadier in the arena and more reliable, but he had an unfortunate injury at 14 and he ended up having to be put down. That was blow. That was, that was huge for me. And it was very hard for me to recover from that. Um, but since then, you know, horses have come and gone and I just have to always remind myself that I can make another one. That's what I do.

Natasha (00:33:50):

Yeah. Yeah. And what would you say you've had so many amazing achievements. Do you have the crowning Of all of them, what's your best, the most, And it might not even be a win. It might, you know, what gives you that biggest, proud feeling of that?

Catherine (00:34:09):

Well, it's interesting that you hit on that point. Yeah, Because I have had a lot of top achievements. I think my first world cup for me, that was huge that I, that I made it to world cup so early in my career and I did a second world cup and I've ridden for the U S team at top top competitions. I've won in Europe five, one internationally, nationally been to some of the best four shows in the world. Um, but really when I get a horse trained in my system and that horse makes a mind connection with me and I feel like all I need to do now is think what I want. I think it, with my seat, think it with my mind and the horse responds and I have those moments where I go, yes, I know that through this systematic training that I'm doing, I have changed my horses life. That's the hugest, it's the hugest thing for me, because really dressage is about gymnastics. And it's about turning your horse into a top top athlete, Frankie, for instance, this mare that I'm riding right now, that's been with me her whole life. She was born. I bred her. Um, I watched other people train her for years and I always thought she was pretty and cute. And, but she, every time I got on her, which is like once a year, she didn't interest me. I had felt no bond to her. She wasn't an exciting horse for me to ride. So everybody else got to ride her. She was a school horse for years and it took, it's taken me a year. And about three months to finally reach a point with her, where, when I look at her in the morning, she looks at me and we know what our day is going to be like, and she's starting to lean into the worksheets, starting to offer me things that she never would before. So she really knows what I want and she's clicked in and she's keen. And that feeling is that's a thrill for me. That's what brings me back to the saddle every day is it's the daily work. It's if I didn't have the competition, I wouldn't do it because it's the competition that makes me want to get better all the time. But it's, it's, it's in the daily work. That really makes me happy.

Catherine (00:36:06):

That's huge. Thank you so much for sharing. And I think that's so important too, too. It goes beyond you put an aide on and the horse responds when you said you think it, and it happens. And I don't think you have to be grand prix for that. I think I've experienced that. I think hopefully a lot of people listening have gone. I felt that once out of the 10 million rides that I've had, and if that's the goal to go, we want more of that. And more of that and more of that. Um, that's that's and it's hard to put into words that, that feeling, I think that's, that's really cool. Super, thank you so much for your time. Anything else you would like to share before we finish up?

Hope (00:36:47):

Yeah, I would say for like any young rider wanting to do this. Yeah. So any young rider wanting to do exactly what I have done. Um, let me just go with your gut feeling and be prepared to work hard. You should definitely give it your 110%. Um, and it's a little bit as much of the experience as you can. It's all work, all work out, but I must say do your research because that's one thing I didn't do, and I didn't not realize how much health insurance and car insurance was going to cost me. So that is a massive setback. So yeah, definitely do your research, but in the long run, it's all worth it. And yeah, definitely go with your gut feeling because you will experience things that you've never experienced before and you create fabulous memories. And I definitely can't think Catherine and also giving me this opportunity and having faith in me.

Natasha (00:37:46):

Well, it must make you feel so confident when, when an amazing human being like Catherine says, yeah, you can ride and yet, you know, we can help. And then you're getting that help all the time. You're just, it's just so much confidence. It's such a confidence spiral. You're good. And then you, you're, you're getting help to get better, so you get better. And so then that, and just keeps going up. So I can't wait to see you unfold. I'm very excited to follow your journey.

Hope (00:38:10):

Thank you.

Natasha (00:38:11):

Anything else you would like to offer Catherine? I know you do some amazing things. You mentioned some online, um, remote coaching, please tell us what you do and how you can help people.

Catherine (00:38:22):

Well, I I've actually had a lot of people from Australia inquire about remote coaching, but most of them seem to think, um, that I have some magic recipe for, uh, providing it for them when in fact, what you really need a wifi connection in your arena. And if you have a wifi connection at your arena, you can connect to any infrastructure in the world. Um, and I actually have a blog about to be published on the Chronicle of the horse website. I think it's coming out today or maybe tomorrow, um, that gives you my recipe for online coaching, how to, how to actually set it up at your own arena. Right? So, uh, you know, I'm happy to help in that way. I have a lot of training videos online that have been been, uh, published by other companies. I'm in the process of setting up my own online training site, which people subscribe to and have a look at the videos there and get some help through the website if they need to. But that's probably another year in the making it's, it's, uh, there's a lot of information to put out there. What I thought it would be a simple project, but when I start trying to map out my entire system with video clips and photographs and writing, that is a major project.

Natasha (00:39:30):

Yeah. Well at least all that work. It can go into a book, it can go into the program, it can go into, you know, you'll be, it's great that you're documenting the whole thing. Cause I can't even imagine, Oh, I've just been so lucky to have this tiny insight into your brain. And I can only imagine all that coolness in there. So that's so good that you're getting it out so it can help out everyone else. Fabulous. Like I'm feeling, there's a lot of people in Australia that, um, especially young people it's like, maybe I should go to university. There might be parental pressure. You should go study and get a real job horses aren't a real job. Um, and all that kind of stuff. Did you struggle with any of that?

Hope (00:40:08):

Well, I actually worked from when I was, I think I started when I was 15 and I worked in childcare, so I was studying to do my cert three all through school. Um, I graduated the cert three and I graduated school, obviously working in childcare. I worked in childcare, when I left last year. So I was, I left when I was seven. I left school when I was 17 and I ended up finishing the childcare job when I was 19 and they actually bought a house when I was 18. So I was like, there's no point really going to university. I need to stay. I need to work to pay for my mortgage. So I just studied a diploma of child care. Well, definitely early childhood. And I just finished that last week too, actually. So that's all done and that's my backup.

Speaker 1 (00:41:02):

And I used to, did you sell the house? or are you still paying for the morgage?

Hope (00:41:04):

Yeah, I still, I still paid for the mortgage.

Natasha (00:41:10):

Good on you. That is such everyone listened to this. Like you can do this and you can do it all. It sounds like you've got a very good head on your shoulders.

Hope (00:41:18):

Yeah. I was very lucky with my mom. She supported me a lot and helped me make that decision.

Natasha (00:41:23):

Yeah. Yeah. That's huge. That's huge. Um, OK so, uh, what's the, what would you say is the biggest thing that you've learned from Catherine? So far?

Hope (00:41:33):

My seat, My seat.

Catherine (00:41:37):

Tell us, tell us more. What was the seat before and what have you learned?

Hope (00:41:42):

Obviously, I was riding in a prestige back home, um, which I thought was so comfortable. And then I came here and I started riding in the shield test method, which we ride in a stupen here. And I have never ridden in such a comfortable saddle. It takes a bit to get used to, but eventually you figure out how to ride in it. Catherine can probably talk about this a lot more.

Catherine (00:42:10):

She's still a beginner on the stand and saddle, but she's doing it. She's learning very, very, very fast. So now to begin to ride.

Natasha (00:42:18):

I have no idea what you guys are talking about, Tell me more!

Catherine (00:42:21):

Okay, well the stuben saddle, the stuben saddle that I ride in as a stuben Genesis special, and that's one that's been morphed out of the old shell Thai saddle, which was a tristen and special. They were both made by Steuben and steuben approached me during the middle of my international career in Germany and asked me if I would help them design a new model of Steuben, which I did. And that's the stupid Genesis special. Um, it's a saddle without knee rolls. So it doesn't wedge the rider in. And it has a very special seat that is, is somewhat flexible and gives almost a trampoline effect on the horse. So it's really comfortable for the rider's seat and back and seat bones. It's got a Biomek seat. So there's a channel for your, your tailbone and it makes the horses extraordinarily comfortable. There's a lot of features on the saddle that the shape of the tree, the diminished pressure panel, it's a really very old saddle. That's been renovated into comfort for riders. So, um, it, it allows a freedom in the horses back. Like if you were to come to our stable and we were to pull some horses out of the stall, you'd say, how do you get, what do you feed your horses? How do you get them to look like that? Well, that's, it's good riding and it's it's muscular development. So our horses have really round elastic, muscular toplines at the base of their necks are big. Their loins are big. And that all comes from riding in this type of saddle and this style of riding. But this style of riding requires an elastic balanced seat. And unfortunately I think that most people in this day and age learn to hold on, they learn to wedge themselves into one position and make their leg really straight and their hip really straight. And they hold themselves still on the horse. Um, and they, they use a big knee roll and they're, they look good in the still photograph, but they look very stiff and stiffen on yielding in video. So I've been working hard on, on Hope seat. When she first came for the three month tryout. I had a riding a lot without her stirrups worked a lot on her seat. By the time she went back to Australia to get her visa, she looked great. And then she was gone a couple of months when she came back and I thought, Oh no, we have to start over again.

Hope (00:44:29):

And I must say, I went home. And for the first month I could not sit trot. Like, it was so hard to sit trot.

Natasha (00:44:36):

Oh, wow. And then you broke and then Catherine had to help

Catherine (00:44:43):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because I, I really want my riders to develop an elastic following, uh, knowledgeable seat before they learn to use their power on a horse. In other words, you learned to follow the motion before you learn to influence the motion. Once you've learned, influenced the motion, then you can create what you want. But that takes years even for superintendent. Yeah, no, it's true. But even for super talented people like her, it takes, it takes time. It takes dedication. It takes a lot of hours in the saddle. It takes good instruction and absolutely the right saddle and some good horses to train on.

Natasha (00:45:24):

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So yeah. Tell us more, use it. So. Are they, they're obviously a huge sponsor of yours. Catherine, tell us more about your sponsors.

Catherine (00:45:34):

Yes. It's not a huge sponsor of any rider and that they don't support us financially, but you can occasionally get to your own saddle to use from, from steuben, which is really nice. And I don't mean to disparage steuben. I love Steuben. I will probably go to my grave clutching my Steven's saddle. We're going to have to pry it out of my cold dead hands. So, um, yeah, steuben is a, is a huge sponsor for me and that without steuben, I would not be able to do what I do in my life. They are, you know, a lot of people will bring a horse to us for training, for instance. And we've started making before and after videos because Hope's new. My new social media vantages, you make a before and after video. And you know, the horse will come in stiff and not swinging through the back and holding the tail a little bit funny and the hips high and just not moving through the body the way we want it to. And we'll ride it correctly in our own, in our saddle or in the steuben saddle for even just a week. And all of the sudden you see a huge difference in the horses musculature, and then over a month or six months to a year, there's a major difference. So I can't live without my steuben and I can't can't keep enough praise on the company. They, they have stuck by their guns. They've stuck with, with their spring tree, which was patented many, many, many years ago. And the spring tree is unequivocably the best tree for a horse's back of any saddle produced in the world today. And unfortunately I think within a few decades, like within the last 20 years, a lot of new saddle companies sprung up and they, those saddle companies obviously wanted to make a profit. So they moved away from a handmade tree to a tree that's one piece of molded plastic. And that is very rigid and it doesn't bend and shift with the horse the way the horses back would naturally do. So those trees create a lot of pain in the horses. And also, you know, there's a lot of people getting involved in sport. A lot of women who didn't grow up with horses, getting involved in the sport. And so they've wanted the bigger knee role cause they think it makes them feel safer and they haven't really spent or invested the time in learning how to properly sit. So they put a big knee roll on, hold on. And then, you know, just work the horse's head down and try to look good. And they see pictures of top riders and they think, Oh, a long leg looks good. So they've got long legs and locked hips and big knee rolls. And they're really not safe on the horse because they haven't learned balance and relaxation and good elastic riding. So, but the saddle makers really turned in the direction of catering to those people because they were the biggest market. So they produced a very, uh, quick Purdue, um, quickly produced saddle with a cheap tree. But shockingly, they ask sometimes twice the money that steuben asks us for their saddles and the steuben saddle is without a doubt, the best thing you can do for your horses back. And if you really want to do your first suspected favor, then you should invest in the saddle that, that I give them my endorsement on because it has a very special tree, was a tree that was invented by mr. Tice himself, mr. Schulte, Tyson Steuben worked together to make that tree

Natasha (00:48:48):

Thats huge. So say it again, cause I want to make sure everyone listens that it's the Genesis. Did you say that's the one that has the best tree or

Catherine (00:48:56):

The Genesis special? And the reason that it's called the special is because it has a special tree. So there's a whole, a whole line of steubens called Genesis that have the normal spring tree in them. The student Genesis special has a special tree.

Natasha (00:49:12):

Okay. Thank you so much. You've taught me so much. I never would even consider. I know me and my husband have conversations Exactly right. How the words changed and how it's all driven around profit. And you can see that in the food industry, you can see that in so many and just see all these industries and the education. I've never heard anything of what you've said. So. Thank you so much for sharing that. And I'm so glad more people will get to learn that and help them with their horses backs and get that sorted. So that's huge.

Catherine (00:49:41):

You're welcome.

Natasha (00:49:44):

What else has sponsors, um, help you out?

Catherine (00:49:48):

I have a new boot sponsor this year that I'm super excited, excited about that's Derby boots from the Netherlands. Um, I've been acoustic fan my whole life. I've always written in clinic and I've had a couple other companies try to sponsor me. They've been very generous giving me lots of cool models and I've broken in all their boots. And then just there to help can tell you, I have like 12 pair collecting brand new boots, collecting dust in a corner,

Natasha (00:50:13):

But thats the hard big breaking in the new boots.

Catherine (00:50:14):

I know, I know, but I just never liked the riding feel that I did, my old, my nasty old Koenig's. I mean, they're sitting there with all these holes in them and you know, um, and finally Derby came along and made me a pair of boots and helpful tell you I ride in them everyday. Now. I love, I love them.

Hope (00:50:33):

They are beautiful.

Catherine (00:50:36):

Go ahead. Tell her they're actually Royal blue. They're right. Royal blue leather is I would never order such a thing. I I've always been a really, you know, black, Brown leather girl. It's Derby asked me, I said, Oh, just give me Brown leather boots. And like, no, no, no. You're going to Florida. You need something a little more modern Catherine, come on, pick yourself up. Mix yourself up a little bit. So now I have these bright patent leather boots that I'm going to turn it over to hope to match some new riding clothes with those. Yeah, no, I suppose don't match with these very, very they're so shiny. I can, I can do my hair looking in the, in on the boot.

Natasha (00:51:21):

You have to get into the matchy matchy. Like we've got to get on it and the saddle blanket.

Catherine (00:51:27):

Yeah. Yeah. I'm going to turn that over to hope cause she's good with the matchy matchy thing and

Natasha (00:51:33):

Good, good. I love it. Um, any other sponsors that we need to mention?

Catherine (00:51:39):

Well, Bevington mills is our feed sponsor. They give us a little reduced price on our feed and I think it's one of the best actually I stuck with Bob Bevington mills. Well, before they ever gave me a discount, just because I really believe in what they do. And we have another feed company here. That's importing some feeds. It's called Emerald Valley, natural health. These people are fabulous. They give us like product called fiber beat, which is again, something that I strongly believe in and you'll find in my stable. I don't have any sponsors that I don't believe in. I don't, I will not talk about anybody whose products I'm not supportive of, but this fiber beat is a as a low sugar beet pulp that is quick soaking. And we use it every meal with our horses, our horses never get a dry meal. So when they're getting their grain, they get always get a scoop of really wet soupy fiber beat with that. And because we're in two very hot regions, um, it really helps with hydration. It helps keep me, it helps the horses to have wet fiber with every single meal. Um, and I've always been also a huge fan of the mushrooms, the mushroom matrix mushrooms, uh, supplements that I use with my horses.

Natasha (00:52:53):

I would, I'm learning so much. I love this.

Catherine (00:52:58):

Yeah. Um, well, it's, it's a supplement that you can give your horses. And it's also made for humans. There's a company in California that produces only organic mushroom mixes. And the mushrooms are very interesting in that they they're they're mushrooms. Certain types of mushrooms are very good at, um, clearing their antioxidants. So they clear free radicals from the body after work. They really help with recovery from the horses work. And we all know that mushrooms can affect the psyche of a human being or a horse. And they have a couple sort of calming type, um, um, recipes that I have found very useful in horses that were particularly sensitive and difficult. Oh. And help you almost live. It will be one of our fabulous sponsors is Uzbeks. We have some great, great helmets from Uzbeks. Hope Hasn't gotten her first one yet, but what's that?

Natasha (00:53:54):

Do we have colors that we matching the blue?

Catherine (00:53:56):

Oh yeah, that was actually my first bling was my Uzbeks helmet. I have like a Navy suede look on the sides and a red trim with this huge field of Swarovski sparkles in the middle. It's gorgeous

Natasha (00:54:09):

This sounds insane. Hope you need to send us a photo of all this, of all this stuff from our social media. I want to say. That's amazing. I love it. Love it, love it, love it. Um, and so hope I hear that you've got some amazing help from some sponsors in Australia. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

Hope (00:54:25):

Yeah, absolutely. So I have three sponsors in Australia. I've got HIPAA health, which are all natural products. My horse actually had a Gracie Hill and we had like, nothing would heal it. We tried antibiotics, we tried cortisone injections, everything, nothing would get rid of it. Um, so they actually sent me to, for a sample and it was gone within two weeks. So I approached them about sponsoring me and they were like, absolutely. And I have never been so supportive of a product. They work, they are fantastic. And they are completely natural. Um, then I have a question online, which is horse gear,

Natasha (00:55:03):

um, is it matchy, matchy.

Hope (00:55:05):

Yeah, yeah. All of that. Um, and then dr. Show Australia. So that's shampoos, detangler. They've got a fantastic brush, which is incredible. And it goes through the horses tail, like a glove.

Natasha (00:55:22):

Um, I think if I take this brush and the broom You were mentioning away from you, you just can't function, but with these to things your grooming is good.

Hope (00:55:31):

Yes. We actually have one of the brushes here in America. So we use that every day.

Natasha (00:55:36):


Catherine (00:55:37):

And she is hand cuffed to the broom. So you won't be able to get it away from her very easily.

Hope (00:55:42):

Yeah. Then my, my three massive sponsors. Great, cool.

Natasha (00:55:46):

Well, we put them in the show notes so everyone can access and see what they are about. Thank you so much.

Natasha (00:55:52):

And who else helps you, uh, in the stable or in your writing to help you get those things Results, Catherine?

Catherine (00:55:59):

Well, I have to tell you, I, I, I embarked on a new project this year, not this year, but within the last year. And that was to try to get some part owners in one of my top horses. So I actually formed the first syndicate that I ever participated in with my top horse Celine and I have three major supporters within that syndicate. And that has been, that has been extraordinarily supportive and helpful for me. It's the solstice syndicate, um, because we found saline on the winter solstice. So, and saline also means opposite the moon and she believes she's a goddess. So it all kind of ties together. Yeah. That's the first time I've ever participated in a, in a syndicate. And I have to say I was skeptical at first, but I think that more dressage riders should do it because when you can get some support behind you for a top horse, meaning you can keep the horse, uh, it's training is supported. It's show costs are supported and you don't feel like you have to sell it just to put bread on the table. It's, it's a fantastic thing.

Natasha (00:56:57):

Yeah. It would make you feel so safe and gooey just knowing that that's all sorted.

Catherine (00:57:03):

Thats a good way todescribe it.

Natasha (00:57:05):

Yeah. Do you have any advice for riders? Like did you, um, how do you, how would you go about doing that? Did you just put together a proposal of what you thought was made the most sense.

Catherine (00:57:14):

yes. I put the horse before the cart actually. So I, I had the horse already and in trying to find a way to support her, I decided to sell shares in her. And in America, the eventing world has a pretty big, um, tradition of syndicating horses. So I went to them for some help. And I have a really good friend here in my neighborhood who participates in some eventing syndicates herself. And she showed me some of the contracts, got advice from a lot of people and ended up being able to, to also with my first participant, my first clinic or my first, um, syndicate participant, she helped me a lot in putting the contract together. And we're really happy with the way it worked out because there's a lot of people around who would love to be owners of top horses, but can't, can't afford to do a top Olympic prospect on their own, or they don't want to take the risk of actually full ownership. So when you split it up, my syndicated has eight shares in it keeping three, three for myself, I'm always going to be the majority shareholder. There were five I'm up for sale and I've, I'm down to one that still needs to be sold. So, um, it's just, it's extraordinarily helpful and it gives you a good feeling. Cause you know, you can maintain management of the horse and you don't have to ever sell that horse unless you decide that that horse should be sold. It's, it's a really nice feeling.

Natasha (00:58:41):

Yeah. And like you say that the last time any of the people to be involved, get out of the ride and I'm down here in the ricing, like so many people say I own a bit of a race horse, so I love the idea and I, I it's, I love just chatting to you. I think you're very much thinking outside the box thinking, I'm sure you have it the same with the training. It's all like all the answers are out there and what can we put in and play with and make work for this situation right now. Very cool. Good. Well, that was so fun. Thank you so much. Have an amazing fun day in the sun. So is it not time for you? Yes. Yes. Okay. Well,

Natasha (00:59:22):

Good luck with you back. Hope and fingers crossed for that. Competition has crossed a million times for 2021, Catherine, get it all happening. And um, I might be in touch about these steuben things. I'm very excited to, to go research now and, um, with them up, see what they look like.

Catherine (00:59:39):

You can find if you Google haddad steuben Chronicle of horse blog. Yes. I've written about the stueben quite a bit. Quite intensely, actually. Cool.

Hope (00:59:53):

If you watched Katherine's Instagram does a video of me riding without stripe and Catherine talks a little bit about these sitting trot.

Natasha (01:00:00):

Awesome. All right. Have an amazing night guys and I'll see you soon.

Catherine (01:00:06):

Bye bye.

Podcast Episode 15: Mackenzie Boundy - Overcoming Setbacks in Your Horse Riding

In this episode, we speak with Australian Young Rider, Mackenzie Boundy who knows all about resiliance and perseverance. Listen in as we talk about Mackenzie's dressage journey and how she's got to where she is today.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):

Today, we're talking to the amazing Mackenzie, who is a, a wonderful, accomplished young rider. Who's accomplished many things in training her horses and getting to where she wants to go in her dressage journey, but also with a lot of challenges along the way. So I love talking to people that have challenges. I love talking to people that have accomplished things because the more you speak to people that have accomplished things, you realize no one has it easy. No one just gets all the results. There is an extreme amount of work and extreme amount of great stream amount of thinking and mindset that goes behind any sort of success. So I really enjoyed this conversation with the amazing Mackenzie and I trust and hope you enjoy it as well.

Natasha (01:20):

Wow. Wow. Thank you so much for joining me.

Mackenzie (01:24):

It's okay. I was really excited about the opportunity.

Natasha (01:27):

Oh, super. Super. So tell me about you. Tell me your story. I'd love to know more.

Mackenzie (01:33):

Um, so my name is Mackenzie boundy and I ride fortune cookie. Um, so I'm 21. Yeah, it was, um, I think it got changed actually when he was about three or four. Um, but it's definitely, yeah, it suits him. He's easier. Um, but yeah, so I'm 21 and I've just completed my bachelor of nursing. Um, I'm on the Queensland performance squad, uh, that sounds like a saddle fitter and I'm currently competing a small tour with my competition horse. And then I will say to a three year old who is about to start off again, get going.

Natasha (02:06):

Oh okay, I love it. And so what kind of breeds are those two horses?

Mackenzie (02:11):

Um, both warmbloods, uh, so fins by FIJI R. Um, and then Bee, my young one is by, um, questioning his, my quarterback.

Natasha (02:19):

Yep. Look at you. You're so good with your blood Lines. People always ask me I'm like if I was by a black one and this one's a black. Very cool. All right. So, um, how old are you?

Mackenzie (02:39):

So 21.

Natasha (02:39):

  1. And you're at small tour. That's amazing. So. He's very special boy, but yeah. Well tell me how that happened and how, how long have you been riding?

Mackenzie (02:51):

So my horse, he actually passed away at this started 2018. Um, it was just a freak accident and so, but he was obviously, so I have quite a few medical issues, um, and riding kind of something that's always coming, you know, it keeps you going, it keeps you fit and kind of is always something to look forward to when you're unwell. So it was really hard, obviously losing him. Um, and it was going to take a very special horse to find, to kind of, you know, um, be level with him with Deano. So we found Fin in barrel in new South Wales. Um, and he, at the time he was a novice, like competing novice elementary. Um, so we got him, I think it was end of April if I remember correctly. Um, and so we went down and visited him and his previous owner was lovely and kind of understood the situation. And she wanted him to go somewhere where he was going to be like a one-on-one kind of horse, which is exactly what he is here, he's King of the castle. And he loves that. So then we, um, I was able to, cause I was on the young riders squad with Dino. So they let me kind of just continue on with Finn just cause it was kind of, you know, unusual circumstances, um, which was really great, kind of helped us stay motivated and on track. Um, and yeah, ever since then, we're kinda just been going up the ranks. So we had our first medium start. Um, when was it might've been like the end of 2018. Um, and then last year we had a really, really fun year. We ended up going to, um, the young rider nationals down in Sydney. Um, and then we went to the Australian dressage championships and Sydney later on that year. So last year we were competing in the, um, the medium and advanced at the nationals where he actually won all five tests, including the medium freestyle and was meeting the advanced sessions. Yeah. And then we kind of, it was my last year as a young rider. So I really wanted to kind of, I really want to do the CDI-Y and it was a big, big step for him except for me, cause I've never written at that level either. Um, but we managed to kind of get those qualifies in and, uh, we ended up competing in the CDI-Y at the chips and we got reserve champion to Mary Warren. So yeah, he's a very special boy. Um, he's the type of horse you can just leave for three weeks and then just jump on and he's like, yeah. Okay, cool. Yeah. He's very special, boy.

Natasha (05:17):

That's perfect. That's so cool. So, um, lots of I'm hearing champion, I'm hearing greatness, I'm hearing fabulousness and wonderfulness. Um, but I hear there's, there's also, you are an amazing personality is where I get really curious because you don't have it all easy. You don't have, um, the fair, you know, you're not a fairy tale with a Cinderella house. There's actually some things going on for you and some things that you really need to get through. So would you mind talking a little bit about that and more importantly, the mindset you sound so positive and like nothing freaking stops you and look at everything. And I think if we can try and download, that would be really good.

Mackenzie (05:59):

Well, I definitely have a very good support system, but so I've had, um, quite a few issues with my stomach and then also with my spine. So I have a titanium rod standing beside my spine from top to bottom, basically. And then my stomach issue kind of means that I have to have like eight to eight treatments a day to kind of, you know, stay functioning and stuff. Uh, which is fine. It's very normal for me, but, um, it did mean a lot of hospital trips. Um, while I was growing up then through uni and things like that, which made competing hard, always seemed to be that I needed to get a hospital when there was like a big competition on which I hated, but no, it was always riding was always something that kind of, you know, I think I had, I think it was 50 hospital trips, they figured out in two and a half, three years. So it was definitely annoying and inconvenient, but that's why I kept riding after school and things like that. Cause it was always something that, um, you know, to look forward to, but I don't know about yourself, but you know, when you have anything going on, like if you have a sprained ankle or whatever, you don't notice it when you ride. You know, you're so focused and everything else and it just it's, you kinda just don't notice. So that was always what riding was me. It was, um, kind of like a break from any of the pain that I was feeling or anything like that. Um, which was obviously, it's always hard to get back to. And even my doctor said that, you know, I, I can't stop riding because it's something that even people with chronic pain, obviously stuff where like a lot of mental health issues and things like that. And I have been able to like avoid that, but ridings always been an outlet. I can go to, which I think a lot of people who do have chronic pain, don't have, so, I've been very lucky in that aspect. Um, and also, you know, mum and dad and my instructors kind of keeping everything rolling well, uh, that these mini breaks and stuff. Um, but I did actually have quite a big procedure at end of 2019, I believe. And it thousand 18, sorry, my bad. Um, and so that actually alleviated a lot of issues I was having with my stomach. So sometimes like the treatment and stuff like that, but it just meant that I did not have to go to most of those often. So, um, that obviously it really helped, um, with, you know, last year being able to actually get to all these comps and actually have a consistent training regime and made the biggest difference. And I don't think they liked it. He quite liked having his time on it.

Natasha (08:20):

Yeah. Hang on.

Mackenzie (08:23):

Oh no. So it was definitely, I'm not an, it was kind of, but with uni and things like that, it was a lot harder because obviously going through high school, they're not as strict on deadlines and stuff. So it was a bit of a adjustment period for me while I went to uni and I ended up having to take six months off, um, like in the middle of my degree, just because it was just kind of all getting a little bit too much, everything was kind of piling up and I wasn't able to go to exams and stuff like that. So, um, but after that I kind of had the big operation and kind of tried to manage everything. So I managed to finish my degree. Um, which was really good. I definitely used, uh, I went to ACU in Brisbane, so they have like an elite athlete program, which definitely helped me. And I recommend it to anyone who rides and it's going to go into uni because it just makes everything so much more manageable if you have a comp on and things like that. So I definitely use that to my advantage, but yeah, it's, it's, you know, it's very normal to me though. Like, so it's, I kind of wouldn't know what I'd do if I wasn't, if I didn't have so any hospital trips, like I'd miss my nurses, but it's um, yeah, no, it's, it's fine. It's good.

Natasha (09:31):

I really love is, um, that the, the, the riding was the gift and the riding. It wasn't something that you can force yourself to do or make yourself do. It's like, and I totally agree with the, um, everything else disappears. Like I find that I was a mentally, you could be stressed about something or upset about something, but you get on the horse and nothing else, except you and the horse, when you get off all that shit still there, You got 45 minutes.

Mackenzie (09:58):

45 minutes. And I really love that was a big reason why I had to kind of, I had to find Fin because it was just, I can't really imagine to not riding, like, you know, most people who ride, but it was, um, without it, it was going to be a lot harder, so, finding the perfect pony really, really helped to kind of manage it all.

Natasha (10:16):

That's huge as well. Like you said, he's okay with some time off he's okay with, I mean, consistency. Whereas the last thing you need is I work with a lot of riders with fear and they're like, the thing that I love is now the thing that I'm scared of and then that causes so much more pain. So absolutely. I love it. And do you, were you inspired to become a nurse because of

Mackenzie (10:41):

Yes. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I think I just, I saw so much of like how, what a difference I can make while I was growing up. So I kind of always wanted to be that for someone else. You know, I had a lot of nurses who I was never scared to go to hospital or anything like that. So I really wanted to, you know, be that for another kid. So I've actually just gotten a, literally just been offered a job in the neonatal intensive care unit. Um, basically like my absolute dream job. Um, so I'm very excited for that, but

Natasha (11:13):

Tiny babies, isn't it?

Mackenzie (11:16):

Yeah. So I was actually, a nicu baby, I think it was, I didn't even know. I'd have to ask mom or dad. And so that's kind of where yeah. And it was, um, it's really, I think nice because there's obviously a lot of the babies have alot of issues and things like that, but they can grow up and still be successful in what they want to do and things like that. So it was a, yeah, it was really exciting.

Natasha (11:38):

I love your story. It's beautiful. And it's almost like, are you at a point where you're glad of everything that has happened because it sounds like without what had happened to you all along the way, like you wouldn't have then the, the, the, the urges, I guess, that it's like, well, now I want to be a nurse and now I want to help. And now I want to, and now like for someone that If you just got a pony and you didn't need an outlet, maybe you weren't even really, that much. Yeah. But it gave you such, like, I just see your, your world unfold going. Wow. everything happens for all those reasons.

Mackenzie (12:14):

I think. Yeah. It definitely, I think shapes you into the person you are. I mean, that goes with everyone's life experiences, but it definitely helped put me on the path of where I am now, which I am very thankful for.

Natasha (12:26):

Yeah. And you obviously have great parents. Like, I love your, just your attitude. You'll find a way. And, um,

Mackenzie (12:32):

Yeah. Well dad has never been super horse keen, but he'll still feed and rug, if I can't do them, so, and mum's always, you know, she comes to all the comps with me and stuff like that. So it makes it a lot easier.

Natasha (12:43):

Yeah. Like you said, the support network is important.

Mackenzie (12:46):

Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. My instructors are a big part of that as well to see, you know, they kind of never put the pressure on, in the way that they know it's going to affect me, like cause me pain or anything, but they also are very motivating. Um, when I kind of do need a bit of a, you know, come on, you can do it. Yeah, exactly. I'm like a walk break and they're like, no, you can keep going, try the walk.

Natasha (13:15):

Alright. So what are your biggest inspiration?

Mackenzie (13:19):

I think, well, obviously like my family and things like that, but riding wise, I think it's, you know, the usual, like we love watching Charlotte and people like that, and it's just kind of the epitome of what we want to be doing. So it's just like, Oh, that'd be nice one day. Wouldn't it. But, um, yeah, it's, I think my instructors, I, I like, I train with Emma and Robert, and so just kind of watching them on a horse and the dedication that they had to it as well with, you know, think different things happening in kids and stuff like that. It's, they're still able to be super successful and very dedicated and passionate even with all the jobs or, and I really do admire, that's a lot of people who in like the dressage from that you do have full time jobs and they're still managing to actually compete all the time and still stay in school, which was, um, you know, that's something, cause I was a bit stressed about that when I was like, how do people do it all the time?

Natasha (14:19):

Yeah. Yep. And how does it go training with two people? They obviously must have the same kind of system.

Mackenzie (14:26):

Um, well they actually train together as well, which really helps obviously both grand prix riders. So they don't really have any conflicting opinions, but sometimes just having something explained just a little bit differently is all you need for it to click. Um, and that, yeah, they, they both, I think they've been great friends for years and years as well. So there's no like competitiveness or which I really appreciate it because it's, you know, it can be a little bit tricky sometimes navigating the waters and, but no, they just worked really well with those three.

Natasha (14:54):

It sounds like Queensland have got a whole little nest of everyone that is in.

Mackenzie (15:04):

Well Robert is from new South Wales, but he comes like before COVID, it was like monthly or every two months, but Emma and I try to get up to every week. So yeah. Um, yeah, so it kind of just works eventually.

Natasha (15:15):

Yeah, absolutely. And you've been in the young rod squad for a couple of years now.

Mackenzie (15:20):

Yes. So I've actually just graduated, I was like, Oh, they just kick you out when you get to all of that. I was on the young riders squad for a couple of years. It definitely, really helps. Like, you'd see like a structure and some sort of support as well, but it also helps you, I don't know, set goals, but also like connect with other young riders. I came from showings. So I didn't know a lot of people in dressage, um, which, you know, it's always a bit of a step up the show riders arent always a little fancy by the dressage riders.

Natasha (16:00):

Who's nicer showies or dressage riders?.

Mackenzie (16:05):

Um, I'm gonna say dressage riders. I just have to, it's just not as, I mean, I'm not going to say that, but yes, it's, uh, this even just, I don't know that in Victoria, but in Queensland to get in the squads it's you have to have a set number of scores above a certain percentage and a certain level and things like that. So that always really helps set like motivation, get the score. Yeah. If you get the scores wrong and so you kind of go to like, well, this is my anchor for the year and I want to be able to, you know, and be in the young rider quad is great. We had these clinics, we have camps and it's just, I miss it already. Um, but now, um, but I did set a goal for myself at the end of last year to, um, get the qualifying scores for the, um, setup and performance squad, because that was obviously the next step up once you get kicked out of the young riders. Um, but yeah, so that was my goal that was started last year. Um, which was a big step up because it's, you know, the scores, the young riders, uh, it's such a motivating, um, atmosphere. And then the adults who kind of, you have to be quite competitive to be able to get on the boards. It's just as professional that come out to play. And you're like, Oh, okay. So that was a goal I set for myself in Finney. So that was really, um, really nice to achieve, um, at the end of a year awards to announce. So that was exciting.

Natasha (17:37):

Yeah. So what are your future goals? Which Olympics are we aiming for?

Mackenzie (17:41):

Oh, well I just kind of want to keep going with touching on all the, like the grumpy work within yeah. It's a little bit, you know, it's like, Oh, I didn't know that it would be so hard until you're just like, get you get halfway through a set. And you're like, what am I up to? Where are my legs? And I'm aiming for the under 25 eventually we'll get kicked out of that one. Yeah. So that's kind of my big goal with Finn and just anything, anything for now is really just a bonus. Like he's kind of given me everything that he needed to anyway. So all these other fun things to just kind of get some enjoyment along the road, um, and then hopefully bring my three-year-old out as well. So she's just been broken in and she's having a couple of weeks off, but, uh, she's about to get started again. But, um, yeah. So I think, and then just kind of try, I think my next goal is trying to manage like a full time work life with riding Yeah. Trying to actually now, yes.

Natasha (18:55):

So are you a morning person? Will you do the horses first, then the work or you'll do the work and then the horses

Mackenzie (19:01):

That's the joy of shift work. It'll definitely be a day by day kind of thing. Um, especially that adjustment period. Uh, I think we're going to have to get lights in the arena, um, cause we're going to be the next. Yeah. But yeah, just trying to, I think it'll be, I mean, I'm very thankful for Finn because I would need to ride in, you know, three or so times a week and he's no different. So just be me trying to adjust to that full time and also learning a lot as a grad still, still the so much. I don't know. So I'm trying to like, yeah, yeah. And trying to, you know, taking all this new knowledge and also still trying to manage the horses, but that's, you know, it's, it's something that everyone eventually has to do. So I'll just kind of take it day by day and just try to, Basically just hope that they let me take days off for comps.

Natasha (19:52):

I'm sure. Otherwise it's just, there's no holidays for you. You'll have four weeks annual leave.

Mackenzie (19:58):

Yes. Yeah. But I mean, it's actually been quite funny, not funny, but with COVID it actually worked really, really well. Um, I was in my final year of uni and so I've had, I was on placement basically all semester. Um, and I was like, how am I gonna do comps? Cause I was, it was crazy. I have like my final assignments and exams and it was just full on, so. I was, I was like, I'm not ready for the season to start and then it'll go canceled. I was like, it's terrible for everyone. But it kind of worked for me in my particular situation that I had a bit more time to got to now that's over. I'm like, okay, get back into this. And then yeah. So I was not thankful for COVID at all because it was horrible, but it just kind of made me not to be as stressed, trying to fit Everything in, which is nice.

Natasha (20:49):

And I think everyone listening will relate. It doesn't matter if you work full time, part, time work always with horses work somewhere else. It doesn't matter. We all in humans, I don't really come across many humans that go, Oh, just got so much time. I just, I don't know what to do with all this time. Like, people are always rushed. People are always busy. I'm always stressed. Yeah. Juggling it, all I think is, is, is normal for, certainly everyone. And um, do you have any time management or scheduling tricks that you use?

Mackenzie (21:23):

Um, I kind of just, I did try plan out my week just because, you know, especially if things happen, like I teach as well. So trying to kind of manage that in amongst other things. So I try and make a plan for the week. I'll make a plan for the way you can when I'm going to ride. And when I'm going to at uni, what I was going to study, what I'm gonna do assignments and having it all very organized and structured meant that I felt a lot more relaxed in what I was doing. I was like, Oh, you know, if I take a bit longer with this, it's kind of okay. Because it all kind of works out eventually, but definitely being very structured. And like I said, the, any sort of uni like sporting program get into it. If you're at uni, it just made like extensions and things like that. It just made my life so much easier. Um, having that support as well at uni, not just, you know, with the squats and stuff with riding, but also kind of trying to everyone was kind of trying to help support everything, which makes it a lot easier. So definitely something that I'd recommend if you're at uni or studying or anything, just really trying to get into those programs, not just scheduling.

Natasha (22:27):

Yes. One thing I'm, I'm always, um, I've been around the planet a couple more years for me. It was also, you know, I, I wanted to ride, but then I also wanted to be a mother and I also wanted to do, so. I actually do 10 year plans and I think, Oh, well, so even though there was, there was four years where there was pregnant, so you're pregnant for what feels like a year, and then got the kid. And um, I already, I said, I will have five children if I could have them at one, but you don't get to, you have to do the, your pregnancy and the year of like a 10 hour a night sleep person when you have a child get to do that. Yeah. So it was like two years of my life, but then I got pregnant again. So that was the third year. And then the fourth year of the next one. Yeah. So glad I did it, but I had already planned for that 10 years. I already knew four years was coming out of my life and there was no riding goal. I still rode every pregnancy and competed a little bit through that, but it wasn't like I'm going to go to the Olympics and have two children in the same year. It's just like, okay, so. I have to set attainable goals. Yeah. But also understand that nothing's forever. It took a lot, my brain to go, you know? Oh, I'm so, you know, it might be for a year, you're doing. I don't quite know what You do at university, but you know, you're like, well actually I'm not going to be an advocate, but you can make that work because it's still three or whatever it is. Like I conscious that we're buying horses or selling horses. So in that four year period, I didn't have my best horse at that point, man, me crying, going, this is so devastating.

Mackenzie (24:03):

I think. Yeah. And I think sometimes when you see, like if you're in one of those moments where you're like, well, I can't really do, like, what I'm choosing to do at the moment may not be, what's going to be the long term goal, but, but you also see with like social media and stuff like that, you see everyone what appears to be living their best life and competing and riding and training. And you're like sitting on like either at work or a place and uni you're like, why would I be riding what doing that? That's like, well, you have to sometimes take a moment and realize that what you joined now will be benefiting me in the long run rather than just, you know, so that's, I think very important as well. Not trying to, not just watching everyone and being like, Oh, but they're hitting all their goals and I'm not exactly where I want it to be right now. So I think that's.

Natasha (24:43):

very, very good point. Any other advice you have for people that I'm sure there's lots of young riders going? No, just stop, go back. How did she depart from novice to winning champion champion champion champion? What do they have to do? What's the best thing that they should be doing in order to replicate a result like that.

Mackenzie (25:07):

But with my riding goals, I printed out this paper and I wrote a couple of things that I had set for each month or each six months. And I did put that up in my marriage. So suck it, like kind of tick it off. It's kind of a motivating factor as well. Um, but also finding a coach that you trust and doesn't push you too far or too fast. Um, for me, everything kind of, it did happen quite quickly. Um, I think once, you know, you get those changes kind of solid and things like that. It does happen very quickly. I remember talking to my friends and I was like, this seems to be happening and I don't know what to do. You're like, it's like, it just needs to slow down. No, this is, this is okay. And I was like, Oh, okay. Um, but it's, I think, yeah, just definitely not rushing yourself either. I saw like a couple of people and I was like, Oh, they're already doing this. Like, why aren't I doing it yet? And then six months later you're like, Oh right. It does happen. It just happens during speed. And again, social media, it's really hard to watch other people where you'll feel like you're in this, you're stuck in a position. Um, but I think just making sure that you are setting realistic goals and if you don't meet them, it's no stress. Like it's the animals as well. They take their own time learning things. And I think just making sure that you're not putting too much pressure on yourself. Um, I had really, like, my goal eventually was to the CDI block class. So like, you know, the small tour level stuff. Um, but I wasn't like, Oh my God, I need to do it. It was more, Oh, that'd be really nice. We really cool if I got there, but you know, while I was having trouble with one of my changes, I was like, well, it'd be nice to stay up to medium. so, and I think taking a step back a lot as well. Sometimes if we get too ahead of ourselves, just coming back to the basics can always kind of help centre to you. But I think just ticking along and just, it's supposed to be fun remembering that the horses don't care. If they're in the paddock, they don't care if they're getting rugs and things like that, they don't care it all. So I did feel like a lot of pressure. Um, and I, especially I put on myself because I was like, Oh, but he could be scoring this with like, you know, professional rider. He could be doing this and I let him down sometimes because I'm not good enough or whatever it is. And that was hard for me. Cause you know, people would be like, Oh, you know, but he could score this and I, yeah. But then I'm letting him down because I'm not the one getting that with him. And I had to kind of stop and be like, he's very happy to go out in the paddock. He doesn't care. He has no ego. He doesn't want to be winning things. He's just like, yeah, cool. You want to go for ride, Go for a run. But I think that was hard. Definitely kind of, you know, so you've gotta kind of just take it as it comes and just enjoy the ride. Cause it's, it's a, yeah, it's just, it can be a little bit overwhelming, especially as a young rider with too many ambitions and too many goals and you gotta, gotta just breathe. It's just fun.

Natasha (27:43):

Yeah. I think that's a huge point. And I'm like, I know for me, I was like, Oh, it took me forever just years and years and years to teach my freisene. It just wasn't not understand it. But then, um, and so everyone's at small tour before me, but then it's more to hard to teach him piafe. He'd already been doing that for years in the world before them, because there's nothing to do. As you said, you said it beautifully, the horse doesn't have an ego just wants to go for a ride. And it's about that partnership and that fun and that exploration of that, that that's.

Mackenzie (28:22):

Yeah. Well actually I was lucky enough to have a lesson with Laura Grange, which get to Queensland and I asked her about it. Cause obviously she would feel a lot of pressure and you know, she had cold countries late in her shoulders and I lasted like how she dealt with the like being nervous or the precious. And she said, she's what, I don't really get nervous because I just think of it like, um, we're not saving the world or anything. We just riding on the dancing horses. We're just, we're just, you know, not curing cancer and I was like, Oh yeah, that makes so much more sense. And I was like, I kind of have to keep trying to remind myself of that. Like, you know, it's just, we're not saving the world. We're just driving around and we have no other choice then, but to enjoy it.

Natasha (29:08):

I also do, when I go, it's really complicated. Like it's really complicated and I couldn't stop. No one is asking you to actually by hand, create a space ship to get to Mars, complicated, get stressed about and go. I don't know if it's out. Counting to 15 this is hard. It's like, stop it. You were born with these skills.

Mackenzie (29:39):

you got two legs and two arms and eventually it'll happen.

Natasha (29:46):

But yeah, isn't it, it's about being permissive and being okay with yourself and being everything.

Mackenzie (29:53):

and making mistakes. It's like, who cares at the end of the day? No one else remembers if you muck something up an hour later, it's only you who thinks about it for the next three months.

Natasha (30:01):

So yeah, absolutely. I love it. And do you have any sponsors at the moment?

Mackenzie (30:08):

Yeah, so I'm sponsored by a couple of different people. So sponsored by Collado who cares kind of things inside. So we have him on the recovery aid and the xenophobic at the moment, just cause while I was at uni, he wasn't getting riden a lot and he did lose a lot of muscles. So I make sure to always check him back on those anabolics I try to really helps him. And like I mentioned with my spine so I can be a little bit uneven. So I managed to find Jerry Russell equine therapy, who is a physiotherapist and she works on Finn quite often just because I do find that I cause him to be like a little bit muscle sore sometimes. So she's really great to have around because she just, you know, she knows straight away and she's like, and I'm like, Oh yeah, I am sitting too far to the right. And then look at that. And then also Hairy pony helps keep him, you know, nice and pretty and things like that. Uh, so all of these like platting needs and shampoo and treatments and stuff like that. And then also picture the moment, which I think it's amazing having a photographer because you have a nicest photos at comps And it just makes life so much easier to just get to see it and actually reflect how it looked rather than how it actually felt. Yeah. So yeah. So I'm very lucky to have those people supporting me.

Natasha (31:20):

Very good. We will put them in the show notes for you. That is awesome. Is there anything you'd like to share any advice?

Mackenzie (31:28):

Well, I kind of, I posted quite a lot on my Instagram page as well, so it's just Mackenzie underscore dressage, if you want to follow me and fin and see what we get up to. Um, but yeah, that's kind of, I try to post like weekly or things like that to try and, you know, help keeps myself motivated and myself accountable, but I like to share what we do. It's quite exciting and fun.

Natasha (31:48):

Yeah. And as you said, it's nice to have that memory. I know lots of people, I know whether it's Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, like it's just, it's your home memories in 20 years. Just love it. Thank you so much for your time today. I've had a blast and I think there's so many gems for people listening that can really, really take that and take their riding to the next level. So thank you. Well, yeah.

Mackenzie (32:16):

Well thank you so much for the opportunity as well. It's really cool.

Podcast Episode 14: How To Make The Right Decisions With Your Riding?

In this episode, Natasha speaks about the importance of decision making and how each decision we make has a different ramification. She also touches on the importance of goal setting and sticking to your goals.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript


So what I've been really wrestling with in my brain, Is how to make decisions like, How to make the right decision. Because I think when you look at that as a, as a question, it's, it's, you can't, you cannot, I think we're here as a society. And we, as a, as a world, need to understand that we can't make a right decision. Um, and I should probably give context to what I'm talking about, and I don't want it to get into a political discussion, but there's been a lot of discussion. Victoria is back in lockdown. I know that we've got people on one side saying we have our freedoms and we should be able to do what we want to do. And then we've got the other side, which is what we need to make compromises. And we need to make adjustments for the greater good for the, for the health of the nation or, or the world. And what we need to realize is if we don't go and lock down, people will die.


If we do go in, lock down, people will die. So there's no correct answer. There's no right way. There's no upside, no downside. And I know I'm just using a world sample, but when you put that into your, I always find that when I put that into my own decision, you know, people are always saying to me, Oh, I don't know what to do. I'm feeling really torn or I'm feeling really conflicted. And I don't know what I should do. And I don't know which is the right path. And I just start laughing. Cause I'm like, there is none, there's no path, which is all upside, no downside. There's no path where everyone gets to live and everyone gets to flourish. Um, we are faced with really being and really big obstacles. And there are ways through that and ways over it. Of course there is, but there will always be sacrifice.


And that's something my father, God bless him. Um, I'm really too optimistic for my own good. And he really always tried to, you know, ground me. And he was like, there is nothing good without sacrifice. There is nothing amazing without loss. There's no, there's always the flip side of the coin. Um, you know, and he was always saying, I don't think the Olympics are for you. Don't do the Olympics is like the Olympics won't make you, you know, it's not the be all and end all or people go, I need to have a million dollars. I need to have a million dollars. Okay. But you're going to have to sacrifice for that. Um, uh, I look at it and in terms of health, like I was saying to Phil, I was exploring the price of things and Phil wasn't totally on board with this. He thought I was going a bit cuckoo crazy, but I was like, wow, there's a price for good health.


Like there's, there's a price. You have to be paint and have nothing to do with money. I'm not sure we're talking about money, but there was a price for good health. There is a price to be rich and I'm not talking about money. There was a price to go to the Olympics and there was a price to be, to have a loving relationship. And there's a price to having a loving, close relationship with the, with the children, everything you want in life, all your goals, everything that you want, requires you to pay a price. And for the optimum time, and I'm not talking about money. And that is not talked about who went to school where the school teachers said, okay, what do you want from life? Do you want to be healthy? Do you want to have, have energy? Do you want to have riches?


Do you want to have lots of money? Do you want to have a job that fulfills you? Do you want to have close, siding, warm, um, beautiful relationships. Well, if you want all of that, you're going to have to, you're going to have to sacrifice. You're going to have to pay. You're going to have to deal like there's these things. And I didn't learn about that at school. The only thing school taught me was you have to get into a good university and you have to get a good job. They never said you have to enjoy your job. They never said you have to find a job that fulfills you. They never talked about how to be successful in life. And I'm not talking about if you're making good money or if you're in a good, yeah. Job. Success is so much more than that.


And it really frustrates me that we, as humans, aren't driven to be successful. My definition of success. And my definition of success is in every area of your life. Like you can't have dark without light. You can't have right without wrong. You can't have good without, like, I just think these things there, I've always talked about it. Like I've never had the most amazing shower of my life until I went and picked up hay out of the paddocks and put it in trucks and then went in the truck and then put it into a shed. So taking hay out of a paddock and ending up with it in the shed. So it was safe for winter. There was a thousand bales that we had to do and it was dusty. It was 40 degrees in our temperature. So really hot, definitely over a hundred degrees.


It was hot and dusty and you couldn't breathe. And it was just, it was just so itchy and so uncomfortable. But that shower was the most amazing shower I've had in my life. But I could only have the most amazing shower of my life. Once I had gone through the most discomfort I'd ever experienced in my life. You can't grow flowers without the rain. I love it. So yeah, just something to think about guys thinking about, if you want your riding to change, you're going to have to pay a price. Today. I want, I want to take my riding to the next level. And that's hard for me because I'm very comfortable doing what I'm doing, but it's only going to get me to here 65% in grand Prix. That's that's my maximum. Unless I step out of my comfort zone, do things differently, learn different new things and step up and grow more and be more and do more. Then I'll end up having more. So I was riding and I was like, Oh, This is so awful. This is so hard,


Oh God, this is so uncomfortable because, and I, and, and, and it was awful except for the sick part of me that knew then something good was about to happen. Because if I'm in my riding going, this feels good. It's it's wrong. It's not wrong. I shouldn't say it's wrong, but it is wrong in my map now, because it's only going to get me the result that I've got. Remember, if you want something new, you want, sorry, if you want something yet, if you want something new you have to do something new


Einstein's definition of insanity is i'll keep doing the same thing I've always done. But think that I'll get a different result. It just doesn't happen. If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got. So you have to do something different in order to get a different result. So I'm constantly pushing. And I, you guys know, I have five coaches in my life. Coaches that push me to do, to be out of my comfort zone, to do more, to do, to think Differently. And that's what I talked about last week. I said, it's not even doing things differently because you can't do things differently until you, think differently. And it blows my mind, no one ever talks about that. And no one ever really addresses that. Just saying, you should do, you should do this. You should do this, do this.


The thinking can't get around doing that. You can yell at them as much as you want. They're never gonna do that. So yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes. All right. Awesome. So, yeah, just when you, you're going about your day, the following the following week, I really just want you to think about what price am I paying and remember, that's the next bit of the price you pay the price, regardless. It is just which price are you more do you want to pay? So if you don't change and you don't, um, uh, so there's a price to pay for good relationships. If you don't want to pay that price, that's absolutely fine, but you will have to then pay the price of having a bad relationship. You can pay the price of having good health. Oh, you pay the price of not having good health, but you will pay a price.


And that level of responsibility again, is not taught in schools. And it should be because we think we can get off Scott free. We think we can get away with not making choices and not making decisions or not stepping out of comfort zones, but there's a price to be paid. If you don't like, that's your price. If you go, Ooh, I'm not willing to pay the price outside of my comfort zone. Cool. Rock on, stay in there. But there's the price to be paid for that choice as well. So I'm constantly going through my brain and through my life and reconciling my life going okay, is that the result I want? Is that how I want it to be? And if the answer is no, will I, am I willing to pay the price to make that difference? And if the answer to that is no, am I willing to pay the price of it staying the same?


The answer to that is no. Then you're going to have one of them has to change to it. Yes. You either have to accept. And it's forcing yourself to, to accept that responsibility that I think is not taught, is not fostered is not talked about. It's not thought about, and that, that's why I love, I love, I love talking about these. I think these conversations are important to have. I think people should be having more conversations, much less conversations about who's in big brother and who got kicked out of the master chef kitchen and more conversations around how to live extraordinary lives and questions that we should be asking about what we're prepared and not prepared to do. And what's the consequences of those choices, the price, or a sacrifice. I feel a sacrifice. Yeah. I mean, you can call it whatever you want to call it.


Um, to me, a sacrifice is, is a price to be paid it's it's okay. Um, uh, and it's going into that with your eyes wide open. I think a lot of people make sacrifices and pay prices that when they look back 10 years ago, they'd go, Oh, how I get here? I, that, I, I don't know if that was worth that. And I think I told you, I was having a conversation with my coach last week and was like, Oh, crazy time. And he was like, no, you think it's crazy time, but it's only because you're asking this question going, when I'm 90, is this going to be a problem or not? That's why you're in crisis and having this crazy, crazy thinking. But it's only because you're projecting, like you're making good choices, you're asking the right questions. So I think also no matter what's going on with you in whatever area of your life, if you, I always do the 90 year old test, okay. Will this matter when I'm 90? Well, like will I remember it. And most of the time it's no. Or if it is a life defining moment, knowing that I can't make the right decision. Cause I only know what I know and I can only do my best. And if I knew how to do better, I would, Which, which,


Which one would I can I handle with the most when I'm 90 and we try and really make it okay for our kids to choose. You know? So if you don't want to eat your vegetables, that's absolutely fine, but there's no more eating for the rest of the night and you'll have to go to bed or you can choose to eat your vegetables. And then if you want some dessert, you can, and you can stay up, um, until your, your normal bedtime at 8:00 PM. Your choice, rock on. I'm totally cool with whatever choice you make. So my kids are never told that they have well, I'd like to say never. I'm sure, I'm sure I slip up, but you know, it's not, you have to eat your vegetables. It's these are the two choices, which choice do you want to make? And we try and tell our kids that if you don't want to eat your vegetables, that's absolutely fine.


But you, you can't complain when you're not as fast as the other kids. You can't, um, be upset if you're not as strong as the other kids, or if you're not as tall as the other kids, because your body requires nutrients to grow and to be strong and to give you and to make you fast and to give you energy. And if you choose to not put that nutrition in your body, that's totally your choice. It's your body, but there's a consequence. Again, we try and teach it. There's a consequence to that choice.


Okay, how do you make an achievable three month goal? So if you've never ever set an achievable three month goal set, something that you think you could achieve in a week. So I can do a 20 meter circle, um, that's round. You know, if you think you can achieve that in a week, write that down as an achievable three month goal and write, write them down and then it's okay to tick them off early.


It's okay to go, Oh, I gave myself three months, but tick done, tick done. And then set a little bit harder ones, a little bit harder ones. And you think that it's going to take a month, set them as three monthly instead until you, but there's no right or wrong here, guys. There is not a teacher coming up behind you going, Oh, I'm going to put a big red cross on that because you didn't achieve in three months. Um, that just seems like you're an optimist like me. I said, I think I've told you guys in 1998, I said I was going to the Olympics in the year, 2000, clearly the worst timeframe I could ever conceive, never going to happen, but I didn't know any better. Cause the thing is with goals, if you would already achieve them, they wouldn't be goals. So they're things that you have never achieved before.


Therefore you don't know how to achieve them yet. And you don't know if you don't know how to achieve something. You've got to go find out, you've got to get the steps. You've got to get the strategies. You've got to get the plans and you don't know how long all of that is going to take. So let that be okay. I just think that like on I'm completely flexible in my goal setting, I am very, very clear. I've talked about it before. I'm very, very clear on my dream setting. And then my dreams get turned into goals. But if the goals are wrong, the meaning that the timeframes are wrong, they just get moved around. There's there's like my last, I mean, Phil and I are in the process of doing our next 10 year goals. So we had them set up until 2021 when we turn 40 and I'm redoing them all for 2031 when we turned 50, it's totally hilarious.


I'm so excited. I love it. Um, but there's so many goals. I would say 50% of my 20, 21 goals that I set in 2011 have not been achieved yet. Now, if you want to say, I'm an Epic failure and I'm useless and I'm hopeless and I'm stupid. You can say that I am exhilarated because 50% of them I've already achieved. And how extraordinary? I just know I got the top, like I'm on, I'm on track. I'm not so far removed from them, but I'm nowhere close to ticking them off yet because they are insanely insanely high, crazy goals. So the house I thought we would buy in 2021 was the most expensive mansion I could find at the time. It was, I think in England and it was 150 million pounds with just gold. Literally. You just walked in there and it was just gold, gold staircases, gold pillars, just marble and gold.


And I've cut out that little picture and I put it for 2021 and said, get a new house now. Clearly we're not there yet. Clearly I don't have 150 million pounds. I don't even know if I did like, like I have very, very strong money goals, so I'm not allowed to go and spend all the money that we have on a house anyway. Um, they need to go into assets so that we're not even gonna be there in 2031. We're not even gonna be there in 2041to them maybe by 2051, but that's okay. I've just moved it to 2031 because how would I know, how would I know? Um, the Olympics was there for 2016 and 2020 now, even if I had the most amazing course and the most amazing everything, I still wouldn't have gone to 2020, even if I was selected first on the team, because there was no Olympics in 2020.


Does that mean you're bad at goal setting? Does that mean that you're hopeless? Does that mean that you should give up? No. It Just means the timeline a little bit different. If you enjoyed today's episode and you want more information, including the transcription, head over to your riding success.com backslash podcast, there you'll find all our other podcasts, lots of cool manuals there for you. Lots of cool other transcriptions, heaps of free resources there for you. Just go to your riding success.com backslash podcast, to get that all and make sure you hit the subscribe button. So you never miss an episode.

Podcast Episode 13: Mary Warren And The Secrets To Her Success!

In this episode, we chat with one of Australia's most promising dressage riders, Mary Warren. Mary made history in the sport by winning the Grand Prix Freestyle at the Australian Dressage Championships at just 18 years old. Listen in to hear Mary's advice about what it takes to get to the highest level.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):

Today, I'm lucky enough to chat to the amazing, beautiful, wonderful Mary Warren. She very recently was the Australian freestyle champion. So out of every one in Australia won the freestyle. And when you hear about what she was doing that day and what kind of pressure she was under and what kind of stress she is truly a remarkable woman. I talked to her, all things, horsey, all things about how do we get results and how do we achieve success, really enjoyed this conversation. So I hope you enjoyed it too.

Natasha (00:49):

Okay. Thanks for your time today.

Mary (01:10):

No worries. Happy to be here.

Natasha (01:13):

Very excited to chat. I don't think we've ever met so very cool to me. So yes, yes. I'm in love with your horses. It's fabulous. So let's just start. What's your riding story? Like, did you have a Shetland? How did you start off from, from very start to where you are now?

Mary (01:31):

Very start. Okay. Well, I got my first pony when I was one, a little Shetland pony named Taffy. Um, I was on her for a little while and then progressed, you know, see the ponies and whatnot. My first proper pony was actually unbroken from the Maintenance sales . I think that dad was trying to get me out of horses.

Natasha (01:48):

I love the strategy.

Mary (01:52):

It didn't work, so, push through and through a variety of ponies. Um, and then I must've been about nine or 10 when I started riding my mum's thoroughbred mare that has been in the Paddock for six years. Um, cause my pony was not a fan of dressage, he would much rather go jumping.

Natasha (02:09):

And were you fan of dressage even back then.

Mary (02:13):

I loved dressage. I dunno what it was. I must've been watching the 2000 Olympic, um, like video tapes and I fell in love with it.

Natasha (02:20):

Um, and I can see on your pony, like PF I've seen them do it. It can't be that hard.

Mary (02:29):

Now, but um, no, so yeah, rode her, took her up to advanced level before we sold her. Cause then by then I was starting to ride the stallion Rami. Um, and of course he's young he's baby Raffi, who is now gone Grand Prix as well. So, yeah. Um, so.

Natasha (02:48):

How did you progress from sure for all the young people listening? How did you go from, I don't want to buy her a pony. I'm gonna like try and discourage her to I brought you a stallion. Like how did that, how did, what is it creative Ways can go about that.

Mary (03:01):

Well, we bred Rami, so, um, he was actually intended for dad cause dad used to ride as well. Um, dads mare, that you do a little bit dressage and eventing on, she was 18 hands, um, put her in foal with Febeo and then we go out Romy and Romy. Um, we had a couple of outside riders riding him and I had to sit on him and we're like, Hey, like I'm getting along with him. Why not have a member of the family on him? Um, and it just led from this. So I had to grow into him. Let's say that, um.

Natasha (03:29):

I love this story though, it's like it's international velvet. You had a foal and then like you just, yeah, off you go, come on, let's finish the story.

Mary (03:41):

He's a real part of the family. Um, and then in my two main competition, horses are by him. So it's just, yeah.

Natasha (03:51):

Yeah. So, and you've bred them. So you were there the day they were born and wow. That is a cool story. So I absolutely love that. Okay. So, um, how did it feel then to, to win the freestyle at the Australian dress championships?

Mary (04:10):

It was very surreal. Like it took a long time for it to sinking. Um, particularly as I've actually done, uh, one of my HSC exams earlier that day, uh, I actually did my HSC through distance learning so that I could still keep riding. Um, so I did my math.

Natasha (04:27):

I was going to say what subject? Wow maths, I think the worst one.

Mary (04:33):

Right? Literally if I had did a young rider test that morning, I jumped off was still in my breaches and everything, a friend of ours dropped me off at a Sydney high school. And yeah, that's how I did my exam.

Natasha (04:48):

Thats amazing, Congratulation. I'm most impressed by you doing a maths exam. And I think that because people will look at you and go, Oh, isn't that lovely? She's just so lucky. Or she just, you know, that's not like, wow, everything that you were trying to manage. So, we'll get back to the horses now. I'm just really intrigued. So do, did you just get your HSC and then go, well, I've got that if I need to fall back on it or did you, are you still at uni now thinking I'm going to try not do both?

Mary (05:18):

Horses full time at the moment, Um, I'll definitely look into studying something when I'm, you know, just, I would actually want to do, but, um, horses, coaching training, that's definitely my passion and what I want to focus on. Um, so yeah, just setting up a business now, so I need to develop more into the marketing side. Um, so yeah, no, it's, it's all going really well.

Natasha (05:39):

That's incredible. So what is your business vision for? I isn't Mindera park. Is that how you say it?

Mary (05:47):

Yes. That's that's um, where we live. So, um, that's the family property. So we've been here for about 20 years. Yeah. We've been running adjustment property and, and then it just started going into the coaching now that I'm, um, EA accredited and all that. Yeah. Yeah. It's just starting to take off and it's gone pretty well.

Natasha (06:06):

So what was harder or scary or the math exam or the, um, level one coaching exam.

Mary (06:12):

Oh, um, the coaching is pretty natural. You just sorta keep talking, I guess I was more comfortable. Um, well, I would like to think that I was a good student as well, so, um, it was it's, you know, I don't overstress about things. I just sort of get the job done and then move on. Um, that's, I've always sort of been a little bit.

Natasha (06:38):

awesome personality, but let's go back to that day. Cause that's kinda sounds like is there a, you just very good at being in the moment or, uh, people talk about mindfulness and it's just being where your feet up. So when you were on your horse, you were on your horse, then you were in your exam, you're in your exam and then you were yeah.

Mary (06:56):

I Block everything else out, the distractions and everything. If I'm riding a freestyle in front of, you know, a thousand people or something, I don't, it doesn't bother me. I'm inside with explaining nothing, maths exams and stuff like that. Just get in, put your head down, tails up and do the work and hopefully it turns out. Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

Natasha (07:16):

Well, I think this strategy is working. You just rock and roll with it. That's awesome. So who helps you on the ground? Who's who, who has made you the rider you are today?

Mary (07:27):

I've had many coaches over the years, then I've taken bits out of everybody. I would like to say my current coach is Robert smuggler and he's fantastic. Um, haven't had a lot of lessons this year with the whole COVID thing and all that. So that's been a bit hard, but yeah, no, it's been good. Got a good system and it's just training now at the moment. So I think actually the whole covid situations helped me with my small tour Horse to push him towards grand Prix now without the stress of having to repeat itself.

Natasha (08:00):

Exactly. In some ways we've got to find the silver lining, that's it. Okay. So how many horses are you riding per day right now?

Mary (08:10):

I'm about five at the moment. So you're not too busy, pretty easy.

Natasha (08:15):

And how do you do it? Is it best to worst? Youngest to oldest? What's your way of doing it yet?

Mary (08:21):

Pretty much. Um, level of competing at or training at down. So do my Grand Prix horses first and then go into the young ones into the afternoon and usually teach a lesson or two. Um, so yeah, no, it's a good day living the dream.

Natasha (08:36):

I love it. I love it. So, um, have you gotten any baby babies? Any three-year-olds?

Mary (08:41):

Yes. So we've got two more Romney babies growing up at the back Paddock. So it'll be good to see, them come out and about, uh, one particular on a little bit excited about he's out of the prestige big deal, man. Um, yeah. He's, he's got a lot of personality. He's quite sassy, so I love it.

Natasha (09:01):

And have you kept any Stallions if you've riden the stallions, like, do you prefer stallions or do you like geldings?

Mary (09:09):

A good horse is a good horse. Um, does it really matter what gender they are? Stallions I've found can be a little bit lazier. Um, but they're all different. They have their own unique personalities and quirks.

Natasha (09:22):

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So do you have any advice for young riders?

Mary (09:26):

Just Keep working hard every day, get up and just ride it. Doesn't um, if you feel like you're in a bit of a rut, you just gotta keep pushing yourself. Um, that's what I have found worked for me. Just get up every day, get on the horse and just ride and take advice from some people like you never stop learning, um, try different things like, you know, um, yeah, that's, that's probably the best I could say.

Natasha (09:53):

Yeah, absolutely. And have you spent any time training overseas?

Mary (09:58):

No, I haven't. And that's definitely something I want to do. Um, it's in a little bit ..

Natasha (10:01):

so brilliant as well that you've got the result. Like you won the grand Prix freestyle at the Australian championships and you don't, most people would be like, Oh, she's been training overseas for blah, blah, blah. It's like, no, are you doing it?

Mary (10:15):

Not at all. Not at all. That's something I definitely want to do. I was hoping to do it this year, but obviously couldn't um, so just to go overseas and have a look around, um.

Natasha (10:27):

Go to France..have a croissant.

Mary (10:27):

Exactly, that would be fabulous, but, um, no, it's definitely on the list,

Natasha (10:37):

but let's, let's go back to that. Cause I find that really intriguing. Like you've got a level of success and most people, I feel most people feel there's a certain path that needs to be done that way. So what do you think is the secret to your success? Is it, would you say the, all of them are important, so hard work self-belief like, do you, I I'm feeling talking to you that your belief in your confidence and your ability to trust that you will find a way is huge, which I think plays a big part, but I'd love to hear your thoughts now. It's not that I eat rice bubbles every day. Oh, it's the rice bubbles. All right. Everybody.

Mary (11:20):

Definitely not. I've been very lucky with the quality of horses that we've had. Like we've never, I think that the most expensive course available, it was my sister's little jumper and that was $7,000. Um, so we've never gone outside and purchased horses. We've just been lucky to have some, like a level of quality in the breeding bloodlines that everybody in Australia has access to. I mean, Fabio, jive, these aren't, you know, big international names, um, and just, you know, core training and just consistency and keep pushing through and you never know what's going to happen. Um, like the horses surprise, even me at times they just keep getting better. I'm like, Oh, okay. We can trot. So yeah, it just basic, it surprises me at times. I, I don't know really what happens. I just do the work and here we are.

Natasha (12:15):

I love it. How important do you think the consistency piece is? Like, would you think that that trips up a lot of people,?

Mary (12:22):

100% you have to have a program, a training program? Um, I only ride the horses like in the arena probably four times a week. The other two days I'll hack them out, then they'll have Sunday off. Um, so it's, it's very important that you stick to your program and, um, and, and build trust in it. And when you go into a test, I think a lot of people freeze up. Um, you have to keep riding and trusting your training that you've done at home to then to show the judges what you've been working on. So hopefully it pulls off.

Natasha (12:54):

Yeah. And, um, so I feel people can be consistent and then emotions will get in the way in the way, you know, cause something bad happens or something know X happens. Now X happens to every single one of us, all of us. And some people can remain consistent regardless of X happening and other people let that derail them. So how do you cope with like Corona? Like when something happens that could stop you in your tracks and start be consistency. It, what, what is, how do you get through that? What is your strategy of doing that?

Mary (13:31):

Got to love, those speed bumps, but I'm just like, it's a challenge and you gotta try and work out how to get around it, throw it or whatever. Um, and, and just not let it distract what's your on your horse. Like you're in the moment, you know, a lot of people might have baggage, or a lot of like, you know, financial stress or whatever. Um, when you're on your horse, you then and there and just leave it, leave the outside world alone for 40 minutes.

Natasha (14:04):

Just gone full circle. It's back to where you are where your feet are. Like I think that's one of your biggest secrets to your success that whatever you're doing sounds like you do it at a hundred percent and give it everything you've got at that moment. And you are fully understanding that next moment is different, but right now it's this. And I think a lot of other people we've got, but there's all this it's like, yes, but this is all I can control right now do right now, then we'll move on to the next problem when I get off. Yeah, that's rick start. So. Um, did anyone teach you this? Or this is just how you're wired. I love it.

Mary (14:40):

I think it's pretty much how I'm wired, but I'm like I've had, my parents have been very up and like they've been very supportive, but also my dad is very humbling. So I think it's been a good balance, um, that I've had to put the time and effort in it. This is gonna work then it's up to me. Um, so yeah, it's been good.

Natasha (15:08):

That is brilliant. Okay. So. Um, another thing I wanted to delve into, do you, you talked about the horses, having a program in a routine and arena work and hacking and everything else. Do you have a exercise routine, whether it's stretching cardio weights or anything that you do for your physicality?

Mary (15:27):

For me, I'd like to say I do. I try, I try and run, you know, maybe twice a week, um, for about 20 minutes and do interval trainings. Cause we've got Jeff Morrison. Who's our squad, new South Wales squad osteopath. And so that's when he recommended for me to do. Yeah. Um, so yeah, no it's, um, it's, it's been, I probably need to do more, more stretching or licensed or yoga or something like that need to look up to myself more.

Natasha (15:58):

I love it. Wait till you get to my age and then you'd be like, what do you mean nothing just to be able to touch my toes now. Like when did that happen? That's my life. What about nutrition? Do you, um, especially let's talk about at a competition day. So let's go to that day when you were at exam to test, to exam back to horse, um, is it diet Coke? Like we're good to go or are you really strict with that piece of it?

Mary (16:29):

I'll usually maybe have like a small iced coffee. Um, but nothing too much. Otherwise my stomach tells me it was a bad idea. Um, usually I won't have a proper meal until after I ride I just, I know it's not good for you. It definitely. I just can't physically have a meal in my stomach while I'm riding I can go a whole day without eating. So, um, yeah.

Natasha (16:56):

So is that the same? Um, let's say if you rode today or whatever you ride and then you have a really late lunch or like you don't eat until the riding done pretty much.

Mary (17:05):

I'll take a coffee down or a hot chocolate to the stables and you know, have that. But yeah, I won't eat anything. I'm like nibble on a carrot or something at lunch and then have the proper dinner you know, um, you know, Normallu your meat and three veg sort of thing. Um, so yeah, that's, that's pretty much my diet.

Natasha (17:23):

Yeah, no, I, I speak to a lot of riders. They're the same that you just can't have food in there and you've got these personal trainers like you have to eat breakfast. It's like, dude, that's not happening. I'll eat breakfast, but it will be much later. Well like brunch. Yeah. Yeah, totally brunch. Awesome. Alright. Do you have any kind of disaster story that everyone can go? Oh good. She's relatable. We can like her, like you got eliminated. He got bucked off. That's something.

Mary (17:51):

There has been many, many, many, many disaster stories. I'm probably wrapping my second grand Prix horse in the warm up arena as a young horse, he used to buck a lot and you'd see a lot of people. uuuhhhhh So that was fun. But in a in test competition was probably my worst experience was probably equitana 20. I think it was actually was 2016. Um, stayed after winning nationals. Rami went into the ring of the freestyles and just lost it. I just could not cope with the atmosphere. And I like just got him back towards the end of the freestyle and yeah. That was it. That was a bad day. And he just got back to the stables and he lied down and he never does this, a full layeddown and he just put his head in my lap and he went to sleep. It was really sad. Oh, I'm so sorry that um, yeah, that's probably the worst.

Natasha (18:51):

Did you like come dead last. Everybody came dead and then she had the best in Australia. And I think that's when we talk about the consistency and we talk about these things. There's not one human being on the planet that succeeded that you, you can ask that question. Do you have a disaster? Sorry. Have you ever come lost? Oh no. And if there is, I dont like them, because that is the story it's up and down and thank God you kept going.

Mary (19:18):

Yeah. Also horses are very, they are very humbling.

Natasha (19:22):

Aren't they, Aren't they, fabulous. Awesome. Alright. And you said you were thinking of studying maybe later. So if, if suddenly the, we woke up in a world and horses ceased to exist, there's no horses on the planet. What, what would you do instead?

Mary (19:39):

Terrible thought that I'm honest. I'd be like, yeah, yeah. I have a couple of scars and whatnot. So I actually honestly have no idea I've thought about this. Um, but just as a little girl, it was horses and that was that. I honestly don't have an answer for that.

Natasha (20:03):

That's rock now. And that's awesome because it sounds like, I mean, I know you're so much younger than me and um, I, when I'm talking to you, I'm like, Hey, we're the same? It's like, no, no, no, she's so much younger than me because I'm not 18 anymore. Apparently not, but you've got the passion, you've got the drive, you've got the ability to disconnect and, you know, just be where your feet are and focus and commit. And you've been through the bad. So the good is so much sweeter and so much more incredible. So I think you have the most amazing future. What are, do you set goals for 24, 28 32? Or did we not go those years? Do we just go in 10 years? I'll be blah.

Mary (20:42):

It just sort of, um, like you have individual goals for each horse, I guess. So I've got my current small horse Ramirez. Um, I think he could be good enough for, um, Paris 20, 24. See what happens. Yeah. Um, it's just really like that. So pressure just see what happens, um, that all exceeded my expectations of what they should have achieved. Um, so yeah, we'll just wait and see. So a couple of horses and maybe find something a little bit more flash. Um, so yeah. Anyway, so what the future holds.

Natasha (21:16):

I love it. Very cool. Thank you so much for sharing your time and sharing your story with us today. I think everyone would have got out of it. Is there anything else you want to add or anything else you want to share?

Mary (21:28):

Um, Oh, Nope. Nope. Just, just keep going guys. Just keep going Yeah, it really is like, um, it's always gonna be people out there who are going to drag you down. I've come across stories of my stuff. I'm like, Oh really? That's that's a new one. Um, yeah, yeah.

Natasha (21:50):

It is almost a thick skin required in this industry as well. Isn't it?

New Speaker (21:54):

Yeah. I've had to develop that quite early on, which is sad, but um, I think, think beneficial in the long run. Um, so, but yeah, no, it's, I've developed quite good relationships in the industry as well, so, um, that's, that's also a good thing. Um, but yeah, just keep riding, um, and just, you know, it's, it's the passion for the horse, really the love. So just keep going.

Natasha (22:18):

Huge. Thank you so much. All right. And um, I hear you, uh, sponsored by some amazing companies. Can you share a little bit about the companies that, um, you're working with and what they do for you?

Mary (22:33):

I've been very lucky to have the support and generosity are quite a few companies. Um, first one was Asprey saddlery, Deb, she's been supportive from Asprey has supporting me for many, many years. So thank you. Um, and then we've got colada animal health, so, um, fabulous supplements. Uh, can't recommend them more highly, uh, black Horse clothing.

Natasha (22:55):

Are they just the, um, like the nutrition ones or is there like calming down ones and cool different?

Mary (23:01):

Everything definitely to, um, to better calm. They've got it. Great. Black horseclothing, so fabulous clothing. Um, they're based down in Victoria, um, brad miles, econ trigger point therapy. He looks off to me and the horses. So he's fantastic.

Natasha (23:23):

Yeah, they can do the whole thing. its like, the horses are fine. Just dome. I mean, I need a massage, but my brain went to,

Mary (23:31):

it was painful the first session, but that's great now. Um, and we've got a heavenly horse design, so, uh, stock's so professional out in the ring. Um, and then I think that's it. I better write this thought and flexible set of questions. So I've had with bridles. Um, so I love the quality, the, um, and the range.

Natasha (23:57):

You can swap, like um, yes. Thingy. What are they called? Broadband. Yeah. Yeah.

Mary (24:06):

Um, yeah, no, it's great. So you've got endless, endless options there. Yeah.

Natasha (24:11):

All right. I think then we've got everything. Yeah. Have an amazing couple of weeks. A couple of months, hopefully. Cause where are you in new South Wales? Do you think you're going to get locked?

Mary (24:21):

Yeah. Well it's looking pretty, pretty bad down in Victoria. So we'll see what happens here in the Hunter Valley. So we're a bit further North. Um, but you know, yeah. Cause we,

Natasha (24:34):

we had like a competition planned for July, like at boneyard and then they're like, it's all over. And now EA is caught in crazy town. I'm like, it just all over. What was the point of buying a 20, 20 planer.

Mary (24:52):

Most useless thing bought for the year. But um, yeah, it's been terrible.

Natasha (25:02):

If you were going to have a small tour horse and by the time you'd get out, you've got a grand Prix horse.

Mary (25:07):

Yeah. He did one small tour, but Willinga did really well. He got champion up there. Um, and then yeah. Now, so see what happens.

Natasha (25:17):

That's awesome. I just went champion small to a, to champion big stuff.

Mary (25:22):

It's going to go well, we've got a bit of a quirky individual. He's lots of fun. That one.

Natasha (25:30):

Yeah. Awesome. Well, when, whenever we do eventually find each other at nationals or at a combined company will come out and say hello and have an amazing day. Thank you so much. Right.

Mary (25:42):

You too. Thank you so much for this. This has been great.

Natasha (25:44):

Okay. Bye bye. To find out more about Mary, more about our sponsors and read the transcription. If that's more your thing, head over to www.yourwritingsuccess.com to get all the info.

Podcast Episode 12: Why Don't We Have Success In Our Horse Riding? - Positive Mindset Strategies

Are you constantly wondering why you don't have success? Why aren't you making progress with your riding? Today Natasha talks about the importance of having a positive mind set and the importance is has on your riding progression.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

I just wanted to have a chat about what I've been thinking about and pondering and exploring and having conversations about my poor husband every night. Um, I'm like, sorry, let's talk about this. And what I think really, really going deep on is why, why don't we do what we normally know we need to do to get results?
So the first question I was pondering is why don't we have success? And, uh, then I went, no, that's, that's, that's a pretty poor quality question. Why don't we have success? Because, um, uh, you know, there's so many factors of why we, we wouldn't have success, but from the most part that got me thinking, do most people not know how to have success? And I went, no, it's it's, we've got the internet nowadays. Most people know, like if I Google, um, you know, how do I have, uh, uh, outstanding health?
Most people know we need to eat less processed food. We need to, we need to move our bodies. We need to drink water and we need to exercise and we need to fill our body with unprocessed food. I think it doesn't matter if you think the carnivore diet or the vegan diet, both those diets have in common, no donuts, but there's just all diets have one thing in common. There's no donuts in there. Um, so I, you know, when I think about nutrition principles and I know people get really, really hot it up and heated up about Oh, vegans or carnivores, you know, when they eat completely different, but they have lots in common and something in common is no donuts, but I go, that's not really. So let's take health. For example, if people aren't achieving the health that they want to achieve, why aren't they achieving the health that they achieve?
And it comes from not knowing it comes from sorry, too many negatives. It comes from not knowing that they shouldn't eat donuts. They know they shouldn't eat donuts, but they still eat donuts. So then I went down this rabbit hole of why do we do what we know we shouldn't do? Why does the smoker smoke? Why does the person that wants great health eat the donuts? Why does someone who wants financial abundance put crap on their credit card and get into debt? Why do we, as humans do things that we know we shouldn't, but we feel that we, we can't stop or we feel that we have to, or we feel that we just can't make a different choice. We know other people can make choices, but we don't feel that we can make that choice.
So I went down this rabbit hole of why, why, why do people do that? And I landed for this week, at least on this motion motion, what's it called? Cate notion. Thank you. This notion, not this motion, this notion that how we think determines what we do, which I've always subscribed to. Anyway, I thinking determines are our emotions, uh, on our actions. Like I know our thinking determines our actions, Debra cause we are human LOL. Yes. So our thinking determines our actions and our actions determine whether or not we're going to have success in any one area. And what I find really challenging around humans is they are so there's so much pain because some someone will be, let's say, I desperately want to get out of debt. I desperately want to be financially free. And then they go buy another thing on their credit card. Or I desperately want to be thin, or I desperately want to have the health and vitality of my dreams, but I need to join that today.
And there's a lot of layers to, you know, there's a lot of things, you know, lots of people do that and go, and I'll start tomorrow. Who's done that. I know what I should do. I definitely want the result. I know what I have to do to get the result and I'll do it tomorrow. Humans are hilarious because we're so cute. We think that tomorrow we'll be better versions of ourselves magically that we'll just wake up and be magically, this amazing human being that makes all the right choices. And I think that's hilarious because nothing can start tomorrow. Everything has to start. Now, if you've decided you want financial freedom or abundant health or whatever it is that you've decided you want, you need to, um, uh, take the action. You have to decide and, and, and, and create thinking. Now you gotta stop lying to yourself. That's the first thing you gotta stop lying to yourself saying, Oh, well, I'll be better tomorrow. I'll do that tomorrow. That doesn't happen.
So if that's what you need to do, and you need to change the thinking today, how do you learn? And how do you understand what thinking you should have? And I talk a lot about different beliefs and fears and values and, um, uh, masculine, feminine energy. And there's all these different filters. When I talk about the NLP communication model, that determine what we then think about, which then determined what we feel and determines what we do. So if anything, if I ever want to change an action, I have to change the thinking. And if I have to change the thinking, I have to change one of the filters as in the values or the beliefs or something like that. But sometimes word is wired a certain way. Uh, you know, you don't like I, as a coach, don't like playing with people's values too much, their values or their values.
Who am I to say that that's a wrong value or a right value? Let's say someone comes, um, who has a value for freedom, but they, and they're coming for relationship coaching because this value for freedom is really impacting their commitment in their relationships. Can you see how that could be a huge disconnect? Their Like I desperately want, um, freedom and I desperately want to commit and have a lasting relationship. But when I commit, I feel that I've lost my, my value of freedom. And so the, the exaggerated or the overenthusiastic coach can be, Oh, we'll just change the value for freedom, but hang on. That's, that's that's them. And when you change that, what is it? What is the good things that are in their life because of their value from freedom? I know I'm going off on a tangent, but I just wanted to have this full fist thought philosophical.
My brain is not working with my words today. Philosophical conversation around what are you not getting results in your, in your writing or in your life right now. And it's not because you don't know what to do, and it's not because you, and you might think it is. There's a level of thinking that goes, I don't know. I'm confused. I can't get that. I don't get it. It's all too hard. It doesn't make sense. And you think that's the reality, but that's your thinking, which is huge. And I I've just been there recently. I was like, I don't know. Oh, it's so confusing. I don't get it. I don't know. I don't know. It's all too much. And I thought that was the problem. Gorgeous. As much as I know nothing external is the problem. It's always internal. I was definitely saying no, no, no, it's not me.
It's out there. But when you take that responsibility back again, you go, I don't know. Well, what if you did, it's all too confusing. Well, what if it wasn't and you commit to working your way through your levels of thinking to get to where you need to be, to do the actions. That's where the gold is. So just enjoying having that pondering people go well, if I was just more confident on Fridays, believed in myself more, I'll do it. Yeah. And the tricky thing is, is if you did it, you would have more confidence in, you would believe in yourself, more love how it all works. Um, but if you feel that you're a human on the planet that doesn't believe in themselves, you've got to take the journey to play and to learn. How can I believe in myself more? How can I love myself more?
How can I rock on with myself more? How can I, how can I accept me for all my deliciousness and all my dark, not shameful, things that I want to hide from the world, deliciousness and all the fun and the beauty and the deliciousness of the deliciousness. But all of it is delicious. All of it is you. And we grow up hiding parts of ourselves and shaming parts of ourselves and thinking bits of ourselves and not okay. And then we wonder why we're not happy and why we're not rocking on and why we're not living the life that we to live. So it's it's, I don't get it. I don't get it. Why society, like people will say to me, Oh, your kids are at school, has their reading going? I'm like, I don't care. Of course I care how their readings going and it's going fine. Thank you.
But I'm never, ever going to judge my children based on, have they look like, have they, yes. They have to learn how to read and write and do maths. Yes, I do believe that's important, but I also believe it's important. They learn how to know themselves, that they know how to trust themselves, that they know how to believe in themselves, that they know how they work. They know how they are motivated. They know how, um, what excites them. They know what their passions are. They know how to learn, um, all these kinds of things. I prioritize hugely.
Um, like I was having this conversation with Phil going, how many books have you read this week on how to love yourself? He's like, you're weird. I'm like, no one reads these books. No one thinks it's important, but it's everything. Because when you can accept you for you, that's huge. And God, I'm going deep. You guys thought we were in for, you know, a, a live Q and a on how to get my horse to do shoulder in, but maybe you can't get your horse to shoulder in because you're so wrapped up in looking a certain way and making it look a certain way and not looking like you, haven't got it together and not looking like you're learning and not looking like you don't understand that you're hiding and protecting and doing all this exhausting stuff, which is actually stopping you from just getting the learning going on and learning how to do a shoulder in. And I don't know, like I have no idea. I'm just pondering. Everything that is going on in our lives is, uh, is, is, is because of how we're thinking about what's going on in our lives and these unconscious things, these things we've been doing for our entire lives, that we're not questioning that we're not thinking about that.
We're not wondering about, I had a session with my coach yesterday and I was like, Oh, I made a crisis. And he's so cute. He was like, Oh, what flavor is your crisis? I said, chocolate chip. He said, good. I'm good flavored. Have I said, well, if you are to have a crisis, I think it should be chocolate chip. Um, and then we got into my crisis and solved it. Thank God. So I'm not in crisis anymore. But my crisis was because of the questions I was asking, I was going when I'm 90, I don't know if I'm going to be happy with this choice. That was my crisis. And he sent Natasha, thank God we're having this crisis now, before you've even made the decision, rather than get to 90, look back and go, what the hell was I thinking? What the hell did I spend my forties doing?
That was crazy. So I am very, very clear, like the questions I ask and that the thinking that I'm trying to do is, is very, you know, hopefully, and I'm so not there guys. I'm so, so unaware. And so not capable of thinking of so much more, that would actually be useful if I could think about it and actually be as full if I could conceive it. But I can't. I'm where I'm at, is where I'm at. Um, and that's why I hit speed bumps because I'm, I'm constantly think trying to upgrade the thinking to hopefully get a different result or a better result. What, I don't know like it, when people go, okay, I don't want that. It's really hard to wrap your head around. So what do I want instead? And that's where you need to start. So where do I need? Where do I start to be confident in myself and riding?
I want you to really start thinking about and exploring what, what does confidence look like for me, if I wasn't unconfident, what is, what is not that you know, and really start exploring that. And if I woke up another question I really love to ask is if I woke up with amnesia, so I had no idea who I was prior to this moment, boom, you just wake up in the hospital and you're you, but you have no past, you have no past experiences that taught you things that made you think about certain things that made you think about yourself. So you don't know if you'd like donuts or not. You don't know if you're confident or unconfident. You don't know anything. If that was you, you're fresh, your brand slate. When a baby comes into the world, they are just love. They are just loved by him. They have no, no programming. They have no conditioning. They are just love. So if you are just love, how would you operate in the world and how would you be and how it, how would you play?
Aye, don't focus so much on, I want to teach you something because I don't know if you want to learn, I'm focused on how can I add value? How can I help? So it's not so much about training. I'm here to help and based on the experiences and the riding and that just the experiences that I've had in my existence. I want to help people with the things that I struggled with, that I don't struggle with anymore. So I got bucked off and broke a bone in my back, really scared to get back on my horse. I don't feel scared to ride anymore, but I know what that feels like. I don't want anyone to feel scared to ride. I think that's an awful, awful way to go through life. And I don't want that for anyone. So I fight really hard to teach people.
There's the teach word, um, uh, how to do that for themselves. So I'm just focused on, on helping. Um, people overcome certain things and I help them by teaching them, but I'm not focused on teaching them. I'm focused on help. I'm, I'm obsessed with helping 'em. I, I stayed to feel like maybe two weeks ago, I was like, I just, I just feel like I need to do more. I need to help more. I need to have more people. Like I'm just obsessed with having more people smile. I just want more people to enjoy their riding. I just want more people to enjoy themselves. I just want more people to enjoy their lives. And that's something that is just in, I'm just super passionate about that. So it comes out, um, with the imposter syndrome as a trainer it's it's it's, if you're worried, um, that you have something of value to bring, and I'm sure you do, you're saying people are complimenting your methods with your horses and asking for lessons.
You have something of value, but if you don't believe that you're valuable, you're going to sabotage it, or you're going to stand in the way, or you're going to feel like an imposter because you don't think that you're valuable. So I would focus on you. You have value and you have value to share and you are brilliantly awesome and fantastic, and just awesome and own that and love that and know that there's parts of you. That isn't, there's so many parts of me. I make mistakes. I do things wrong. I stuff up, I get it wrong. I make mistakes. I make poor decisions as we all do. So watch it. If anyone's thinking, Oh really? She makes poor decisions. I don't, if anyone's judgmental, Whoa, you are in for a whole lot of pain. Cause the people judge others, guess what they do to themselves.
They judge themselves as well. When you can let go of the judgment of others, because that means you've also let go of the judgment of yourself. Oh, so much more love, so much more happiness, so much more freedom. So I think we've gone on tangent, but yes. Realize your value or realize your value, realize your value that you have value. And if you're worried about others judging you, are you judging others? And how can you let go of all the judgment for yourself and others? So people judging you have nothing to do with you anyway, is just my uh, my thought on that, Okay. okay.
I think we as babies, uh, pure and whole and complete, and as I said, just love and as we grow up, God forbid we learn bullshit. I'm just like we just learned bullshit and we think the bullshit's real. And then we go through our lives. I'm trying to hide the bullshit. That's hilarious. Um, so, uh, I don't want, sure I'm aware of consequences, but I try not to avoid risks. Risk is where I will learn. I might make a mistake. I might fall on my bottom. It might be this really big, bad thing. But if I go in there with the intention of what I want to create and what I want to learn and what I want to have happen, and it doesn't come off, at least I still went in there. Like there's an amazing quote. I can't think of the guy who wrote it. It's, it's the man in the arena. It's an Epic quote, Kim, if you're listening to this, can you please Google the man in the arena, quote and post it. But it's about how the people watching the man in the arena, don't get to, don't get to have any opinion.
It's the man in the arena with the sweat and the blood on his face that gave it a go that we have to all cheer for. And, and, and yeah, I'm always trying to just be in the arena.
My riding is not where it needs to be to make the world championships. And my horses are not where I need my horses to be, to make the world championships. And that is part of what my crisis and my thinking has been, uh, uh, about a lot is about 2024, about 2028, about what it takes to become an Olympian about the discipline and the dedication and the time commitment and the thinking commitment and the commitment that it takes to be the best in the world. And me challenging that and questioning that and pondering about that because I mean, and that's what I spoke to the coach about. I said, I just did my hours again. So what I mean by hours is there's 168 hours in a week every now and then I, you know, go out of what is current in my world. And I just go into magical fantasy land and I go, what would I want to do? If I could do everything that I wanted, I did that. And I got to 256 hours, 256 hours into 168 hours. Don't go. They just don't go. So that means I can't do everything that I want to do. I do not have the time. So I have to make choices and I have to make decisions, which is what the whole conversation was about. So, um, yes, I will definitely give you an update once I've landed and once I've decided on what I'm doing. Um, but yeah, that's, that's why that's not happening right now.
You gotta have failure is my stepping stone to success. Failure is the, the, the, the evidence. I need to know that I'm on my way. Um, uh, I I've talked about it before. Like I absolutely love Sarah Blakely. Sarah's um, is the, I think I've read, she is the first woman to ever be a self made billionaire. So she didn't inherit any money. She didn't marry into any money. She herself has created a billion dollar business with spanks and her dad, um, when she was a child used to say to her and, uh, other brothers and sisters, I don't know how many brothers and sisters there were, um, what did you fail, um, at today? And if Sarah didn't have anything to say that she failed at, um, she, she had to go fail at something. So failure wasn't failure. The only so, and I teach my kids that as well, they don't, they think the word fail means I didn't try.
Cause that is our only definition of failure in our household. If you didn't try, you failed and failure is not an option. So go out and try. And you're a huge success. So I don't know if that helps you, but it's, you have to love if you want any resemblance of success. And if you want to upgrade your thinking to get results, you need to accept love, embrace rock on, get excited about failure and use that momentum and that motivation to propel you to your next failure and your next failure. Because every failure along the road is a new, a higher failure towards your success. If that makes any sense. So let me just read out this quote. I got, I want you to really hear it. And this is Theodore Roosevelt. Who's Teddy Roosevelt, who I'm pretty sure was a president Kate is giving me the nod.
History is correct. So it is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who was actually in the arena, whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deeds? Who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions who spends himself in a worthy cause who at the best knows in the end, the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who never know victory nor defeat.
And that quote is up in our family command center. Like our kids know that quote it's it's it's. So just that last sentence don't ever be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat, and that's how we live defeated or victorious, but in the arena.

Podcast Episode 11:  The Journey To The Olympics And Beyond With Eventer Amanda Ross

Today Natasha speaks to Olympic eventer Amanda Ross about about all things horses including her journey to the 2000 Olympics and what the future holds in her eventing career. If you would like to check out Amanda Ross, you can find her on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook by searching "Amanda Ross Eventing Fit"

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):
Hey riding superstars today, I have an amazing conversation with the brilliant Olympic eventer Amanda Ross. We get into everything. What does it take to be an Olympian? What does it venting at a top level look like and much more. So enjoy the conversation.
Natasha (00:56):
Thank you so much for joining me today.
Amanda (00:58):
No, thank you for inviting me.
Natasha (01:01):
I'm so excited to share your story because you have achieved so much. I'm sure lots of listeners are going well. How did you do that? And, and, and what do I need to do to be able to replicate that and to have the success that you've had? So if that's okay, that's where I want to take today and I'm trying to help people with that. So, um, how did you, I mean, yeah. How did you get started? Share your story. I'm assuming there's a, A club involved somewhere. Normally. That's how everyone's Starts.
Amanda (01:32):
Yeah, definitely a Pony Club involved. So, um, my mum rode as a hobby rider and I went to Poney club and funnily enough, she, where she learned to ride, um, was actually where, um, when I was two, she started to ride again and that's where I ended up learning to ride, went Poney club. So it's a property called tooradin estate and the Pony Club was tooradin pony club and the Francis family with an amazing start. So, you know, I did riding school stuff just, um, when I was under eight years old and then I bought my pony, which, um, was, you know, the typical gray little, 11, three hand sometimes did what you wanted a lot of the time didn't really do what you wanted, but, um, you know, that's, that's a great start.
Amanda (02:17):
Um, and the pony club Tooradin was, um, really strong into eventing and also, uh, quite strong in, um, jumping equitation. So, um, my grounding in position and, um, you know, I had to ride lines properly and striding and all that kind of stuff. And the shape the horse makes over the fence. I think I was really lucky to live really early. Um, and then, you know, it was a really good party club because, you know, I had to go at showing and, you know, we all did the sort of the, um, the state dressage and state Slack teams, you know, and the tapes for stuff.
Amanda (02:56):
Yeah. Um, and you know, then state show showjumping what else. We do, um, I've got, I even did the, like the games and yeah, we really did everything and where I kept the horse at Tooradin and it was 400 acres. And so you trudge out to get your pony with the head caller and you would catch the horse. Mostly in spring, things swooped by magpies and then winter to be really wet. So you'd be climbing alongside a fence because he had to get from A to B and there was a huge big Lake of water. Um, and then you jumped on your pony with you lead rope tighted around from one side of the holter to the other and ride it back and he had to lean over and undo Gates and that sort of stuff. So, um, I think I was really fortunate to have a really well grounded beginning to not just riding, but sort of, um, horse management and really getting in there with the nitty griddy, um, of being a proper horse person, I guess.
Natasha (03:54):
Absolutely. And when, when did the seed of an Olympic start?
Amanda (04:01):
Um, you know, it's really funny. I don't remember that there was this sudden epiphany where I said I am going to the Olympics. Um, I mean, I was clearly like quite interested in competing and I, from the showing I really liked to present really well. And I was interested in training and having a good position, um, and then love the eventing. And I think if you are into eventing, you have this, you need to have an innate sense of getting the job done and not fear things or second guessing. So when something went wrong and sort of really want to get on with it. Um, and I think it was just one of these things that I just wanted to be the best at what I was doing, and it wasn't like I want to get, and then everyone else I just really wanted, just loved it. I was really internally driven.
Amanda (04:54):
I think it was like, well, you know, I just wanted to keep going, going up the ranks and getting better and better. And then all of a sudden opportunities started to open themselves to me. And, um, it's kind of being the way. So it's been, it's amazing. I don't think I'm very good at, I'm not really a hobby rider. I'm not sure that would be my thing as much as I love horses. Um, I so much enjoy, um, the whole preparation for competition and choosing horses and doing programs for them and preparing and stuff, and then getting to the actual event itself.
Natasha (05:25):
Wow. I love it. I love it. And, um, along the way, you know, you're saying, Oh, i was pushed to, to just be better than what I was doing today. I want to be better. I want to be better. Did that come out in other areas of your life? how was School? Are you an A grade student or was it only in the riding that you exhibited this? I must be better personality Part.
Amanda (05:49):
No, it's really with stuff I love it. I love it. Cool. I was the kid that drew horses, all the school books and, um, if I love doing something, I took an enormous interest in it and it had, yeah. So basically I really struggled to get my tax and my admin done because if I don't a hundred percent really understand it, it frustrates me and then I want to push it aside. But when there is something I do understand it's got to be, you know, I really liked doing it well, it's going to have a system. I want it to, you know, be neat and tidy and to do my very best. So at school, um, I was just your average kid. Um, and you know, I just got every try, I mean, past everything and went to Uni and did first year phyico ed. I really loved that, but then I've got the opportunity to go to the UK. So I ditched university went to the UK. So I think everything was always pointed towards competing and writing.
Natasha (06:45):
Yeah. And was there a conscious choice of, like you said, there was kind of maybe uni and then the opportunity came with the UK and then did you just make that choice of, I will be a competitive rider as my living and as my job.
Amanda (06:59):
Yeah. It, it, it kind of, I just love it. I just really love doing it. So whatever enabled me to do it, I migrated to, um, so I think when I went to the UK, it was because my family, um, my stepdad got to got a job over there. And so we had the opportunity to, to move there and I just grabbed it and ran with it. And I say for 18 months, I only stayed for 12 months. So I stayed for six months longer. Um, and, um, the uni stuff, I mean, I wasn't really into the uni lifestyle. I would basically use uni as a stop gap between going to the horses and then getting home again. Um, although I do really enjoy like now, which is a personal trainer and I really loved the fitness and the anatomy side and physiology. So probably if I wasn't doing the horses, I would be in some kind of a, um, an exercise physiology type of role.
Amanda (07:48):
Um, but, um, in terms of coaching, the coaching came because of me being coached so much. So I think when you are, when you are trained a lot and you learnt, um, the learning process of being a rider, then I think it's more natural to you to be able to, I mean, obviously you have to be a communicator, but it's a, it's an easy job to go into, isn't it, you know, when you're a rider to the coach. So, because I needed to earn an income, um, I took the coaching, um, and continue that all the way through to a level three now. Um, and so I'm very passionate about that too, but because I still want to compete and have a great opportunity to, I can't fully do the coaching. Cause it just, as you know, you can't do both. It's really hard to do.
Natasha (08:37):
Yeah. And do you feel that conflict, you know, like you get, when something comes up and it's, your student might be doing a competition, but you really want to do this other competition. Do you feel a conflict there?
Amanda (08:52):
Yeah, look, I, I see some coaches who, um, And particularly in the American system where, you know, people can go to the jumpy yards and their horses are fully looked after for them. They're on full degree. Um, you know, they get worked for them during the week, the rider gets to the show their horses there, the groom hands and the horse, you know, they're coached by their trainer in the warmup and, you know, the trainer is there to hold their hand and, um, I'm just not ready to be that person yet because they're still, excuse me. I still have to put so much time and mental effort into my own competitive stuff. And I think I kind of believe that you've got room for one passion and passionate about my students only I have to cut off my own stuff and I have to prioritize time with them. And unfortunately, like, you know, I wasn't ever coaching on the weekends anymore or on a Friday, because if I had someone that wanted every single Friday, you know, every second Friday, I'm like, Oh, I'm really sorry. We're going to a show on Thursday night or Friday morning. I'm not going to be here. So I ended up over promising and under delivering, which I don't want to do. So, unfortunately I think when I broke my wrist, once one of my clients said to me, you gave the best lessons when you broke your wrist, you know, fully present you a hundred percent for us. And we absolutely loved it, but we do understand that I may come down the track, but right now I can give X amount and I have wonderful clients, small bunch that I teach and I adore teaching them. Um, but yeah, it's, it's hard to do both, but yeah.
Natasha (10:30):
So it sounds like you've definitely still got this competition and this drive and this desire. Is there a plan for 2021, it plan for 24 plan for 28?
Amanda (10:43):
Well, look at the moment, we're just trying to plan for Tokyo. It's really interesting because, um, particularly having eventers it's a little bit, like if anybody's had a looked at training for a triathlon, you've got to try and fit these three sports into a seven day week. And obviously three doesn't go into seven very easily. So my, my weeks are planned, my months are planned, I look six months down the track. I look forward planning thinking, you know, this horse, Horse A, we're going to aim him for, you know, for this advantage in six months time. So we've got to go backwards and work out where we start getting him fit and what events we do, all that kind of stuff. So, um, that's been my life for years and years. It's just rotating around this, um, event is working program, excuse me. Um, and so when COVID hit and luckily with Tokyo, none of us were selected. So I think if they'd said, this is the team and you're on it and then take it over your feet. I think that would have been really devastating. Cause you've just, it's, you know, it's so close in the same spot. It's still, no one's been selected yet. So we've had to reinvent this program. And I think the one thing that keeps us really sane is that, you know, you learn when you're in all of these high performance programs that the public can say what they want. They can be like, Oh, the Olympics running, maybe the Olympics went run, you know, you don't listen to it all. Just go plan them for exactly 12 months forward from where they were. We now have to just work out new training routines depending on whether we're competing or not, you know, new training routines to prepare the horse, get going, new training routines, you know, for this, that, and the other. So, um, it's just a lot of planning, but you've got to learn. We've all had to be really flexible with it as well.
Natasha (12:33):
it's huge. It's huge. I absolutely love it. So for someone who's listening to this going, I really want to become the top in as an eventer or get to the Olympics. Do you think? Cause I know when I was young, I said, I'm going to go to the Olympics. I was, I couldn't, I was in prelim dressage. I said, I think I was 1998. And I said, I'm going to ride dressage at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. And I didn't know what, I didn't know. I just thought I had to try it on the spot and do some skipping it cant be that hard to learn that. Um, and so I'm wondering if there's people listening to this going, yeah, yeah. I'm gonna go to eventing. Can you give an example? It sounds so much work and it's sometimes when people say I want X, but they're not understanding of what X really means, like all the work and all the other things. So could you explain a little bit more of just what's involved?
Amanda (13:25):
Um, basically I'll my, my, my generic program. So seven days a week, um, horses have the Monday off because they've usually gone to a show competed on the weekends. So that's a easy, easy day to have off. Um, and then Tuesday as a flat day, Wednesday can be a showjumping day. Thursday's a fitness Workday. Then we rotate it again. When you go back to Friday being a flat day, because after they've done a Gallup day, you don't want to do anything too hard. Would it be able to support them again and then went on a flat Saturday? Sometimes I may jump show, jump again, but not necessarily. Um, depending on the experience with the horse um, how much work did on Wednesday. Cause every fortnight on Wednesday, my jumping coach comes to my place and we have a group of people. We all have lessons. Um, and then what have we got? So Sunday would be a jumpy date and Sunday there would be another fitness day. So that's generally the six days a week, one day off program. Um, as we all know, there's all sorts of management stuff. So I've got, um, I had a team of five eventer. So we take them to go and do their fitness work, which is a place 10 minutes down the road. And I'm really fortunate to have that. So as an event rider trying to find some where to, um, get your horses fit is quite a difficult process because you can't just canter them around on the flat because at the end of the day, we're trying to minimize the wear and tear from the scalloping on the leg. So if you can go up and hill increase the heart rate, but reduce the speed that you need to go at. So trying to find somewhere, I have this, my friends places beautiful, but at the moment we've had more rain in the last little while than we've had in forever. And so it's just essentially too wet. So then I go out and speak and if it's too hot or too wet, there are only going to jar up more than a police shoes off. And when three out of five horses to wear bar shoes and gell pads, that's a problem. But that is a little bit frustrating. I know having done, I've really got into show jumping the last two years and I secretly would love to at some stage convert to jumping because it's the new challenge. And I love the fact that I could have one saddle. The changes could be late and I can specify in one thing. So I know that sounds a bit funny. It's a, it's so challenging. So having to go out and do that with the event is, is, is it, is it quite time consuming? And then you've got to do a lot of stuff with them. Like I know everybody, that's got a horse, they want to manage, you know, icing their legs, looking after them like that. So after jumping days up to always have their legs iced , they stabled in winter, um, out in summer. So we've got for the moment for horses box.
Amanda (16:12):
Um, and what else do we do? They get their worked about probably when they're in work, it's about 45 minutes to an hour a day. And that involves, I'm always like to walk them out. So I'm really lucky on this property, but there's 30 acres, but all of the pathways to the Padocks are um, graveled. So I try and walk them on gravel. And if it's nice enough way that also on grass, um, and get the appropriate awareness improve because there's adventures that gotta go on everything. Um, and then, uh, what else do we do with them? We trot them up regularly. So, um, I often practice if I'm leading them, trotting them up because one of the phases in a, in a three day event is the trot up. I know it doesn't say if you don't get past the trot up, you don't get to play the game at all. I'm always checking them to soundness every single week troting them up in a straight line, putting on circle. Um, what else do we do then going to shows, um, is often a Friday, Saturday, Sunday scenario. A lot of the shows are in new South Wales, and i'm in Victoria. So there's a bit of traveling to be done. Um, then there's alot of washing. This is a lot of washing. So we have two sets of two saddles for each horse. Um, their show jumping boots , work boots. Um, they, you know, one horse might have the same bit for all three phases, which is rare. So some horses have three bridals, um, jumping saddle cloth you know, flat, saddle cloth, Rug changes the whole thing. So just the constant change of disciplines and management and keeping the yard tidy and running. We have a massive whiteboard in the tack room, as you can imagine, everyone needs the whiteboard.
Natasha (17:52):
Full on, full on, and then it sounds like you, so there's, there's the riding time of 45 minutes to an hour, six days a week, then there's the management and the travel and the washing and all that. And then it sounds like there's also a mental, like when that's all done, you're inside and you've got your calendar out and you've got the planners and who taught you about how to plan the training and, and okay, if I've got to do this competition, what does that mean in terms of how fit the horse has to be and what I have?
Amanda (18:22):
Yeah, that's a really good question. So, um, when, when I was young, I had a good friend of mine who, um, went to Heath Ryans and she did both months, six, 12 month course up there. And so when she came back and I was still at school, um, when she went, so I learned a lot from her. So I had her as my friend slash mentor guide. Um, and then I read a lot of books. So back then, you know, nothing was on the internet. It was all books. Um, and then to the UK, that was a really, really good education. So, um, I got to work in a few different yards and I went to watch badminton, um, and stay with the guy I was dating at the time his parents ran the caravan accommodation at badminton. So I got to go behind the scenes, go in the stables, see all that stuff. Um, but a lot of this stuff, to be honest with, um, through my friend Liz who stayed with Heath, I learned about interval training around the track. And I read a book by Mary, came to back Mary Thompson's of NT year. So I read from January to December, she started the horses out of the Paddock and they were woolie and prepared them for like badminton and stuff. Um, a lot of horse physiology books that have different, um, fitness sessions in them. Um, I think a lot of it was books, books written by accomplished writers and, you know, key takeaways like this is the fitness program, but you need to work this to your facilities in your horse. And if it's not feeling right, I'm using a heart rate, monitor is an awesome way to learn about your horse. And if it's not quite right, you know, don't push through it. You've got to learn to back off and read the signs and negotiate and be flexible. So, um, I then, I mean of light. So now, um, the high performance program that I'm involved with, um, uh, in the Australian equestrian to Australian to eventing team is amazing. Like, I can't tell you how, how much of an amazing group of people, um, have put enormous amount of work into the structure of this program. So during COVID, all of the team members and staff have had digital meetings and because this is totally new, it's like, what do we do with these fit eventers that are a bit older? You can't just turn them out. It's like older athletes. So any athletes, um, so we actually all had these meetings and all discussed what we were doing with the horses. Um, the vets were involved as well, and it was, it was bright because it was very transparent.
Amanda (20:50):
No one is trying to not share their information. Um, we all got together and now made our own and plan. So it's still continued to learn because we, you know, I mean, everything of all seems change. There's new ways of getting horses fit, or you get a horse that's different, has different issues compared to one you've had before. So, um, I just, I feel like a spark, which I always want to be a student. And I think that that makes it exciting and you can stay in the sport for ages because you just never stop learning.
Natasha (21:19):
Yeah. Yeah. And it seems, yeah, that passion of, I want more, I want more, I want more is the driving force that does everything for you.
Amanda (21:27):
And I just, I think I just really love it. So I found the fitness side and I found the exercise side. It's a huge interest. So it's not, it's not like work. I think that's the thing. If it doesn't feel like work to you, then you don't mind doing it. And I mean, yet none of us, I don't want to go out at 8.30, nine o'clock at night, but at the end of the day, um, you know, I'd rather be doing that than kind of sitting on my bottom or, you know, doing something I wasn't passionate about. So, you know, suck it up.
Natasha (21:54):
Exactly. And have there ever been times I know in my dressage journey, there have been lots of frustration and lots of, ah, I know, I know what it's meant to look like, but it doesn't look like these are, I know it's meant to, you know, I know I want to clean change and I think I've got the shoulder and I think I've got everything, but it's not happening. Is there any times where you've felt a real block or a real, I just don't know how to progress past this.
Amanda (22:20):
Definitely. Um, definitely. I think like I remember before Sydney, um, and I was, I was at 25 or 26. Um, it was actually before that 1998, um, I traveled to the UK as part of, there were three, three younger riders. Um, and we were, there was some extra funding. So, um, high-performance sent us to the UK for three months before the world equestrian games, which were in Rome and my horse ended up going really well. Um, and I decided when I was there, that I was, again, going to learn from everybody. I could get my hands on and, um, you know, trial, the new equipment is in the UK. They have every bit, every nose band and you can go into saddlries and there is bits of second secondhand tech. So I just had a field day. Um, and so that was really fantastic. And then my horse got travels going from England to Rome. So I got, I got, I got selected to go on the team I got there and, you know, he, I couldn't compete. And that was the first public super, super devastating thing. And I had to learn how to, you know, the hardest thing is like, is that we're not selected until the last minute? Whereas in a lot of other schools, they selected a couple of months out and they, we know before that and they try and meet the team. So the first thing I learned was that unfortunately you have to be prepared for the disappointments and it can happen to everyone sometimes it's because, you know, it was out of, out of your control sometimes it's because, you know, you didn't manage something well enough, you can say it coming. And that's all like, okay, because it's just part of, um, a part of what we do. Um, so again, there's been, there's been other things like, yeah. Trying to, um, trying to learn new movements on an event horse on the flat. Um, and you've, you've just want to kind of, I suppose, with dressage, I find that you can, you can take things very step by step and you don't have to move forward until you've got them. And, you know, listening to you talk about the change. I just, it's so funny cause I've done it. Dressage to a degree I get what your talking about.
Natasha (24:19):
You are very good. No we see you out there we are like, she's, she's, she's, she's winning. Like we need to, we need to learn off her.
Amanda (24:29):
It's funny. Cause I had this wonderful opportunity on a little eventer on who ended up, I just turned to a straight dressage horse cause it was like I was going to fall off or I was going to win. And the amount of times I was falling off out and it's another thing, how do you, how do you choose to was ahead of the time? And the risk is too strong. Um, but he also had a potential career as a dressage horse. And so I had to decide that instead of being hit and miss that maybe I should steer him to another direction. So that was another quiet, hard lesson. And although he was really difficult, like he was cold backed, he wouldn't let me get his bridle on and he's bridle off, or Plat his forelock, catch him and stuff. But I would, I was still having today because I learnt at one time, changes other grand Prix movements and they have stayed with me my entire life and I will have that horse back tomorrow. So that was quite tricky. I had another eventer who actually, my mum has now created a Tora Bora and she's now 22 or 23 and um, two Melbourne, three day events in a row. She was like coming third, going into the show, jumping at the course and she had five rails down five, you know, and that's devastating. And I don't think I could have riden her any better. I think, you know, there's horses, you'll go out there on and they'll be great jumpers and they'll try really hard to keep the rails up, but they're eventers and they're not designed just to show jump. They gallope across the country and they might've done a great job for you. Cross country had done a good test. And so it was very humbling. And I think, um, you know, you get a lesson from, from everything. Um, and the fact I'm still doing it sometimes when I talk about those things, I'm like, we're all nuts. We're really out. But um, you have to love the everyday process and learn, learn to learn, learn to appreciate the stuff that doesn't go well. Cause even though yes, it's crap at the time and you need to allow it to be cracked and you need to get that out of your system. But then there was always, there were always not just one lesson from it. There's so many lessons that you take from it. And I think that's why I'm still doing it now.
Natasha (26:30):
That is amazing. And you talking, when we're looking at dressage horses, you know, sometimes you get the wrong one, you realize that it can't do a certain thing. I can't even imagine. So when you get a young eventer, horse, you go, yep. We Can walk to our Cantor so it can do some dressage. It can go over a pole and it can, it's happy to go on the water jumps, excuse me. I don't know much about eventing, but maybe that would be, um, but then you get higher and higher and higher and then suddenly realized that, Oh, the rails come down and the show jumping or they're not very fast in the eventing or they're just got a mindset thing around the half pass or something. And so does that happen often that you you've got such high hopes when they're young and then as they progress, you're like, or they're missing just one bit in one area. That's not going to mean that they can do the top top.
Amanda (27:19):
Well, they go on sound.
Natasha (27:21):
Oh, you've got the right horse, stop,
Amanda (27:30):
Like a few, you know, those, um, those DJ, um, machines were, I don't even know what they called it, but I guess, yeah. Yeah. It's a big like doing that. And like, um, if you're a, if you're a, a more of amiter rider looking to learn and there's things that you'll like, you might forgive, some, you know, unsound as if it's manageable and you might say, I need to make sure I'm only riding four days a week riding on the best surfaces I can, any days, you know, some joint injections or, you know, some management. And so to the experience that the horse has, that's really acceptable, um, for when the horses that I'm looking at now. Um, there's two choices. I always grew up producing my own horses and that's to end. I do. I actually really enjoy producing young ones. I don't break in because I never kind of did. Like I had to, maybe let's say rebreak a few that I got from, um, English sales and they weren't quite as broken as they were. But generally speaking, um, these days, the top level of enters are really amazing athletes. These horses are incredible and they could be maybe not straight show jumpers, but they've got to be clean over it, a metre 35 to 40. So they've got to be super talented. They've got to be able to move like pretty well, like let's say, I mean, obviously not dressage well, but they've got to have clear paces. Um, they've got to have a great Cantor cause they go to jump out of it. You're trying to teach flying changes. I must say like late changes in eventing are a thing. And the problem with that is that like for example, you start jumping them and show jumping them automatically start throwing in a change. And if you're a straight show jump like, that's awesome. If it's a stride late, you like, that's still awesome. But when we then want to teach them changes, whereas trying to say to them, look, don't change like that. I know you did because you've balanced yourself as best you could, but now I want to teach you how to do it properly. And so it's a bit two steps forward one step back. So we have to be really good at training, um, training something that's necessarily good for the job. So I think as an event, you really learn actually a lot of skills on how to, how to manufacture a horse. Like I don't think I've ever got.
Amanda (29:52):
So like when you talk about now, I've, I've been super fortunate. Um, I think like about 2010, I realized that producing horses from scratch was a very long road and it was very uncertain. And if you didn't have enough of a finance to other breeds and really nice ones and wait or purchased some young ones and I've decided to get a syndicate together and that's when we bought quota Tora Bora. And that was really great. So she was reserved for, I think that 2010 world of question games. Um, so I'd say that was a successful syndicate. Um, and now I have like, I'm really fortunate to be based on a super property and the owners have gone together and with five horses. And so it's still hard, like the top level ones, but even I'm hopping on at one that's already been produced to, to sort of four star, three star level, I've still got to get my buttons sort of sinked with it and to find something that, yeah, you still got to go back and make sure that, you know, the seats in the right position and your headrest isn't too far up and the mirror is in the right place. And then, and then, you know, you do that on the flat and you get them going and then you go and Gallup cross country probably wreck a bit of what you did on the flat and then, you know, so it is, it's a really interesting process.
Natasha (31:07):
Yeah. Yeah. So is that ideal? Do you think if, if, if, if money was no object and time was no object, obviously to get them produced already, or do you think there is something to be said about doing that whole journey from the start and putting the buttons in yourself? So, you know exactly what those buttons are?
Amanda (31:28):
I would probably buy them as a, let me guess, I'd say maybe five, if i had all the money in the world, like go and choose whatever I want. Probably five, maybe six year olds, maybe a seven year old. Um, and I'd love them to be, um, nice education on the flat, like maybe sort of, you know, novice elementary level, maybe, um, like you, it doesn't have to be amazing. Anything else could show me that it can do, you know, rainback. Um, I want to say if it can kind of naturally want to do a change, um, and then if it goes out and it shows like if we can go and Jump um, and it shows really good technique, even if it's competing, it doesn't have to have jumped a metre 15 . Cause the show jump has jumped a lot bigger at a younger age and the eventers do cause that's all they do. And if it's, if it's just showing potential and it sounds, it's basically survived for five years, it's got straight legs. It's shown that it's trainable, it's gone out and done a few events and I can see what I've got. I quite like producing those, but then again, it's also, I think I would like them to be scattered across the grades a little bit. So, you know, sort of, I think in Australia too, we can only ride three in section. So I have, um, three, four star horses and that's all I can ride in the class. And I've got a nice young one coming up who won't be far off. So I can't actually in his country ride four in a section, but in the UK or overseas you can so yeah, you just got to spread them out, but the young ones are really fulfilling, I think, cause they yours and they've been yours for a long time.
Natasha (33:01):
Yeah. Yeah. That's huge. Wow. Okay. So if you were to say like when you were riding back in pony club and there was other people that you were riding with and now obviously you've gone on to doing amazing things with your career, what would you say is the secret to your success or to success based on how you see it?
Amanda (33:25):
I think, um, I learned to work smarter and not harder, but that was after I learned to work hard. So yeah, I think having a really good work ethic and also looking at the details to me, I feel that when you research being, and you're curious, I think being curious is really important. Um, and then you have to really want to put the hard yards. And so I really, there's a couple of kids that I teach whose, um, parents, um, actually run a, be a Christian center near us. And those kids are probably what are they, I've known them since I was eight and 11. And they take up their own horses at shows that feed them all at home. They do all that stuff. Mum will be having to do the office work at the show and these kids will get themselves arena and they just know how to do stuff. Um, and the other kids, I think that are going to be really successful. I don't think that having everything handed to you actually helps you. I think having like my mom was emotionally very supportive financially I had a pony And you know, I went down to ride and I got lessons and stuff, but it wasn't saddled up for me. It wasn't the best pony. Um, I had to suck it up and things didn't go well, I had to find solutions for help. So, um, the other thing, I think he's having a really good mentor, um, someone who you can ask questions and you can watch the way they train and they happy to point you in the right direction as other examples and, you know, um, being in a good environment where there's good sportsmanship, um, and you just, yeah. Yeah. And you just learn by examples yet.
Natasha (35:10):
Yeah. Beautiful. Thank you so much. So how can people get in touch with you and, um, maybe not you coaching a little bit, but not heaps of coaching, but how, how, if people want to being tapped with you or want to get your help in what, in some way, what do you do and what do you offer and how can they do that?
Amanda (35:28):
Uh, well I'm at the moment I work on a, um, Facebook, Amanda Ross eventing facebook and Instagram, and also started up a YouTube channel. Um, and the moment just working on some much bigger stuff to come from there that hopefully I can be able to keep my coaching out and then, you know, sort of do it website and have a business like that. So I can contact me that way. Um,
Natasha (35:53):
If they're, if they're really excited about that, what's the timeframe on that? When did that, what did I have to wait?
Amanda (35:59):
Oh, it's going to be, look, we're starting from scratch. I'm basically taking the contents of my question brain and dumping it at the moment. Great. I'm thinking it's going to be a few months down the track, but we, you know, already on the, on the YouTube channel, it's had some really good success with people enjoying the training videos. And um, so yeah. Give me, give me maybe you mean six months, maybe four, maybe four. I don't know. Maybe if I said you're very busy, but aren't doing it during Corona, then I'm going to run out of time. But yeah. Yeah. I don't know what we do, so yeah. Right.
Natasha (36:35):
Well, we will put all the links in the show notes of where everyone can find you on Facebook, Instagram and fabulous. Thank you so much for your time. I've had the most amazing time listening to you. And I think everyone listening and me included just, there's no secret to your amazing success. It's so much hard work. It's dedication. And I love that. Yes, it's hard work and yes, it's, it's, it's all this stuff. But I think if I was to say, would you do it all over again? What would the answer be?
Amanda (37:06):
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I love that.
Natasha (37:09):
Yeah. And I love people that have lived lives, where they've lived their passion and they've enjoyed it. Like there's, there's so many other people that are like, Oh, I'm not, didn't really enjoy the 80 years or whatever it is. So it's just really cool to rock on with, with what I love and is what I'm obsessed about. And this is what I work towards every single day. So very cool.
Amanda (37:29):
That's great. Thank you so much for having me. It's been a very inspiring conversation and I'm enjoying that. You're really inspired as well. So I think the more that, that we can involve people in and not be afraid of the hardwork, as much as I talk about it being difficult. I love what I do every day and that's, what's really important. So, you know, 15% of the time you can pay compared to the rest of it. I know I, I love working with the horses and they're such beautiful creatures, so I think we're very blessed to have them around us.
Natasha (37:58):
Absolutely. Cool. Alright, thank you. And I'll speak to you soon.

Podcast Episode 10:  Equine Dentistry with Guest Mark Burnell

In this episode Natasha speaks to one of the most interesting people you will ever meet - Mark Burnell, the superstar horse dentist! He talks about how he became a dentist, how often you need to have your horses teeth done and his journey with horses. If you'd like to know more about Mark, watch the video below which was created by 10Sport... and if you are in Australia and need a good dental technician, find out more by going to http://www.equinedental.com.au/

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):
Hello Riding Superstars!! We are here with the amazing... ooh... listen to me, I'm getting so excited! The amazing Mark Burnell. Thank you so much for your time.
Mark (00:09):
You're welcome Natasha.
Natasha (00:09):
I am so pumped and excited to be sharing this conversation with you. I've known you forever. Yes. And you need to tell me later how you have not aged. I definitely have, and you look amazing.
Mark (00:22):
Thank you.
Natasha (00:26):
Alright, so you are a horse dentist and you've been a horse dentist since I was 15 years old, but even way before then. Please tell me, how did you get into horse dentistry? How does that story look?
Mark (00:38):
I was a pony club kid like yourself and was doing my K certificate. And as part of that, I would, was interested in looking into horse dentistry. And at the time in Melbourne, there were only three people that were horse dentists. So I annoyed the guy that used to do my pony club horse. And my dad had a couple of race horses and he lived near Caulfield at Malvern. And we used to have to float our horses from where we lived down to Caulfield stables to a friend's racing stables and he'd do their teeth. And he was, um, he'd been doing it his whole life. He took over from his father in 1937.
Natasha (01:20):
Wow. And this is not a university taught course in 1937. This is just passed down.
Mark (01:26):
No, well, in 1937 they were just possibly beginning the first veterinary school in Australia.
Natasha (01:32):
Mark (01:32):
And his father had been a horse dentist for 49 years before him. So, uh, the guy who taught me Ted McLean is regarded as the best of the top 10 trainers that were training in Melbourne. He did nine of them.
Natasha (01:48):
Mark (01:49):
He did Garryowen, which is a famous horse for Voilet Murrel, and was friends with all the Murrels. Uh, they were great horsemen. And a couple of years annoying him for my K certificate project, I was at uni. I was doing...
Natasha (02:05):
What were you studying?
Mark (02:05):
Science apparently. So, uh, I was a lot of hard work, a lot of harder playing, unfortunately. And, um, I persisted with asking Ted, you know, was there any chance he would ever train someone, and then he came to me and said, look, time to retire. He wanted to finish up at 65. He'd never taught anyone. He had all these clients who relied on him and would I be interested? And I just ran it. And I was so lucky.
Natasha (02:36):
Mark (02:37):
And from there it was a long apprenticeship. And, um, it was interesting as time went on, uh, in America, in the late eighties, they started the first dentistry course in the world.
Natasha (02:49):
In Australia?
Mark (02:51):
In America. And I contacted them and went over and signed,
Natasha (02:56):
You finally became accredited all those years later?
Mark (02:59):
Well, it was a day and a half. And, uh, they had a convention after that, the first international association convention. And that was interesting. I went back the following year and I could see how things were changing in America, where they were churning out a lot of people with a piece of paper and not a great deal of competency. So the difference between a certificate of attainment versus a certificate of attendance became incredibly relevant. Around the same time back in Australia here, and in particular, the Victorian department of agriculture were reviewing the prevention of cruelty act and the Veterinary Act as they do after so many years. And in particular, they were looking at equine dentistry as part of the Veterinary Act. But there were several people earning a living, doing teeth. Some of them also gelded horses and drenched horses and did a lot of para veterinary things that weren't good.
Natasha (03:55):
Mark (03:56):
So we formed an association of people who were interested in being a professional horse dentist or equine dental technician. And it all went from there. We developed a course. I helped write the course, I got the course accredited, um, and then got the course reviewed and re accredited. And we set up the hardest dentistry course in the world.
Natasha (04:16):
That is so cool. That is such an amazing story. What you've contributed so much to that space. I just think it's amazing. So if I am 15 years old and I think I like horses, and I think I want to work with horses and maybe horse dentistry would be something, how would I do that now?
Mark (04:34):
That's a good question. Um, the thing that we look for in, um, assessing people for their potential in that, which is a difficult thing, potential's a hard thing to read.
Natasha (04:46):
Mark (04:47):
There are three criteria that we look at. One is their life experience, which includes their horse industry experience. And also their ability to do the course is the second thing. Can they afford the money and the time because it's a full time course.
Natasha (05:04):
And how long is it a year?
Mark (05:06):
About 18 months. And it's an occupational traineeship. So it's largely in a workplace environment, working for people who are expecting a professional job and you are supervised, supervised training, online learning works for some careers, but when you, when it's a practical skill, you can't learn the piano or how to play tennis or how to play pool by watching a video clip, you actually need to pick up the racket and smack the ball at some time.
Natasha (05:33):
Mark (05:33):
So, and the final thing is our ability to teach them. That's very hard to be willing to admit that you need to learn - learning is a humbling experience. So a very humble person is very easy to teach and we get these CV's and they're fantastic. I've ridden since I was six I've ridden, since I was five, four, three, I've done this. I was, I was, I was.
Natasha (05:57):
And they're probably not the best? If they are very much "I know it all. And I will handle everything"
Mark (06:03):
The cup is full. And one of the most refreshing things about what I do is the change in technology and the greater understanding, thanks to science and peer reviewed research, that things are improving all the time.
Natasha (06:18):
Yep. So it has changed how you've done horses teeth 50 years ago to now, Oh God, no, not 50 years ago because you look so young. So let's just go 20 years ago.
Mark (06:27):
35 years - we'll go halfway. The outcome's the same.
Natasha (06:32):
Yes. It's still a tooth in a jaw that hasn't changed still a horse.
Mark (06:37):
And there's a lot of a pseudo science - science fiction I call it around caring for horses teeth. The worst thing you can do is too much. It is a living structure. So the advent of power tools has created a lot of welfare issues and negative welfare outcomes for the horses. The reason we do teeth is to improve their life, improve their longevity, improve their ability to convert food into energy, improves their ability to be ridden, driven, whatever, and be comfortable with a bit - it's about improving their life. Not making it shorter or complicated.
Natasha (07:11):
Yeah, it's huge. And I remember when I was at pony club listening to your talk and you said, you know, horses correct me if I'm wrong, but they, they eat a certain way. Which means that one bit goes sharp and one bit gets worn away. And if no one in the wild, if you're a wild Brumby in the, or in the Plains of the Savannah, no dentist comes out to you. You don't live very long. Do you?
Mark (07:33):
Yeah. It's often that teeth condition does deteriorate faster than a domesticated horse. They've done studies in North America, Australia, and New Zealand where we have large herds of feral horses, donkeys and mules. They're an introduced species in all three of those continents. Yeah. Average life span. Seven or eight average number of falls 2. So depending on where they are in the wild and how good the pasture is because they are herbivores that need grass. They're not adapted to eat plants. So in the Australian Bush, when there's no grass or poor quality grass, they need cellulose. They'll eat bark, they'll eat trees, they'll eat bushes. Their teeth aren't that good.
Natasha (08:16):
Yes. Yeah. No, it's crazy. Cool. So for everyone listening, how often should they be checking their horses teeth and, and yeah, if they're a pony clubber or a dressage rider, what what's going on there? What should they be doing?
Mark (08:30):
Another good question. A good rule of thumb is a horse on largely a grass and hay diet - once a year it's routine care. So it's like caring for our own teeth.
Natasha (08:40):
Yes. Gotta do that checkup.
Mark (08:41):
If you ask your dentist, get the checkup, say at least see a dental hygienist. And our role is probably more like a dental hygienist than a dentist. We can't administer scheduled drugs. We can't carry scheduled drugs. We can't prescribe drugs. We are not a doctor - we are a technician. A high grain diet. Most of my work's on race horses and grain harder to eat than grass. Their teeth get sharper sooner and then requires more care.
Natasha (09:08):
Yeah. And so do you have any cool stories you want to share with, cause I know you've got such an amazing experience with the race horses, anything that comes to mind where you go I think this, there was this one time, this one horse or some really cool anecdote.
Mark (09:24):
Yeah. There's always a, a good story. Um, and that, that sometimes your small part in that of some great horses that have won really prestigious races and a lot of prize money in it in particular nowadays the colts they get, um, syndicated. If they win the right races for $10, $20, $30, $60 million is the dearest horse I've ever done. And just knowing - it was So You Think that was trying by Bart Cummings and going into his first Cox plate, he was a late three year old and losing his first caps. So horses are like kids, they get two sets of teeth - and just sweating on when to take his wolf teeth that and the cap so that they didn't throw his head. You can't have them throwing a head when they're going that fast and just seeing him win and knowing that he was comfortable and happy. And, yeah, that's good.
Natasha (10:21):
So why do you do what you do for the glory, for the horse, for the love of the horse? What, what drives you?
Mark (10:29):
I always was horse mad. My grandfather had a lot of horses. He had a dairy and he had horses that pulled carts to deliver milk. So he had 40 odd horses in, uh, outer suburbs of Melbourne. They would work six days a week and to see how they were kept and the diet they're on. Yeah. You hear a lot of stuff now and that's just an insight how horses can be such a great servant to man and just work and live in the most simplest of environments. So my interest in horses began there and I just liked horses a lot and enjoy working with them.
Natasha (11:06):
Yeah. My dad was a milkman back in the day and he said he, he wanted to do, he was also trying to run. And so he would teach the horse to walk along the little thing and he'd just jump out and jump in and jump in without directing the horse. And there was one court or something and he would leave the horse there and it would walk around and he would go out with all the milk and come back. And again, this bond that I'm like, cause I was like, you don't know anything about horses. You, you're not a bondy horsey person. He's like, actually. So it is, you don't have to be a gooey girl to have a connection. And to have that relationship, that working relationship with, will you figure out that this is what we're doing? And then we can go do this.
Mark (11:47):
The smartest horse in the stable was always the spare because if a horse had a shoe boil or thrown a shoe or had a sore wither and the harness couldn't go on them. The spare horse was often a very old horse often in their twenties and they would go to do round number 13 or round number six or round number 20. And they would go down the first three or four streets then drop the reins. And they knew where to stop, where to turn, where to trot, where to walk. So, uh, my grandfather, they bought a horse who it turns out, was sick and had strangles. And this is pre vaccination for strangles.
Natasha (12:23):
Wow - I can't even imagine a world like that.
Mark (12:25):
So a stable of 20 horses all got strangles. And uh, because they had to shared water trough. So it was highly a great way to spread the disease by sharing water buckets. Anyway, uh, the guys still had to deliver the milk. A man driving a ute was twice as slow as a horse and cart and a man that's because the horse and cart drove itself.
Natasha (12:50):
Yes and have that relationship. I love it. That is just so, so cool. And um, did you still ride, do you still ride?
Mark (12:58):
I'd like to ride more - I ride badly. So, um, I've got a hobby trainers license and on my well, and I'm well and truly overweight for age. So, uh, they sneak me a funny look. We just got very slowly, my horses end up quite religious as I turned to God to try and hope they slow down or whoever I don't care. And uh, but they, you know, it's just an interest and um, everyone needs an interest or a hobby and horses are a fantastic hobby.
Natasha (13:26):
Yes. And do you feel, um, have you got certain goals that you still want to see in the dentistry world? Either you personally, or with the actual institution? It sounds like you've, you know, you're so into making sure the right people get into it. Is that, is there more goals there or?
Mark (13:42):
Well the goal always was with forming the association in Australia was to get, um, legal recognition of the profession, which we have nearly got on one occasion. And that might still happen, um, to, to deliver accredited training. And that's important that, um, it is regulated and to make sure that, our members can get decent insurance. If you're paying someone they're a professional, they must have insurance. My biggest clients ask me every year, are you insured how much? And then prove it. So certificate of currency and the most, you can get to 20 million, 20 million, which for some of the horses you're doing, you're only working on them for 15, 20 minutes. That's a leg.
Natasha (14:27):
That's just whole other world isn't it? Just wouldn't even consider it.
Mark (14:30):
But your performance horses they're, you know, to find a decent one can be hundreds of thousands.
Natasha (14:36):
Yes, yes. Yeah. Yeah. So many zeros I go what's a zero, just keep adding them on that should be nothing just more zeros! Do you have anything else you want to add before we wrap this up?
Mark (14:50):
Not just, I'm probably the wrong person to ask about life as a horse dentist, because I've been very lucky and I love it.
Natasha (14:57):
So I think I, and I, I don't know if you know, I'm hugely fascinated about success and the definition of success. And I look at you and I go here's someone who just loves what he does and you can see it. I see you and you are an amazing horseman. I've watched you with my horses and I love being around you. You're so calm. And so it's just straight away you go. Ooh. Um, so yeah, you're, you are the definition of success in my eyes, so congratulations.
Mark (15:30):
Thank you very much and likewise.
Natasha (15:30):
Thanks for being here today.
Mark (15:32):
Thank you.

Podcast Episode 9:  Going To Competitions With Your Horse - Your Questions Answered

Today Natasha answers all of your questions about competition - when you should compete, what you should think about, when is the right time, what mindset should you have going into competition... and more!

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on competition by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Hello! Hello everyone! Good morning. Good afternoon. How are we doing? Let me know what the best thing that has happened to you in the last week, in the last seven nights in the last 168 hours, what's been the best thing. What are you grateful for? What are you rocking? What are you enjoying? What are you pondering what's going on? So I thought today we could talk about competition and we can, uh, focus about competition. And, um, that's like the theme of today. So everybody knows, Oh, I hope, you know, I love to compete. I'm actually feeling very unmotivated, very flat, very, very, um, down, because I don't have a competition to look forward to. Uh, that's just my makeup. That's just how I'm built. That's just how I am. I live for competition. I ride for competition. I do everything for that.
A lot of people aren't wired like that. They, they do things for a million other reasons which you should know, why do you ride and why do you train? And why do you do these things? These kinds of things. Uh, but yes, that's been taken away. So, um, and I get a lot of, um, pleasure. I love the pressure to shine at 2.03 on the 8th of October, um, in whatever weather, in whatever conditions, I just gotta bring it at 2.03. I love that pressure. And I love that. Um, expectation. A lot of other people, um, might be challenged by that pressure and that expectation that they have to perform at that time. You know, I don't care if the, if my rides for the two weeks prior to the competition has been bad. If the warmup is bad, if riding around the arena is bad, none of it matters - all that matters is what happens between those two white fences at 2.03 On the 8th of October or whatever it is.
So, um, let's, let's start your competition questions. How can I help you? How can I help you enjoy it? So you think you, I really want you to know, I start with that is not, how can I help you get 10% extra? How can I help you win? How can I help you be more successful in competition? Yes. But before we get to that, how can I help you enjoy the process? How can I help you look forward to the competition? How can I help you smile? Because that to me would be the most important thing. Would you like to win and really do amazingly well, if you, um, wanted to cry were so nervous, you couldn't breathe and hated every second of the day. I just don't get what the, that to me is not success. It's not about the external success. It's about how you get to be and how you get to experience every moment.
Okay. So I don't get nervous at comps, but when my horse starts getting nervous, I get nervous to get on him. Yeah. So if your horse is getting nervous at a new place or at a competition, firstly, is he picking up on you? And if he's not, and he's just upset and nervous, he needs you to look after him. He needs you to be his leader. He needs you to tell him everything's okay. I still remember when I took one of my first stallions to a competition and he, we didn't get them out of the float . He just was getting more and more and more agitated. And he was crashing around in there and I'm like, I gotta get on that. I gotta get on that. And, um, you know, we got him out of the float. There was like three of us hang on to him.
He was a massive 17, two and a half Stan, um, hand stallion. He was, he was everything. He was so big and so impressive. And I'm like, what am I going to do? What am I going to do? And then we had like three people hold him and saddling him and he's just snorting and spinning. And, and what's this and what's tha and snorting, and couldn't get on that. And I got on him, still people holding him. And I gave him a big pat and I said, Hey, Hey, everything's okay. I've got you. Everything's okay. And I kid you not this big 17, two and a half and half hand stallion that snorting and freaking out just went like this *sigh*.
And he was fine. As long as I had him, as long as I kept patting him and telling him, Hey, it's okay, everything's going to be okay. I've got you. Don't worry. If I tell you to go over here, it's because I've already checked it out. It's already safe. And as the competition went on in that day, the first five minutes, the next 10 minutes, the next 10 minutes and everywhere he went and I told him it was okay. And it was he relaxed more. And he went, thank God. It's it's okay. She's got me everywhere. She tells me to go. It's not safe. Not no boogeyman comes out and chases me or hates me. So that's really, and I've always taken it with me with any horse, with any competition, with any new environment I have to lead. I have to reassure. I have to be okay.
And it's not the horse's job to do all of that. It's not the horse's job to give that to me. It's my job to give that to the horse. I'm the old one. I'm the experienced one on the one saying, let's go here, but I know it's safe. So it's really, that's a first bit of mindset that you really want to get into your head is on there to look after my horse. The horse is not there to look after you or to not be nervous. So you're not nervous. There's nothing to be nervous about. There's nothing to, to, you know, the host doesn't know that, you know, we're going to go for a 77 or 55. All of that is irrelevant. This is about a partnership between you and your horse. This is about a trust between you and your horse. And this is about a relationship between you and your horse.
And yes, I want to get 77 and I want to win. And I want to do all that, but that has to come after this. Cause if I get on and my horse is a living, breathing dragon, that won't walk. That is terrified. That is snorting. That is spinning. That is off his Nana. What's the point of thinking about I have to, I have to get more impulsion and I have to get more straightness and I have to perform better. I kind of go into the ring with this. So it has to stop. That's like your foundation.
What do you consider a good basis to enter a competition? I've got to, I've always seen this written in the pony books and I've never known exactly. Is it kind of Connemara. I've got a Connemara horse, but on the other places he explodes and won't work with me at this at home.
We can do a lot, um, but not official. Cause he gets mad and I can't control him. Yeah, it's about doing it in stages. So if you horse is calm at home - locked and loaded. If your horse isn't calm at home, let's figure that out. When he's calm at home, take him to a friend's house, no pressure. You can still control the environment. If it's your friend's house, you can ask that there's not another horse on the arena or that you move that scary, witches hat or whatever it is. You can control the external environment a little bit more. If you go to someone's house that you can control, you keep doing that until you're relaxed there. Then you might go to a protocol day or a judging day or to a judge's house and not control what the arena looks like and what, what happens and keep doing that until you've got relaxation, then you can go to a competition, but not compete.
Just ride them in the warm up and see how they go. And then lastly, you can go to the competition. So everything in writing and training is steps. We can't go from three year old to grand Prix in a ride, it has to be, you know, um, Oh, like when I'm training I shoulder in, it's like, okay, I've got a horse that's three or four that doesn't do shoulder in. So I'm going to ask for his shoulder to move by one mm. You won't see it. I won't see it - will barely feel it. It's just the idea of it. But the idea of it builds to two mm, builds to three mm, builds to four mm, builds to five mm, which is now half a centimeter and maybe you will start to notice something. And suddenly when you come and see the horse in six months, you're like, Oh, it does shoulder in. Yeah. But it's been doing should in - a version of, for the last 90, 180 days. You just haven't been able to see it. If that makes sense.
Here in the U S I've noticed a lot of petty, main girl type attitude towards other riders. So many nasty comments happened during a show. I'm really strong at brushing things off, but I'm not gonna lie. My mind plays those words over and over again. Have you experienced any of these? I'm sure, but I wouldn't know. I'm sure lots of people say lots of nasty things about lots of people and I'm sure guaranteed I'd have to be one of them guaranteed. I guarantee you so many people have said so many nasty things.
I just try and create a bubble where I wouldn't know. So I like to think everyone likes everyone. Like I'm not naive, but in fantasy world and unicorn world where Tash likes to live and likes to hang out, everyone's nice to everyone. Everyone wants everyone to succeed. Everyone is helping each other up. Everyone is championing everyone. And so even if I heard that someone said something horrifically nasty about me, I would go in unicorn land. Aw, I must've misheard. I'm sure no one would say that about another human being, especially someone that's in the sport, but knows how hard it is. Knows how challenging it is and knows how much it takes to go in there. Now I get it. Okay. We're in dressage, everyone has an opinion, everyone. Um, yeah, I get all that. But if we listen to them that you're, you're allowing someone to have power to steal your joy.
And how is that ever in any realm in any way? Okay. It's not okay for someone to steal your joy. Like I said, I ride for competing. Competing is my joy. If I listened to everyone and, and the judges as well, I probably should take a screenshot of all the tests that say, please don't come back. You don't belong in this ring. Please don't enter another competition. You, you shouldn't be here. Um, the amount of negativity that has come from coaches, judges, humans, now that I've gone online people online, I can't control another human being. I can't. Um, I can't. So I can't try. So to answer your question, if you are enjoying your riding, and if you want to go to a show to test where you're at, to show where you're at to, to, to do your thing. And there's people going to have an opinion about like, and then so, so that's what you want to do, but you're not doing it because of other people.
We need to get you in a, in a space where those people don't exist. Sure. They exist, but they exist in their world. And you have to remember if someone is judging someone else, this is like proven. If someone is judging someone else it's about them, they can't possibly be triggered by you unless it's about them. Think about it. We go in our lives, we're just trotting along. And we might see someone wear a green jumper for some people on the planet. They don't even notice someone's wearing a green jumper for other people on the planet. They're like, Oh, that person looks weird. They really shouldn't wear green. That's about them. If your brain in that, there's a hook in the back of your brain called your reticular activating system, where you're getting 2 million bits of information flying at us in any single time. If you notice a green jumper, that's because a green jumper is important to you.
And the green jumper is important to you for a myriad of different things. And the person that gets offended about the green jumper or the person that gets hurt by the green jumper or the person that judges and has a nasty comment about the person with the green jumper, it's all about them. Wishing or wanting, or having an emotional reaction to a green jumper. It's not about you wearing the green jumper, because if you're wearing the green jumper, because you love green and it's your favorite jumper, or your grandma gave it to you, and you love your grandma and your rocking on doing you with a green jumper, you bloody keep doing it. Have I made any sense with an analogy of a green jumper? Or are you like, Oh, I thought we were here to learn horses. Why is she talking about clothing?
I don't care about anyone else. So what they think, but hard to get over the, what if this happens, who cares? What if what in 150 years, I'm not going to say a hundred years. That's got 150 years and 150 years from now. You don't exist unless some technology comes along. Even if they do write a book about whatever happened in this what if scenario, not many people read books, the chances of anyone knowing what if you did. Like, even if it was the worst mistake that ever happened, no one will know about it. And then you go, okay, well, no one knows about it, but I'll know about it. You tell me what has been a mistake in your life up to this point. And you don't have one. Normally when I ask this question, people go, my first husband or my first wife, but it's not a mistake because it's not possible on this planet to have only bad things. So yes, maybe you married the wrong person, or maybe you bought the wrong horse, or maybe you went to the competition that maybe you shouldn't have at that point. And that's something that was a mistake or a, what if failure? Or what if disaster, but it's not - because you learned something you grew from it, you changed from it. You developed because of it.
So do I look back on my life and, and would I have lived it differently knowing what I do now then? Yeah. Cause I'm very smart now. And actually I love that I'm very smart because I look at who I was at 18 and I laugh my head off because I'm very smart now. But 58 year old Tash is looking at me going, honey. You got nothing, you know, nothing. So be excited that you're on this journey of growth, be excited that you're on this journey of discovery. Be excited that you're on this journey of ever ending knowledge and enjoy the heck out of it. Don't let the, what if I fail? What if I make a mistake? What if I get it wrong? What if everyone laughs? What if it's a disaster? What if it goes wrong? Good. Everything in my life that has gone wrong, been a disaster shouldn't have happened, really stuffed it up, gave me something. There is no such thing. Listen to me guys. There was no such thing as there as a good or a bad thing at the end, a hundred percent good or a hundred percent bad. I adore my husband. I would marry him a million years over. I love him to death, but is our marriage and he's he all good? No, you should've seen us last night.
So, but it is our marriage. Therefore, because we had a big thing last night, which was pretty much all me. It was all him, listen, it's on the record. It was all him. It had nothing to do with me. Are you listening Phil? He like umm-hmm but does does that mean because we had a fight then our marriage is all bad and our relationship is all bad and he's a bad person. It's not, it's not, it's not good or bad. And the quicker you can understand that there are no right or wrong decisions. There's no good or bad people. There's no good or bad things. There's no right or wrong time to compete to do something. Whatever it is, the quicker you can get to joy, the quicker you can get to just rocking the quicker you can get to just experiencing learning, growing, and, and going with that.
Okay. I may have gone a little bit off topic of competition.
How to grieve a horse. Rosie. I couldn't possibly answer that for you, Rosie. If you asked me, how do I grieve for a horse? I could tell you, but that's not even going to be useful because how I do something isn't going to help you. So how do you want to grieve your horse and how do you want to get to a place? So for me, when I'm grieving, I want to get to a place where I can think of the thing that I've lost or the thing that has happened with acceptance, with joy, with remembering the good times. So if I've, you know, I've lost my father, I've lost horses, I've lost cats. It needs to get to a point like, um, where I remember, like I can look back and instead of crying my eyes out.
So let me take my dad. For example, if I look back at my, my memories with my father and my experiences with my father, there's, there's only joy and like, laughter, it's like, Oh, do you remember that time? He did this. And there's an occasional, I would say, I miss my father, when something happens that I would normally talk to him about, this happened a couple of weeks ago. And I said to Phil, Oh, I miss dad so much. Cause at that point I just would have loved to go, Oh my God, I'm what do you think? And he would have given his whole blah, blah, blah. And I would have gone, why am I talking to you about this ignore? Um, but that's just missing something that you don't get to do anymore. But I accept that I don't get to do that anymore. And I'm glad we... it's not that I'm glad we don't get to do that. But I look at the relationship with between me and my father. And as he would say, that's how it should have been. He's my father. He should be buried first. You know, I, I can find a reconciliation. He was very old. He was a very old father. Um, he was an amazing father and sure would I like him to be hanging out? Absolutely. But it's okay because that's how it goes. So I understand, like if you're talking about grieving a horse and they've been a freak accident, but I've lost horses in a freak accident, that's, that's what can happen. It's a freak accident. So Dante, we walked into the stable, he had had a massive cardiac episode and was dead in the stable. And I remember just going, wow, cause there was so much emotions.
There's the pain of is the horse ok? Was there any pain. And you know, the vet reassured it would have gone super, super quick, really not in pain. Then there's the mourning of all the things that we were going to create together. Um, we were going to go Prix St George, we were going to go Grand Prix - so the loss of the things that we were going to have. And then it's the looking back on what we did have and smiling and going. I'm so glad that we had the opportunity to do that. I'm so glad we had that memory of that. I don't know if I've helped, but I hope so. And we are so not into competition.
I am planning to get back out competing, but my new horse doesn't like arena work. So not sure how I'm going to have lessons with her and compete.
I currently work her out in the Bush. Um, have you got any ideas of how to get her to, accept to working in an arena? Uh, well, anything you do in an arena you can do in the bush, so you can do shoulder in, travers, renvers, leg yield, half pass, tempi changes, pirouettes - everything you can do out there. Um, uh, you need to work out. I would assume if you were out in the bush and you said work, like use your back connect the hind leg to the front, um, lift work hard. Um, yeah. And you worked that I think, um, uh, she would probably not be happy in the bush either. I don't believe it's the context of where you are. I believe it's it's it's the work. So again, um, if you put me in the gym and the personal trainer says a hundred burpees, I don't care if I'm doing a hundred burpees in a sunrise in Bali, on a cliff top in a mountain resort with the alps in the distance, um, in, uh, on a beach with a beautiful Palm tree.
I don't care where we're doing the a hundred burpees, the a hundred burpees are hard and I'm not happy. Does that make sense? I don't think it's about the location that you're doing. The work. I think it's about the work I've been doing the online comps due to COVID it's been super because you don't have the added pressure of another environment that is true. And it's helped me learn to understand us both as a team. So I can't wait to get out soon when comps are up and running, but certainly helps a lot being in your own environment, focusing on your own methods to love it. Awesome, Tasha. And that's where like you get to a point where the new environment, you enjoy more because I love that extra challenge of my horse, my horse doesn't want to pay attention to me. He wants to look around my horse is fired up.
I've got all this extra energy that I don't only have at home. And I can manage that. Um, I like that I love a crowded warmup arena and I go bring it. I'm going to have to be more on my game and be more aware of where every horse is. So I'm at home and I don't have to think about where other horses are. Now. I'm going to think of that with 15 other horses are. And if I want to do a circle because the horse needs a circle, but I can't do a circle. What am I going to do about that? And how am I going to adapt to that? And how am I going to manipulate like that? So I love that Tasha. Yep. You, you work on and that's what I'm saying about doing it in steps. Do it this way. Then expand the comfort zone.
Then expand the comfort zone and then this massive sphere is all within your comfort zone because you've built your way up to it.
How do you do a perfect 20 meter circle? So firstly, you need to know your maths a 20 meter circle. Let's say at B or E is two meters before like P and S. You need to know. Yeah. So you need to get out your arena. The arena letters are marked. Um, Oh, you're gonna test me here, but I'm pretty sure it's six meters then 18 meters, 18 meters, 18 meters six. Did I miss an 18 meters 18? Let me get out my calculator. 18 times three equals 54.
Oh, okay.
That doesn't work Kate. Cause now we've got six left. Okay. Clearly Tash does not know. It must be 12, 12 plus 12 plus 12 plus 12 plus six plus six. Got it. 60. Okay. I'm a grand Prix dressage rider apparently. But yes, you've got six meters. Then 12 meters, 12 meters, 12 meters, six meters. So 12 plus 12 is 24 and it's a 20 meter circle. So that means you got to go two meters in from this side and two meters in from that side. If that makes sense. So you've got to draw out your little arena, draw out your maths. And that's the biggest thing I think people make when they're learning to do a 20 meter circle. They just assume the 12 meters, either side of B & E is, um, 20 meters and it's actually 24 meters, 12 times two. So, um, yeah, you've got to cut that circle in by two meters, each side.
And then you've just got to make sure every step is a turning step. There are no straight strides in a circle. There are no straight lines in a circle. Every single step is a turn. So you've got to figure out 12.
How should I deal with a strong horse I haven't ridden before. I've competed for my university equestrian team. And each comp have ended up with a really strong horse, which I don't know. And I'm stressed out. I feel like I lose myself. How do I deal with a strong horse and how to dissociate my anxiety surrounding it? Firstly, realize you're doing a dressage test. You're not like trying to solve like cure cancer. You're not trying to get to Mars. You're not doing anything that no one has never done before or something that's really going to change humanity at a global level. So let's just take the seriousness out of it.
Shall we? That's how I deal with it. I go, nothing. I do. Even if I win an Olympic gold, like compete at the Olympics, it still doesn't change the world at a global level. It still doesn't that if I epically failed at the Olympics, does that matter? Like tell me what the wrong, what could go wrong? If I came last at the Olympics, I was there. I don't see a downside. If I went into the ring and totally mucked it up. Now of course, would I be devastated puddle on the floor? You would get a YouTube video of Epic proportions of snot and tears and Epic sadness for a second. I'd be disappointed. I'd clearly want to have done my best performance, not my worst. And I clearly would have wanted to rise to the occasion and I clearly would have wanted a little bitty gold medal, but would the world have changed?
What I've hurt anyone? Would I have? Um, like, like, yeah, what I've heard, anyone would, anything bad have happened? Would I have lost our house? Would I, would my kids die? Would my kids hate me? Nothing bad can happen. So you're a test and it goes horrifically wrong. You just got some personal disappointment, which you can get over because you've got some learnings and you'll never do that again. And you'll be bang on ready for the next Olympics or the next test or whatever it is. That's the first thing. The second thing is, um, the strong horse, a horse, can't be strong by itself. So everyone and I get it. Horses can be strong, but they're strong. Cause I go, they're strong. And so I pull back as well. You need to have like a sharp half halt. So if I push you and you push against me, do you see we're in a pushing?
You know? So if I, if this'll work, put your hands together and start pushing one with the left. What instinctively happens is then the right hand starts pushing. So now I'm pushing both really, really hard. Now, if I just have a horse, that's pushing, it just pushes it away. So if I've got a horse that pushes me, I'll just push it back and it pushes me. I'll just push it back, pushes me, push it back. I won't get into an argument of both of us just pushing, cause they'll win. There are a lot stronger. Does that make sense at all? I hope.
Do you think people should feel intimidated about not having a fancy horse and I have a little cob? Absolutely not. No. No. What does anyone, what anyone else have, um, what does that got to do with your journey and with your, you know, with, with what your doing, you've got to, again, rock on dressage cob.
I love it. You've got a rock on doing your thing. So if you're there with your cob, you believe in your cob, you're having fun with your cob, you rock on and he can appreciate the fancy horse. I saw the nicest fanciest horse yesterday. I was like, yeah, it's black, it's big, it's fancy. It's beautiful. Um, and I would probably spend the warmup going, Oh, that's so cool. But it's "so cool". It's not "that's so cool... therefore I don't deserve to be here". That's so cool. I think that horse would be... The first thing I said thought then was I think that horse would be really hard to ride. And then, um, I can't wait to learn what I need to learn on the horses that I have to have the skills to be able to ride something like that.

Podcast Episode 8: Goal Setting - Taking Action!

Today Natasha shares with you one of her favourite topics - goal setting! Even in 2020, when all of our goals from the start of the year don't look like they will happen, it's still important to keep moving forwards, set those goals and taking action!

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

All right. So I'm thinking, what should I talk about today? I was thinking I could have a little bit of a talk about why we don't take action. Okay. So does everyone get in order to be successful - even if you have dreams, even if you have the best plans, even if you knew exactly what you had to do and have all the resources to do it, if you don't do it, nothing's going to happen. And that at the end of the day is the whole thing. So if action is where the magic is, and action is where you know where the rubber hits the road. If you take action, you're going to get a result. And that's what you first got to remember. If I take action, I'm going to get a result. Now I'm not saying it's always going to be the best result. I'm not going to always say that it's going to be the winning result.
I'm not even going to say, um, you know, it's guaranteed success. No, but you will get a result. And that's a hell of a lot more important than if you don't take action. Success has never been made on your couch. Success has never been made in the absence of action. So if you know what you have to do and you're not doing it, you need to dig why. And this is where most people lie to themselves. Yeah. I'm talking to you. Me included. I lie to myself sometimes too. Sometimes I'm quite good at catching myself out now. But if you're on the couch and you know, you've set a goal to get fitter or be healthier, and you've decided an action step is to go out for a walk. So it's 5:00 PM. You're on the couch. It's raining outside and it's time for your walk. Do you take action or do you not? And if you don't take action, what do you normally say? Do you say I chose today to not follow my dreams and goals. I chose today to not, um, do what I needed to do to get a result. I chose today to stand in my own way, block my own success and stop myself from being all I could be. Is that how you talk to yourself?
I didn't think so. What do you say to yourself?
Normally what you say is I'll do it tomorrow. And when you say I'll do it tomorrow, that sounds so fine. Yeah. Okay. You'll do it tomorrow. That sounds good. You'll do it tomorrow. And you let yourself off the hook or you say I couldn't possibly because I'm going to get wet and I'm feeling a bit sick. It's a really good thing that I don't go for my walk today and you make an excuse and you're very adult and you're very grown up. And normally it's a very clever excuse and it's a very logical excuse and it's a very, um, yeah, it's, it's a plausible, excuse you, you allow yourself to get off the hook, but you haven't like, could you really sit on the couch and go, yep. Right now I'm choosing to stand in the way of my own dreams right now. I'm choosing to not take action towards being all I could be. Right now I'm making the choice to stop myself from doing what I should do.
You don't normally talk to yourself like that. Now let's say you do. Let's say you go, okay. Yup. I'm blocking myself. Yeah. I'm standing in my own way. Yes. Um, and then you'll go with the because and why? Because I don't feel like it. And I'm a grown woman. And if I don't feel like doing something, I don't have to do it. Yeah, that's true. But that's not what I was talking about. Again, you're coming with the excuse. You're coming with the reason why you are not, and the most successful people in the world just cut that off where it stands. They have that discipline that if I say, I'll do it, I'll do it. And that is a really, really huge thing to foster in a human being. If you you say that you'll do something, you'll do it. And that is one of the things like when I think about homeschooling my kids or educating my kids, reading, writing, and math is so far down on the list so far down on the list.
And you can judge me for that or have an opinion on that. I don't mind. But what's high up on our list is, say, say what you mean and mean what you say when you say you'll do something, you'll do it. That you follow through that you're committed. All those kinds of personality traits is what Phil and I think is it is our job to teach our children because no matter what they do on the planet, if they have those characteristics or those character skills, they will, they will be successful in whatever realm or decisions, you know, whatever success is defined by them. Okay. So then let's come up with another example. So let's say you've entered a horse riding competition, and let's say it's raining, or, um, you're getting nervous and you decide to not go. You got to get deep on what is that really about?
And like I said, some people are scared of success. Some people are scared of failure. Some people are scared to be seen. Some people are scared to show up. Some people are scared to be tested if they've got what it takes. You know that when you think of a superhero, who's a famous, who's your favorite superhero -