Two and a half years ago I nearly gave up my business. It felt like it was failing. I was financially screwed and owed money from 6 months previous. I didn’t know what to do. It was at that point I got a coach. The best investment I’ve ever made…

The point that you feel like giving up, is the point you should take serious action. Because it’s generally when the epic things will happen. Some of the biggest, most successful brands had such humble beginnings and learnt the hard way along the way.

I’d love to introduce you to Paige, a lovely rider I’ve been following for years now. She also has an ex-racehorse, who’s progress I’ve followed over the years. Back in my journalist days I interviewed her for an ex-racehorse feature and I can’t even express how much that partnership has come on since then. She is now an inspiration. Not only to ex-racehorse owners but everyone across the board.

She is proof that if you’re determined enough and can get some support, ANYTHING is possible. Here’s her story…

LET’S GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING…

“5 years ago I was gifted Jive Master for my birthday. I had wanted a horse for a few years but never thought it possible. Immediately I had a huge challenge ahead of me! I had never ridden or even looked after a horse & here I was stood looking at my very own. A freshly retired racehorse none the less!

With a bad tendon injury finishing his career, I made the wise decision to turn him away for a few months. As I began to start riding him, I was terrified. We bought a second horse to keep Jive Master company & to “babysit” us out hacking. I would canter in behind the other horse in tears.

I felt out of control & that I was going too fast. He would do these bucks that were more like handstands because I was holding him back.

We went for a solo hack one day & it was going perfect. I thought ‘progress, at last!’ But when I made the turn for home he bolted with me. Struggling to stop & become more terrified with every minute we headed towards an elderly lady.

Luckily she was horsey, began waving her arms & stood her ground to make him stop. I immediately jumped off before he’d even stopped. I walked him home in tears. It took a good 4 months before I even considered getting back on.

One day we took a trip to a local show, where I was watching small children trotting around a 50cm course. I remember making the comment that “I wish I could do that.” I contemplated that I wasn’t good enough for my boy. I felt I was letting him down & that maybe it was best I let somebody else have him, somebody that was more capable.

But then I realised, no, I have the one thing I wanted! I had a horse. If I wanted to make it a success, I had to stop being a wimp! I decided it was time I got back on & for a good year we just hacked about.

Around two years in to our partnership I decided I wanted to branch out, to try & achieve what I had seen those kids doing. So I started to take him jumping, just tiny stuff. The result was awful!!

I had no idea what I was doing & he only knew how to go flat out over a hurdle. He started refusing fences, throwing in handstands, pulling stops & I spent a lot more time on the floor than I did on board! 

There came a day when I saw him in his stable & knew something was up, I got the vet out & after taking a good look at him they concluded that it looked like kidney failure. I was terrified I was losing him. A week later & after many blood tests, he was given the all clear. He still wasn’t himself, so we decided to start from scratch & scope for ulcers only to discover he had grade 4.

WHEN IT ALL STARTS TO COME TOGETHER

Following treatment, he seemed to improve in himself but the bucking was definitely just down to character. We picked up where we left of & I kept taking him out showjumping.

We began to improve each time out, it was still messy but there was improvement. Then one day we jumped clear around 90cm only to find out we won! That horse who I couldn’t get over a single 60cm fence just won we my very first red ribbon. 

Then I decided I needed a new challenge & we got the bug to go eventing. 18 months ago I came across a trainer whilst at RoR camp, Ian Wright, I have no idea what he saw in Pads & me! But he assures me he saw something that made him want to help us. Little did I know that it was a partnership that was going to be a crucial part in my career development as a rider. Together the three of us worked extremely hard to develop Pads as an eventer & me as a rider, with great success.

In 2018 we made the trip to the British Showjumping nationals at Stoneleigh, after a rocky start on the first day with a few thirds, my boy did me proud & went on to be crowned National Champion in the RoR club league. He’d just won me my first sash! I was so proud. Then twelve days later we headed to Aintree for the RoR Nationals & he did it again, National Champ in the 90cm. 

Soon after we began our eventing career, we started to lower the dressage score. He’s producing runs & holding his own to finish just outside placing, in amongst some top riders and horse in the BE100 sections. We also went affiliated for British Showjumping & this year qualified for the bigger class at the National Championships.

We made the trip again, my only intention was to jump the best rounds we could & as long as he tried I would be proud. So we squeezed in a few sessions with Ian in the week leading up to the champs & I felt we were as ready as possible. 

We jumped clear in the first round & were fourth to go in the jump off. A very quick time was set by the horse before us & I knew I had to make a choice, do I go for it or just go clear. As I entered the ring I made my choice, I set the pace, I took the tight turns & he jumped his socks of to hit the top of the leader board. To my amazement, that’s where he stayed and was crowned RoR Bronze League Champion!!

MY BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FROM THE PAST 4 YEARS

We now go back to eventing & prepare to contend the RoR Grassroots BE100 championship, followed then by a run at BE Novice. We have some big goals for next season; the RoR IN at Gatcombe & a run at CCI 2*S but I have every faith we can achieve them, just look how far we’ve come so far.!

In just 4 years of riding I’ve achieved a fair bit, but I’ve always been dedicated to my goals. I’ve had many dreams of the years & slowly I began to achieve them and dream bigger each time. On my journey I have found that without a clear plan my dreams are just that. But with a plan in place they become goals & goals are achievable.

Have the right people behind you, people that want to be part of your success & don’t even give up. It gets tough, & it would be easy to just walk away but the satisfaction of keeping going & achieving what you set out to achieve is extremely rewarding. Don’t ever think your dreams are too big because if I’d have done that I wouldn’t have achieve half of what I have now. 

A huge thank your to Paige for sharing her journey so honestly. I have been in admiration of her now for years as she has overcome these battles, to the great success of both her, and her lovely horse.

So if you’re struggling, feel like it’s all going wrong, remember these key pointers;

  • Set goals
  • Make a plan
  • Get support
  • Work with someone who can help and hold you accountable
  • Check in with those goals EVERY day
  • Have the belief that you really CAN achieve this.

You can do it. I have absolute faith.