Wow, I haven’t written in this in a long time! Unfortunately I am only getting around to this because I have a broken thumb and it is one of the few things I can do. It has been over a year since I wrote in this and I am not too sure what to talk about or where to begin but I am sure I’ll come up with something.
2013 has been a different year for me in lots of ways.
Training – One of the biggest changes for me is the level of training that I did in 2013 in comparison to 2012. In 2012 I did very little that wasn’t horsey or Paralympics related. I was very eager to do my very best at Paralympics and I got totally wrapped up in doing as much as possible. I rode 6 if not 7 days a week and did a proper training session with Heike once a week which didn’t leave me a whole lot of time for anything else (but for that knows me I still made it to Ballymore for the facebook special). In lots of ways my strategy payed off but it can also be said that I became too concerned with the games and winning a medal. For 2013 I scaled back, I felt like I knew what to do get Mister Cool going and I took at least one if not two days a week of riding. I was happy that Heike had taught me really well how to get the best out Mister Cool so we only went over to Heike a handful of times to get a quick refresher course before big internationals. Instead I tried to spend more socializing and generally doing different things, I even fitted in a nice holiday to the states.
Competitions – Each year the game plan is try and fit in three big internationals, one in March/ April, Hartpury in July and the big one is August which is either Europeans, Worlds or Paralympics depending on the year. I started the year going to Deauville in March and it went really well. I managed to come 2nd in all three classes finishing in between two GB riders. On the first day I was 0.2% of the winning score with a few mistakes so I feel really enthusiastic the second day. I was delighted when I got a good score that beat the girl that won the previous day but the girl who came third came up and just passed me. The competitive spirit in me felt a bit gutted because it would have been great to beat 2 GB rider but overall it was a great competition for me. I went to Hartpury in the UK in July but I did not get one so well, Mister Cool got a big fright in the main arena and he got very tense in there so I made the call to withdraw him. Luckily he re-deemed himself at the Europeans where he was impeccably behaved. He did 3 great tests which were all 70%+ scores but unfortunately the scores were not good enough to earn me a medal, I just missed out finishing 4th on both occasions. Mister Cool did some of the his best tests so as you can imagine I was disappointed to come away without a medal but we were just in against some very strong competition and thats great to see in lots of ways too.
Media Stuff – Thanks to my success at the Paralympics I have gotten a chance to do lots of cool media stuff. It has shown me a totally different side of my sport. I scaled back a bit on the training side of things and I have filled my time doing all sorts of media stuff. After the games I got a great chance to do some promotion and one thing that was really enjoyable was visiting different schools and seeing people so enthusiastic about sport since the Olympics and Paralymics. In some small way it makes me feel that what I do and have done has an impact and the idea that I could potentially inspire someone to go on and achieve their goals is pretty rewarding.
Plans for the future – On the competition front, everything is pretty quiet until next year. I will just quietly fit in some training over the winter months to keep Mister Cool and myself going. I am hoping to try and get my HSI Level 1 done next year so maybe I can improve my teaching skills and potentially help someone improve their riding. PEI had a training day for people wanting to become para judges day not so ago which was very good and has inspired me to get my bum in action to the beginners judges training with Dressage Ireland and see where it goes too.