Month: November 2017

Equine Ambition – November Blog Hop

Equine Ambition – November Blog Hop

When I think ambition, I am almost instantly transported back to my Grade 11 English class and Shakespeare’s Macbeth. I loved English, Macbeth not so much but I was very excited when the November Blog Hop topic was revealed as Ambition. The evolution of my ambition […]

How we talk to each other online

How we talk to each other online

A couple of months ago I joined some Facebook equestrian groups. They are a great way of sharing knowledge and ideas as well as having a little fun.  But, and this is a big but, I’ve recently noticed a concerning trend – the way that […]

Vale Gillian Rolton OAM

Vale Gillian Rolton OAM

In Australian households the name Gillian Rolton is synonymous with eventing. Perhaps best know for her two team gold Olympic medals in eventing on her horse Peppermint Grove, Gillian was an institution in the Australian equestrian community. It was with great sadness that we learnt yesterday of her passing after a two year battle with endometrial cancer at just 61. Unsurprisingly the tributes have been flowing thick and fast.

Prior to entering the world of eventing Gillian had a successful career in the show ring. In fact she competed in what is considered by some the height of show horse competitions – the Garyowen Equestrienne Turnout class. By the age of 21 she had started her Eventing career proper.

Like many of us Gillian wasn’t in a position to spend a lot of money on a horse for herself. She purchase her first eventer Saville Row for just $200 as a weanling. She broke him in herself and at their first competition, the Royal Adelaide, won Champion Lady Rider. Soon after they began to pursue Eventing. They progressed through the grades quickly, but sadly at the final selection event (Melbourne) for the 1984 Olympics, Saville Row blew a tendon which ended his career.

Despite this Gillian experienced remarkable success during her time as an eventer. She was the first Australian female to medal at an Olympic Games in an Equestrian Sport and was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. But perhaps one of the most iconic moments in Gillian Roltons career was completing the cross country in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics after falling off and breaking her collar bone and ribs to help secure gold for her team.

Gillian made numerous contributions to the sport out of the saddle, including serving on the Grand Jury at the 2012 Olympics and judging at numerous CIC*** and CIC**** both in Australia and Internationally. Additionally, Gillian played an integral role in establishing the Adelaide International Three Day Event.

Gillian’s passion for the equestrian sport was evident and her presence will be sorely missed.

If you would like to learn more about Gillian Rolton’s incredible story I can not recommend her memior ‘Free Rein’ highly enough.

John Maclean – A story of perseverence

John Maclean – A story of perseverence

In 1988 John Maclean was a semi professional football player in training for a triathalon when he was hit by an 8 tonne truck and paralysed. As an incomplete paraplegic John was determined to walk again. After much battling and hard work, he realised that […]

Book Review – Loxwood

Book Review – Loxwood

Over the last week, I have devoured the Loxwood series by Grace Wilkinson. Some of you may already know about how much I love to get comfortable and dive into a good equestrian read and the Loxwood series certainly fits the bill. The Loxwood series, set […]

My values as an equestrian

My values as an equestrian

I recently listened to the #HorseHour podcast ‘Train your brain’ episode. In this episode host Amy Frost talked to performance coach Jenni Winter about how we can harness our brains to maximise performance with our horses. During this conversation, Jenni discussed the importance of our personal values and how this influences our goals. It got me wondering about my personal values when it comes to horses and riding.

After a bit of reflection here is what I came up with.

Value 1 – My relationship with my horse

This is probably a bit of a no brainer, most riders are drawn to the sport due to a deep love and fascination with these animals. Importantly riding is literally nothing without a horse. Therefore to my mind the relationship that I have with my horses is the most important aspect of riding.

However, it hasn’t always been this way for me. Over the past few years I have taken a number of steps to build the relationship with my mare. Mostly this has meant slowing down and spending more time with her outside of the dressage arena. From taking the extra time to scratch Nonie’s favourite spots (in front of her withers), to taking a relaxing stroll around the property bareback. This in turn has helped to build our confidence in each other.

Andrea and Nonie
PC: Sweet Fields Photography

Value 2 – Confidence

My second value is confidence. When I consider myself as a rider confidence would probably not be the first word I use to describe myself. Cautious would be more like it. However, over the last few years my confidence in my abilities as a rider and in my relationship with my mare has flourished. As I mentioned earlier this increased confidence in myself and my mare has enabled us to enjoy time outside of the confines of the dressage arena and increased the element of fun. Galloping along the beach, riding bareback

 

are things that I have not been able to do with until a few years ago. I am now at the stage where I am able to laugh at Nonie when she spooks at something silly like a patch of dead grass.

Value 3 – Learning and Progress

Now don’t get me wrong I enjoy a win as much as anyone else, but I’m not about to let the outcome of a competition determine my success. There are too many factors outside of my control. What is far more important to me is learning about horses and this sport and progressing. If I can look back at where I was a year, a month or even a week ago and see that I have made progress forward then that gives me a sense of pride.

If you follow me on social media (@eqballerina or @the_sand_arena_ballerina) you will likely have seen me use #progressnotperfection. When we are chasing perfection we are afraid of mistakes. When we instead seek progress we are able to view mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow.

Andrea's second ride on Nonie
My second ride on Nonie back in 2010
Nonie and Andrea Progress
Trot work during our medium debut. PC: Jordan Wicks Photography

What do you value when it comes to riding?