I used to joke that top boots are the dressage riders equivalent of ballet pointe slippers, so I was delighted when I discovered Celeris Bespoke boots. In my opinion, these boots are the ultimate when it comes to style, elegance and comfort. I swore off […]
Fluids, not the sexiest of topics, but you know what is definitely not sexy? Dehydration. This week, as part of my series on nutrition and ‘The other equestrian athlete’ I want to talk about an often underrated topic – Hydration. Due to the format of equestrian sports […]
These ladies have been blogging much longer than me and run brilliant sites, so it was a huge honor to receive this accolade. Thank you so much Heather, Roosa and Sophie!
About the Blogger Recognition Award:
This award is for Bloggers by Bloggers and I love the ‘pay it forward’ feel of this award. There are a few rules:
- Thank the nominating blogger.
- Respond to the nominating blogger with a link to this post on their blog.
- Write a post about the award.
- Share a story of how and why you started your blog.
- Offer at least two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
- Pass on the nomination to another 15 bloggers.
Why I started blogging:
I started my blog at the end of last year after contemplating the idea for quite some time. When the idea first entered my mind a few years ago, I had thought that I would make use of my expertise as a dietitian and blog mainly about nutrition and how this relates to the equestrian athlete. I wrote several lists about all the topics I could cover, but these never eventuated as my self doubt overpowered the spark of desire. Last year I was successful in obtaining sponsorship through a great Australia clothing company, Wilson Equestrian and to help promote their gear I wrote a monthly update/blog. In doing so I remembered how much I love writing and expressing myself in a creative manner, a far cry from the dry, factual writing that is the bread and butter of my work as a clinical dietitian. Writing these monthly updates gave me the confidence to start my passion project, aka ‘The Sand Arena Ballerina’.
What I got when I started blogging was so much more than I could ever have anticipated, I have ‘met’ a fabulous group of fellow bloggers through the Facebook group Equestrian Bloggers and from reading far and wide. It’s also facilitated connections with equestrians all across the globe – people who understand the realities of a life where horses are central.
So would I recommend blogging to others?
ABSOLUTELY! I’d also offer the following pieces of advice:
1. Write about topics that you are passionate about or that elicit a strong emotions. This will come through on the screen and will draw people in.
2. Don’t shy away from writing about a topic just because it has already been covered by another blogger as you will undoubtedly bring your own unique perspective to it.
I would now like to nominate the following blog’s for the Blogger Recognition Award for 2017:
Dead Broke Equestrian
These are some of my favourite blogs, so be sure to check them out!
At nearly 29 some people may argue that I am far too old to be wearing cute equestrian themed clothing. These people are not my friends, because honestly who needs that kind of negativity in their life? I discovered the American based company ‘One Horse […]
Daring to suck… It’s a seemingly bizarre concept that resonated deeply with me. I was listening to one of my favourite podcast’s (check it out here http://summerinnanen.com/frr-37) when I stumbled across this idea.
So what does ‘daring to suck’ actually mean? In a nutshell, it means giving something a go even if there is a possibility of not pulling it off, not getting the outcome you were after, or failing. For me, daring to suck is an action which is in direct opposition to fearing failure.
Why is this important? As someone who identifies as having perfectionistic tendencies, I can see how my fear of failure has held me back at times. Whether it be something as simple as not riding that movement that is tricky and feels super uncomfortable or not entering that competition because you might make a mistake. Looking back, I can also see that my fear of failure kept me competing at prelim/novice level for way longer than necessary. I wanted everything to be perfect when I took the step up to prelim. This is a real problem because life is not perfect, particularly when you add a horse into the mix.
Over the last two years, I feel that I have become much better at embracing imperfection. Here are some things that I feel have helped me along in this journey:
Understand why things feel uncomfortable.
For me one of the most useful things in understanding this was understanding the four stages of learning. The first stage is unconscious incompetence (that is we don’t know anything about what we cannot yet do). The second stage is conscious incompetence (we know what we can’t do). The third stage is conscious incompetence (we know the skills needed and we can use them but a high degree of concentration is required). The fourth and final stage is unconscious incompetence (we are able to apply the skills effectively with little conscious effort being required). Sure, there are times when something that is normally effortless becomes incredibly hard. But for the most part discomfort comes about when we are learning a new skill. I’ve found it particularly useful to link discomfort in my riding with the understanding that I am learning something new and growing.
Push yourself to do things which are uncomfortable, but not unsafe.
Many of you will be familiar with the concept of the ‘comfort zone’, the ‘learning zone’ and the ‘danger zone’. We have to learn to balance the need to push ourselves beyond our established skills. However, we also need to be mindful that we do not push too far and create a dangerous situation. In doing this having a coach who knows your level of skill and can push you is invaluable. Get to know what it feels like when you are working within the growth zone. For me things feel uncomfortable, challenging and requires a lot more conscious effort, but it never feels unsafe.
Don’t be afraid to try new things.
Perfection it doesn’t exist anywhere. Even less so when you bring an animal with its own thoughts and feelings into the picture. Don’t be afraid to try new things! Whether that is trying a different exercise, playing around with the timing of your aids or even seeking the input of a different coach. A few years ago, Nonie and I got to a stage where we could barely ride a 20m canter circle despite having compete successfully competed at novice and prelim. With limited access to dressage coaches in the area, we struggled along on our own for several months. Rides would frequently end up with me in tears and questioning my ability as a rider. I eventually contacted one of the local western trainers who had a good reputation. She helped Nonie and I make some changes that greatly improved our straightness, Nonie’s obedience and my confidence to lead. Her strategies worked even though they were not classical dressage.
The dressage coach that I train with now lives about 800km away, so we get her up to run clinics once every couple of months. In between clinics I am training on my own. This sometimes means that I have to use my knowledge and skills to figure things out on my own. Sometimes this means that I make mistakes or do things that don’t work. What I have learnt that it is much better to make a mistake than trying the same thing over and over and expect a different result. And generally we get things to a point where they start to improve.
So join me in embracing imperfection. I’d love to hear about a time when fear of failure has held you back and how you have dared to suck!
To read more on this topic check out my post, “I’ll be a good rider when”.
After a short break over Christmas, I went through by equestrian wardrobe and realised something truly tragic. I had nothing to wear! Well practically nothing. All of a sudden, breeches that I had owned for a few years were ready for the bin, and I […]