Fun fact: My background prior to being a coach was horse riding.
I grew up riding on my parents farm. I was 3 years old when I got my first pony, Miss Penny, I then went on to compete in many equestrian disciplines; dressage, eventing, showjumping and more. From age 13 I started my own horse training and grooming business and continued this for many years into my 20’s. I was always looking for the next challenge when it came to riding I loved the thrill, the adrenaline and the fast pace, so this naturally led me down the thoroughbred racing avenue and I started to ride, train and break in young racehorses at the track. At the time there wasn’t too many females training racehorses, it was a pretty male dominated industry, you had to be fit, strong and I won’t lie, you had to be pretty tough to survive as a female, but it taught me so much and I can say I loved the good and the bad looking back. I fell off a lot, that went with the job but I was young and I seemed to bounce back pretty quick and nothing much scared me so I continually got back on the horse after each set back.
Although this one crisp autumn morning in the southern highlands changed that, it was my last ride of the morning after a 4am start and only two horses left to hit the race track for training that day, I remember a little feeling in my gut that these two horses were not too well matched to train together, but being the only girl in the stables and not wanting to seem like I was not tough enough to keep up with the boys, I didn’t speak up. As we rode down the driveway together the wind started to pick up, both colts (young male horses) started playing up, kicking out at each other and feeling pretty wired up as they do in the wind. We hit the track and they started to settle a bit so we did a few steady laps to warm up and then began to increase the pace, about 6 laps in we were hitting a pretty fast pace, as we came around the third corner a big gust of wind came up and the colt next to me took fright, in his fear he kicked out at my horse, my colt launched sideways to miss being kicked, he didn’t see the track railing right in front of us until the last minute, he slammed on the brakes at the fence and I was launched over his head and the railing onto the ground head first, due to his speed he couldn’t stop and his 600kg body came flying over the fence after me, his front hoof hit me in the head and back hoof landed on my hip/lower back. I lay unconscious for I am unsure quite how long, I don’t remember any of this apart from the feeling in my gut in the stables that maybe I shouldn’t go on that. ride and the walk down the driveway to the track, I was retold the story by my riding partner at the time. He came to my rescue, and after a few minutes I regained consciousness but apparently wasn’t making to much sense to him and unsure of my location and what had just occurred.
At the time I was able to stand up, but could feel I had injured my back and head pretty severely, I probably should have been taken in an ambulance but instead my mum came and picked me up and took me straight to the hospital, I had my head CT scanned, and my back x-rayed, both came back clear at the time, but they did say I would have concussion for few weeks until the swelling on my brain eased so I should take it pretty easy. Over the next few days, I was unable to stand up or move without debilitating back pain, with mum helped get me in the car somehow and I saw a physiotherapist, who diagnosed me with 2 x bulging lumber discs. It took me about 3 months to fully recover and yes I went back to riding of course! Soon after this though I switched completely to my personal training career I had already started side by side my riding, as my Dad said to me at the time you don’t get paid enough danger money to ruin your body and you’re too young, good Dad advice.
I call this accident my lucky call, if I hadn’t had a helmet and a back protector on that day I wouldn’t be around telling you this story, I was an incredibly lucky girl.
My riding days really did shape who I am today,
I learned to be disciplined
I learned to be resilient
I learned to be patient
I learned empathy & compassion
I learned self control
I learned that dedication will get you a long way
And the biggest lesson I learned was to ALWAYS get back up and try again no matter how hard you fall.
If you missed my video this week, I am about to undergo some treatment for my ongoing back injury caused by this accident, I am going to bring you weekly updates on it all and bring you along for my journey during this 4-5 months of rehabilitation. I am excited to have finally found a solution to fix it,Part 2 I will go into detail of my injury and treatment plan.