So after the long wait, we didn’t get the news we were hoping for from World Class this time, however this has no bearing on my ambitions and goals for the future. My team and I will be working just as hard as ever and will use everything we have learned over the past four years to continue to improve and hopefully re apply for the next cycle. The biggest challenge will be replacing the lottery funding we received in order to maintain the level of support we had, when we were hoping to up our game considerably over the next 2 years, but if my journey so far has taught me anything it is that it is the hard times that make you stronger. I think over the years I have become extremely resilient in the face of one set back after another, and I remember a talk we were given by Sally Gunnell, where she said she wasn’t the best runner as a teenager, but as she entered adult competition a lot of the better runners had disappeared, through loss of interest, injury, prioritising education, careers or relationships. Sally played the long game and worked hard making marginal gains through, diet, psychology, S&C etc which all eventually paid off for her.
I love the image below which reminds us that things are never straight forward.
I often wonder if I’ll ever be able to compete with the big names without the funding to match their horse power, as I don’t have access to the owners and sponsors etc at the moment that some have, but I believe Natasha Baker stumbled across both JP and his owner by chance and we all know how that story went, which proves that you never know what or who is around the corner. So I just have to just keep going and working as hard as I can, remaining focussed on my goals, in the hope that one day I might turn the right corner. Plus I believe that other saying about not knowing if you could have made it if you quit trying, and Mom and Dad are always telling me how trying I am.
So other than that from a riding point of view December was pretty quiet as we had already qualified for the Winter Championships, plus if you remember me saying it was a busy time for me as I celebrated my 21st Birthday. Mom and Dad paid for Sam and I to got to Paris for the weekend as my Birthday present, and we had a great time. It was just what I needed to distract me from everything else, we took in all the sights and crammed in as much as we possibly could in the time we had. We also went right to the top of the Eiffel tower at night, which was lovely to see Paris all lit up but was absolutely freezing.
When we returned home on the Sunday afternoon we were whisked almost straight off after a couple of bottles of champagne to have dinner at the Chateau Impney, but not before I opened my presents, which made me cry. Mom had sent some of Bongos tail hair off and it had been made into a plaited bracelet with a heart on, a charm for my Pandora bracelet with his hair set inside a glass resin, and a heart shaped key ring containing his hair and a little plaque with his name on. Sam bought me a 21 charm for my Pandora bracelet too, and we will be going to London to have lunch at the top of the shard to look forward too also, plus he arranged for my birthday cake to be made as Prince’s head, which tasted great.
We’ve had a fantastic Christmas and I’ve been spoiled rotten with lots of lovely presents, and I’ve enjoyed my time off work. I also treated myself to a new pair of lovely Konig boots and a new training hat, although I’m not looking forward to the breaking in as I already have a blister at the back of my knee(ouch), but as they say no pain no gain.
Anyway I would like to take the opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year, especially to all of my supporters both old an new, who I would like to thank for all their continued support as ever!