For the past couple months I’ve been learning to horse ride at Hewshott Farm Stables in Liphook. It’s been great fun and they’ve helped me achieve 4 of my Olympic challenges (Dressage, Show Jumping, Modern Pentathlon and Eventing). Special thanks to my amazing parents for arranging the lessons, taking photos and video. I’ve now completed 39 out of my 41 Olympic challenges. Just 2 more to go (Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics), which will be completed on 25th June. I’ve been raising money for charity since the start of the challenge, currently for Get Kids Going, which is a National charity which gives disabled children and young people – up to the age of 26 yrs – the wonderful opportunity of participating in sport. Please follow the charity link to donate, any support is greatly appreciated!
We had our third horse riding session yesterday. Again, I was on Buddy, with Rhian on Blue. I had always thought that Buddy was much more obedient, but not this time round. The plan for this session was to get the horses into a canter, however with half of the lesson gone, Buddy seemed much more interested in checking himself out in the mirror and relieving himself.
Luckily, after a stern talking to from Caroline and a reluctant increase in assertiveness from me, Buddy was away. Cantering with the horses was great fun and in someways a lot easier then trotting. Rhian, also enjoyed the session, having said that she probably wouldn’t do any more sessions before yesterday, she’s now signed up to 2 more.
I’ve started the toughest of all of the Olympic challenges – learn Dressage, Show Jumping and Eventing. As I’ve mentioned a few times, I wasn’t really sure how I was going to complete these challenges – however after today’s session at the Hewshott Farm Stables (www.hewshottfarmstables.co.uk) I have some confidence that it’s possible.
Thanks to Mum for finding a local riding school close to their home, Rhian and I had our introductory horse riding lesson today. I had ‘been’ on a horse before, but not sure I’d ever really ridden one. You always here about how difficult they are to control and subsequently how dangerous horse riding can be, so I was a little apprehensive. After briefing Caroline, our coach for the day, about the challenge, we were quickly on the horses (Blue – for Rhian, Buddy – for me) and my nervousness went almost immediately and I actually felt relatively comfortable and in some sort of control.
The first part of the lesson was focused on getting to know the riding position and feeling comfortable with the reigns. We walked around with the horses for a while, maneuvering them in different directions around the pen and learning how to get the horses to start and stop. So far so good so we gave trotting a go. I honestly thought I would spend the first 2 or 3 lessons just sitting on the horse, so to be trotting along, bopping up and down 5 minutes later was pretty amazing. I was really enjoying myself and beginning to understand how this challenge could actually be achieved.
The lesson in total was just 30 minutes, but we covered loads in such a small amount of time and by the end my thighs were killing – I’m not looking forward to tomorrow morning!!
So lesson 1 down – lesson 2 booked for two weeks time, I now have a clear plan for my remaining challenges with 133 days to go!
I started 2015 in a way that sums up the new me. Instead of the usual going out on new year’s eve, we stayed in as I prepared for the Serpentine NYE 10k run. In fairness we had spent a week on the road over the festive period and we’d run out of energy come the 31st. My early night was rewarded as I bagged myself a new 10k PB of 43.51.
The first 3 months of 2015 will largely be dedicated to training for the Greater Manchester Marathon and my goal of sub-3.30, although I have found time to schedule the volleyball and rugby challenges.
So this leaves an additional 13 and certainly not the easiest of 13.
The two aquatic sports of synchronised swimming and water polo will prove a challenge. Sychro is not a male sport in the Olympics and water polo is often played at a very competitive level.
Next is basketball, there are plenty of social leagues around London so it should be just a case of finding the time to take part in one.
Boxing, well I’m not particularly looking forward to this one and decided against anything that involves me getting punched. I’ll arrange a training session at some point.
Then comes the three equestrian sports of dressage, eventing and jumping. I’m still not exactly sure how this will be achieved but some sort of course or series of private lessons is probably on the cards.
Gymnastics is another sport split into three; artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline. We have a couple of friends that are coaches so the plan will be to spend a day learning various routines. Hoping to rope in a few others as well.
Hockey in a similar way to basketball has a number of social leagues in London so it should just be a matter of time before I can find a date in 2015 to play.
Modern pentathlon is a combination of:
- Fencing (completed 23rd Aug, 2013)
- Swimming (completed 23rd Mar, 2013)
- Pistol Shooting (completed 2nd Dec, 2012)
- Cross-Country Run (completed 26th Oct, 2014)
- Show jumping
Once I’ve completed jumping as part of the equestrian sports this will be complete.
Taekwondo is available in a number of places across London but it would be good to find a proper beginners course and really get into one of the martial art disciplines.
The challenge is to learn each of the equestrian disciplines through taking lessons.