I am now a week overdue and waiting for my first child to decide to make a move. It has been 9 long months but the end is in sight – he better be worth the wait! So I sit, twiddling my thumbs and trying not to worry about giving birth. Getting anxious about it a couple of days ago my friend, Kelly, reassured me – “You’re going to be amazing! Horsey people can cope with anything.” It’s true, horsey people are pretty tough – so does riding attract tough people or does riding make you tough?

Riding has certainly been a roller coaster for me, with extreme highs and epic lows. One day, you are riding down the centreline in a spotlight to “Simply the Best” and the next day you are spitting sand out of your mouth after hitting the deck. Horses are certainly the greatest leveller.

Physically, riding is hard – although non-horsey people don’t often get that. We have all heard “Horse riding isn’t a proper sport. You just sit there and the horse does all the work.” But horsey people know differently! Riders are investing in their bodies and fitness more than ever with Pilates, running, proper physiotherapy (for their horses and themselves) becoming more commonplace. I watched a fascinating lesson recently by Russell from Centaur Biomechanics – analysing body alignment and its effects on performance (a topic for a future blog I promise). There is also the injury rate – even taking a nasty fall out of the the equation, you will still have experienced the trodden on foot, finger slammed in stiff door, bitten shoulder by hormonal mare, frozen toes…

But mental strength is needed too. Mind over matter has to be the right phrase when riding towards a massive hedge out hunting, getting on a youngster for the first time, or even just riding into a competition (see my previous blog The Hickstead Effect). But there is also the tough reality of horses generally – one day planning your year of competing, the next facing a 6 month break due to an injury in the field…



So I take this developed toughness into the birthing centre with me. But also childbirth may help my riding too… I have been reading a book about “Hypnobirthing” and it was really insightful and weirdly can be applied to riding, childbirth, almost anything really. If your mindset is in the right place, you can overcome some incredible obstacles. Picturing things going right, staying calm and seeing things as a process can be empowering. In stressful situations, remember to breath deeply. And if things go wrong, yelling at your husband can feel necessary at the time but doesn’t really help things (not in the book exactly!).

Random blog I know, blame the hormones but I’m a horsey girl; I have jumped round some tough courses  in my time (David Norlander and Lisa Kelly – I mean you!) – giving birth can’t be that hard right? I’ll have to tell you in a week or so…

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  1. Good luck with the birth of your baby Daisy. In my 24 years health visiting experience I would say that horsey girls do do a great deal better. Just a little post-natal advice, get yourself back with your horses and riding as soon as possible. Regaining your identity as a woman is the very best mental health promotion for any new mother.

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