A few weeks back I came across Britain’s Personal Best, and straight away I knew I wanted to be involved. It brings together my love of challenges with that inspiration and motivation London 2012 encouraged. It is an opportunity, an excuse, to set yourself a personal challenge. It could be something absolutely huge that would take an awful lot of training, it could be trying something you’ve never done before for the first time, it could be learning a new skill. It doesn’t have to be sport related. The key is to join together with people from all over Great Britain to give something challenging your best shot.
I’ve spent weeks thinking about what challenge I could set myself. I asked twitter and got a few interesting suggestions. I looked into events taking place during the challenge weekend (4th to 6th October 2013) – runs, walks, cycle rides, abseils. I looked at courses. I read through my bucket list and wondered what would be a good fit. So many ideas.
Eventually I decided to enter into the spirit of the mass participation event by setting myself a real challenge. Something that I have wanted to do for a long time but haven’t been able to. Something that as challenges go would be pretty difficult. No, I’m not going to become an ironman (did you read Challenge Sophie’s blog about becoming an ironman – so inspirational!), or walk over the top of the Millennium Stadium (or whatever it’s called now), or head down to Speaker’s Corner to tell everyone that life is all about the journey.
I am going to ride a horse.
Did you laugh?
Yea, yea I know. It doesn’t sound like much. And as I write this I know it’s really not that big of a deal. No doubt you used to ride as a child, you love horses, you think they are magnificent creatures with grace and poise. But actually to me this is definitely a challenge, a very personal challenge that will involve me facing my fear of horses.
I don’t know when it started to be honest. I remember going horse riding twice as a child. I don’t know how old I was the first time (I think that’s the picture above, I’m not sure), but basically I was on the horse and then I wasn’t – I fell off, and I cried. The second time I know I was about 13 or 14, and I was on a trip with School that involved some horse riding. They say that horses play up if they know you’re afraid and mine certainly did – in short it lent forwards, bit the bum of the horse in front, and bucked. I, obviously, ended up in the dirt. I think I managed to suppress the tears this time but I hurt. And since then I have been incredibly wary of horses. Big, heavy, strong, unpredictable animals that might be stunning to look at and are incredibly hard workers, but they scare me. Even leaving a gig at Wembley Stadium and walking between the Police horses is tough. I managed to get this close on a trip to London a couple of years back, but that was far enough for me.
Now in my 30s (oh I hate hate hate that – old!!) it’s about time I manned up and sorted this one out once and for all. The longer I’ve left it the worse it’s got, and it’ll only get even worse. So in the interests of my sanity, and using Britain’s Personal Best as a pretty decent excuse to try, I’m going to book myself a single horse riding lesson with a friendly local riding school (recommendations welcome). Just one lesson – I simply want to lead the horse, touch it, get on it, ride it, and walk it. I want to stay on it without ending up in the dirt. I want it to like me. I want to like it. I’ve not actually booked anything yet but I will, consider this blog post a promise to myself, no backing out.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
So my Personal Best will be to ride a horse. What’s yours?
Get more information and sign up with your Personal Best at whatsyours.org – it would be a great thing for loads of us to get involved with.