This is probably the hardest blog post I have had to write to date but it is equally one of the most important.
As human’s I think it is in our nature to want to do as much as we can in this life and when an opportunity presents itself to us, our natural instinct is to jump at it and grab it with both hands. Well, that is the case for me anyway.
On this date, 30th of July 2018, I am a 22 year old blogger, influencer, business owner, editor, graphic designer, publisher, girlfriend, sister, daughter, full-time mummy to Simba and Bella AND Magnolia Cup rider.
Last week, I made a decision that wasn't done so lightly and feel now after a busy three days at The Game Fair that this is the time to speak out.
Photo credit: Dominic James.
This post is in no way intended to seek attention, sympathy or justification for my decisions it purely exists to inform you all in the most clear and concise way I can. Writing this all down and putting it out there enables me to be fully honest with you all and also myself.
I think it is important to state here that In The Country is going nowhere. Do not worry, I hope that sets some of your minds at ease.
Running the magazine solo is one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced. I produced two issues last year with the help of many fabulous contributors and these issues were our first two which acted as a fantastic introduction to In The Country and the kinds of things you could expect from the magazine and from me in the future. As 2017 drew to a close, I felt that I needed to up my game for the coming year if the business was going to continue to be a success and to grow, therefor I felt that the magazine needed to be produced quarterly - four times a year.
That is all well and good in theory, it sounds great. Easily achievable, but in reality there is so much more to it than that. I am business administrator, advertising sales advisor, manager, editor social media and marketing manager and Director. I am hugely lucky to have my mother helping me on the distribution side of things and frankly if I didn’t, I am not sure how I would have managed to get the last two issues out to you all, so I am forever grateful for that.
Now, I am not trying to complain about my lot, I love what I do and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am looking forward to putting together the Autumn and Winter issues now more than ever BUT these are the facts and they’re important.
In The Country has presented me with countless, incredible opportunities that I wouldn’t have dreamt of before having set out on this whirlwind adventure. These opportunities include; The Magnolia Cup.
When I was first invited to become a rider in this annual, all-women charity horse race, I could barely contain my excitement. It sounded right up my street and virtually everyone I spoke to about it agreed, apart from my mother who was utterly horrified at the thought, as many of you mumma’s can imagine I am sure.
Right from the very beginning both my parents have been unwaveringly supportive but have always been careful to remind me not to over-commit and not to take on too much as I could risk burning out which could cause the business to suffer as a result.
Anyone who knows me well, will know I have quite a stubborn personality. Once I have my eyes set on something or my mind has been made up, there is not much that can change it. However, being stubborn only gets you so far in life.
I had always wanted to do something for charity, something that would really make a difference and this was the perfect opportunity. Many of you will have been following my progress since late April. I have been trying to share as many updates as I can and I have definitely come a huge distance from day one at Gary Moore’s but, it is all too easy to hide behind a post on social media or a smile or laugh. Pretending you’re okay is easy, the reality isn’t quite so.
Photo credit: Dominic James
My journey to becoming a jockey to date hasn’t been easy nor has it been straight-forward. Neither has any other Magnolia Cup rider however, I am me and I am not the others.
Don’t get me wrong I LOVE riding out the racehorses and I LOVE learning to ride them, I even enjoy the gym and the fitness element that comes with the challenge but I have to face facts, I am not superwoman and I am not able to do everything.
This has not been an easy decision to come to as I really do love this whole experience BUT my business has been hugely affected by this, I am not able to do my job and deliver what I promised you all. Subscriptions and single issue sales continue to flood in which is just so fantastic to see and the magazine has to remain my top priority, aside from my own health and well-being which it is safe to say has also taken a pretty big hit too.
The stress of juggling everything, being fit and race ready AND getting Autumn to print on time in addition to some undue and unnecessary stress following some aspects of my jockey journey, has all, really affected me both mentally and physically. I have held this in for weeks and it has regrettably reached a point where I cannot continue in this way any longer, something has got to give.
Stress is not something which should be ignored or shrugged off, it can have HUGE affects on a person. Those around me are noticing and I am not myself. I am not eating as much as normal, my hair is literally coming out and I am exhausted.
It takes an immense amount of courage to admit that you were wrong. That you have taken on too much and that you cannot cope. There is no shame in it, at least there certainly shouldn't be and in all honesty, I am proud that I can admit this to myself first and foremost and to you all.
Worrying about what others would say or think is no reason to continue to struggle, it will only end negatively for me and those around me. What I have achieved is huge and I will always look back on this journey with pride in both what I have achieved and the obstacles I have managed to overcome however, enough is enough.
My business and my health comes first.
My parents constantly tried to remind me not to take on too much, concerned that I had. I refused to believe them or to even hear what they were saying to me. I was adamant that I was fine, I was handling things and everything was under control. I was wrong.
Photo credit: Dominic James.
'Never be ashamed to admit you are wrong. It shows you are wise today than you were yesterday.'
'It takes guts and humility to admit mistakes, admitting we're wrong is courage not weakness.' - Rory T Bennett.
With that said, last week, I made the decision to withdraw from the race. Rest assured, this is not a decision I have made lightly. I will be watching the remaining jockeys on the day of the race and wish them all the absolute very best and of course, I will be envious. I will wish I was there, galloping and racing alongside them BUT I can't do it all. It's just taken this long and this much for me to realise it.
As I mentioned earlier, this post is in no way intended to make myself feel better about withdrawing or to justify my reasons for doing so but it is a clear statement to you, as I feel you deserve to know the reasons why.
Whilst there won't be a feature on my race experience, there will be one on the race and the experience of the final jockeys. I will be sharing a little bit more about my journey at a later date but this is enough for now.
For now, I need to focus on getting better and back to my normal-self so that I can put together the very best issue yet, ready for Autumn.
If you have taken the time to read this, thank you and I hope that you can appreciate my reasons for making the decision I have.
'When it's time to walk away from something, I walk away from it. My mind, my body, my conscience tell me that enough is enough.' -
'There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say; enough is enough.' - Lance Armstrong.
I want to thank Goodwood again for this amazing opportunity and the team at Gary Moore's for the time they have kindly dedicated to me and my training. I wish all the remaining riders the very best of luck, I will be thinking of you all come race day.
Until next time...
Lots of love,