February 2016

 One thing I'm getting used to is the unexpected! Whenever I think my body is behaving it sneaks a surprise.The same goes for horses-whenever you think they're being good they get cheeky! Thankfully I've tested clear after 3 bladder infections through December to February but the antibiotics have played havoc with my tummy:( but it really shows me how important my riding is it to me as I just want to get out,ride and compete).Ive been feeling so awful I had my bloods done to check.The worry is that sometimes the phosphate I use through my stoma doesn't come out and it can affect levels in my body.Thankfully bloods are clear and we've ruled everything else out.My local hospital were great as they let me go straight onto the ward if Im having problems-very useful if it's a weekend and will run tests straight away:) Riding has been a real mixture and my recent training at Arena UK with the paras was incredible.So much understanding for all our problems and the impact it has on us trying to compete.Dame Emma Jane Brown has helped raise our profile and I even managed an article in our local paper which detailed my challenges.Ive had great feedback at school and they've even put my article on the board as we're doing a project about following your dreams-it was suggested by my friends. I would love to talk more to people about coping with a hidden disability.I recently spoke in front of an audience at a company with mums help and detailed my journey.We actually spoke for 25 minutes between us and used some pictures to show what I do and what Im dealing with(sport and health).Sometimes you can assume people know what you're dealing with and get frustrated when in fact they just don't understand your difficulty. I've been riding and competing a couple of different ponies thanks to a good friend.Its very apparent I need help with whatever I ride as they quickly suss my lower leg weakness resulting in a refusal sometimes.Just having a stick to back my leg weakness up isn't enough.Its helpful to have mum or a friend ride with a strong leg and keep the horse tuned up.Ive managed to compete again through February and was so happy to finish second at my last show after a few blips at previous ones.Can't wait for summer as everything seems less of a challenge when it's warmer!

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