My life in show jumping: L5 pupil India Bussey tells about her life as a competitive show jumper

25th February 2015

"Show jumping as a sport involves a lot of travelling. Almost every weekend we are competing nationally around the country at various different venues. No show is the same; you will never jump the same course twice. This is what I like about it as you face new challenges all the time testing yourself and your horse and seeing if the long hours of training have paid off.

Unfortunately, like any other sport, you have ups and downs. One minute you are winning a big championship and the next day you could have a fence down. Horses aren’t machines and no matter what you do, if your horse isn’t performing to its best ability on that day for whatever reason, whether it’s not feeling well, unhappy or spooky, you can only do your best and you are bound to have a fence down at some point, even if it’s not your fault, it’s just one of those things.

This is why I believe that show jumping teaches you to be more mature from a younger age. I started competing affiliated when I was seven and, just like now, I had good days along with the bad days. The discipline teaches you how to deal with the good and the bad and be a good sport. You learn to be more understanding and also to accept your mistakes, but not dwell on them, work to make them better.

Training is the key to success in show jumping. I currently have five horses competing and my sister, Atiya, has four. All of these horses have to be kept fit and at the top of their game ready to compete. This means training throughout the week in preparation for competitions. As soon as we get home from school we start training, every night, working on our weak points and developing our skills. The horses have to have good stamina to be able to keep performing well throughout a competition, along with the right technique and have good ride ability. I personally love training young or naughty horses because when they start to go well and get good results, it gives you the best feeling and shows that hard work does pay off!

Show jumping is a very difficult sport in many aspects. It is physically strenuous, as although a lot of people believe that we ‘just sit there’, we have a much larger role than that. In fact we have to hold everything together, maintain a balanced rhythm to allow the horse jump. Not just that, it is also very tiring, early mornings and late nights, last week I was competing at midnight after competing all day beforehand and then didn’t get home until 1am after another day of competitions.

Ultimately, I love the sport because it’s not easy; because it’s not easy, it really shows when you have put in the hard work and it feels amazing when it does go right, and that makes it all feel worthwhile."