Getting in the Christmas spirit

administrator HOYS Ambassador

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s Christmas time! This past month has been incredibly busy, and suddenly it’s the 14th of December and I still haven’t bought any Christmas presents…Ahh! I just got back from Salzburg for the third leg of the FEI Vaulting World Cup, which was amazing, so much high quality vaulting in beautiful Salzburg. Another plus is that I managed to make my way from Scotland to Munich, then get the train to Salzburg and back without getting lost – for someone lacking any sense of direction, I would class that a success!

I got to spend a couple of hours before my train to Salzburg at the magical Munich Christmas market and I thought it would be a disservice not to treat myself to some gluhwein and bratwurst – for two hours I fully embraced the Christmas spirit. It was really exciting to be in Salzburg as part of the press team and it was great to be back at a competition that I have previously competed at, only this time I was seeing it from a completely different point of view.

Are you fit for purpose?

Back at home, we are still focusing on new moves for our vaulters and continuing to work on improving our horses’ canters to try and get the most out of winter training. Whilst the horse’s fitness is imperative in any form of competition, the other really important thing we must work on is our fitness as a vaulter or as a rider. As vaulters we have specific fitness routines that we do and our shed is set up to allow for different aspects of fitness. For instance we converted a stable into bars to practice on – everything in our shed was built up over time by my dad.

With my work I am constantly all over the place travelling around so it can be easy for me to make excuses not to put so much focus on my fitness. However, there are exercises that you can do anytime, anywhere so want to share with you my “Wee Winter Workout” that I am following and that I will also use to coincide with my Christmas indulgence. Why not give it a try?

“Wee Winter Workout”

Squat jumps
Pike push-ups (Straight legs with your weight/ hips over your hands)
V-sits
Superman (Lie on the floor with your legs and arms outstretched, lift your arm and opposite leg in the air alternating arm and leg each lift)
Inch worm (stand with your legs straight and your hands on the floor, walk your hands away from your legs until you are in a press up position, hold and then walk your feet back into your hands)
Leg raises left (side plank position, lift your straight leg slowly up and down)
Leg raises right (swap sides)
Leg drops (lie on your back with your legs straight up in the air, put them down until they are hovering the floor slowly for four and then lift back up straight on one.)

Do each exercise for 30secs, break for 1 minute then do it all again. (Repeat as many times as you like.)

Expect the unexpected

I can’t believe how quickly 2016 has gone, it seems impossible to me that we are already immersed in festivities for another year. On New Year last year I was on a plane flying to Sydney, I was going out there to coach and travel and I didn’t really plan much further ahead than that. The rest of the year has been completely unexpected, I have visited places I never imagined I would get to and I have had some unforgettable moments; the HOYS week is definitely one of my highlights. Having the chance to go to Africa and Australia and experience Vaulting in different countries was also great fun and since I got home from my travels at the end of April it has continued to be a massive part of my life just in a different way. It is great to focus more on being a lunger and a coach – and still have the odd play myself.

What I am trying to say is that there is often so much emphasis on having a plan, but I think it is important to keep an open mind and take every opportunity that comes your way. I still believe in setting yourself goals to aim towards to keep you focussed and motivated and to continue to evaluate those goals. Short and long term goals are so important to keep you progressing in the right direction, no matter what sport you are in.

But it is also important to take risks; often the things that scare you the most turn out to be the best things – clichéd but true. One of the parents of two girls that I coach said something that really resonated with me: instead of a New Year’s resolution (which can be viewed quite negatively as you are giving up a bad habit) look at all of your successes from the previous year and think about what you want to achieve for the year ahead. I think this is a much more positive outlook and should hopefully fair better than my usual resolution to give up chocolate which usually only lasts an hour!

Merry Christmas

I love Christmas time with family and friends getting together and catching up. We have a Christmas competition at my club where everybody gets dressed up in Christmas jumpers and my horse will probably be transformed into a reindeer. I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year ahead.

Hannah Eccles

HOYS Ambassador