NEWS > Jumping
Posted by Corinne Wilson on 30/04/2020.

Jumping Young Rider of the Year - Emily Stirling

Name: Emily Stirling 
Age: 20
Status: Young Rider 
Years competing in jumping: This will be my ninth year competing in jumping. 

Biggest competition achievement: 
My biggest competition achievement to date would be in 2017, when I was invited to Europe to compete in a borrowed horse competition amongst another countries. I competed at “Haras De Jardy,” just outside of Paris, and although I might have not won the class, being a 17 year old over there with no family, to jump a clean round on a different horse, in a different country would have to be one of my proudest achievements to date. 

Biggest equestrian achievement: 
My biggest Equestrian achievement would most definitely be becoming the 2019 Young Rider of The Year. 2019 was a very tough year for myself with my young rider horse “Tulara Diarakato,” having colic surgery at the Aquis Champions Tour, along with my second horse sustaining a tendon injury and some hard family news. After being in the top 3 in 2018, I was very motivated to win the title in 2019. Despite some large setbacks, I was still going to give it 100% even without having an experienced horse to complete the riding sessions on. I took my $500 off the track thoroughbred to the training weekend, and tried my absolute best. Winning the title, proved to myself that hard work really does pay off, with or without a top horse, put your mind to it and you can achieve anything! 

Why did you choose the discipline of jumping?
I have always loved jumping, from a little 8 year old girl on her first pony jumping cross rails to now, something inside me has always loved this sport. When I was 12, I was lucky enough to go to shows and compete with Jess Pateman, this really opened my eyes to the bigger atmosphere of the sport, and from then I was hooked, and haven’t looked back.

If you could achieve anything you wished for in my sport, what would it be?
I am very big on setting goals, dreaming is believing and so on, I like to set little goals for my Equine business, breeding program, students and my own riding, however, the bigger picture for me is being able to start in a World Cup whilst my wonderful, supportive grandfather Geoff is here to watch me. He is the most influential person in my life, I wouldn’t be doing any of this without him, I can’t wait to achieve this goal for the both of us.

What is the biggest mental challenge to you improving faster in my sport?
By far, riding is very much a mentally challenging sport. With horses, the saying “hero to zero in a day” is 100% true and I think personally I have realised this over and over again. I have faced many tough challenges so far and I am sure have many to come, however one thing that these challenges have taught me is to not forget why we do what we do – for the love of the horse! None of this would be possible without our four legged friends, always be grateful when they survive the colic surgery, when they take us through the start and finish flags safely and when they jump their hearts out for us. Sometimes we get so caught up in winning, or so disappointed when things don’t go our way, but we have to simplify our mindset – no matter what, we love our horses and tomorrow is a new day. If we can have that mind set 90% of the time, we can bounce back quicker and find the inspiration we need to make that bounce back even better.

How do you know the difference between good advice and advice that might hinder me?
Throughout our riding careers, every single rider will find something that works for them and their horse and something that doesn’t. When I get given advice, I always give new things a try. You never try, you never know? Always be grateful for any advice you can get! Then I ask myself, "does this work for my horse and is it a benefit to what I am trying to achieve"? From there we can make a judgement on whether to take this advice on board or perhaps keep it noted but not necessarily use it.

How do you know when you’re doing too much?
This is one I would like to say I have mastered over the past few years. Some people may not know but in 2015 I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome linked to a Cyst on my brain. It has taken me years to understand my condition and learn to not over do it, because otherwise my health pays the price. Some days I would feel really good and do too much like ride that one extra horse or do that extra job I shouldn’t have, then the following day I would be extremely sick and fatigued. As riders, we can’t afford to bite off more than we can chew, otherwise how can we expect to be riding/coaching/performing at our best? For me, I have a system in place that works for me specifically; at shows I always make sure I have water at the ring ready for when I come out, and have a rest before and after rounds. At home I make sure I am not coaching more then 10 lessons per day, that is more than enough talking for one day. Riding wise, I balance it out with 4-5 horses in work, I am fortunate to have some really trustworthy students and staff that help out at the stables every day and can work my horses if I need a rest.

What would you change tomorrow to make yourself better than today?
I wouldn’t change a thing, except for perhaps to give myself some extra credit when needed, we all have our own journeys and challenges, I’ve come so far from the little girl jumping cross rails with lots more to go! Tomorrow is a new day with a different purpose and new lessons to be learnt. Without the hard days, I wouldn’t be as strong as I am now. This sport is teaching me so much, and so many values along the way, I can’t wait to keep learning.


Emily Stirling

Emily Stirling

Emily Stirling

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