A rider has gone from rock bottom to championship success and has shared her story of rebuilding her confidence with Your Horse.

Amanda Millard and her 13-year-old gelding Flemingtown Joey were crowned winners in the riding horse championship at the Midland Association of Riding Clubs Championships last month, but their journey wasn’t plain-sailing.

Two years ago, the pair had a nasty experience hacking when Joey was chased by a loose dog. Amanda fell at speed, sustaining a hairline fracture to her pelvis and leaving her confidence shattered.

She saw competitions as a safer place to ride, but the following summer a freak accident saw Amanda involved in another serious fall.

While competing at the British Palomino Society Autumn Show, Joey fell onto his knees after treading in a hole, causing Amanda to somersault over his head and sustain spinal whiplash.

Her confidence was further damaged at an indoor event in May, when Joey was spooked and she was unseated. Then just a week later, she fell again when the pair were met by loose dogs out hacking.

“My fantastic friends got me back out hacking on Joey and I had slowly started to enjoy riding again but I fell out of love with ridden showing due to my nerves,” she said.

Amanda had qualified for the Midland Association of Riding Clubs Championships prior to her falls and said decided to compete despite being “incredibly nervous”.

“The lovely judge had a chat to me during the prize giving in the first class and gave me some advice for my second class,” she said. “Most importantly, the judge gave me the confidence to believe in myself.

“I made some changes before entering the ring, I took my spurs off and dropped my stirrups a hole, had some more Rescue Remedy and didn’t let history get the better of me.

“To my surprise, I won the riding horse class as when I stopped being terrified Joey went beautifully.”

To top off her brilliant comeback, Amada was awarded the Judges Award for overcoming her demons.

She is now preparing for some winter dressage competitions with Joey, with the aim of returning to the show ring in spring.

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