horse riding sport fitness

Kirsty lives and breathes sport and has a true passion for triathlon. She talks to Sundried about training and motivation.

Have you always been into sport?

I was raised in the Lake District and had a very active childhood, which I am very thankful for. Cycling, horse riding, caving, climbing, hiking and swimming were my main sports. When I was old enough to join a gym, I started working out and joined classes such as circuits and Zumba. I qualified at college as GNVQ Level 3 Fitness Instructor, whilst studying two Level 3 National Diplomas in Nutrition and Anatomy and Physiology.

In my twenties, I took up skiing and completed my BASI Level 1 Alpine Ski Instructor qualification. I worked three winters in the mountains and loved every minute! In my thirties I have focussed on my horse riding; studying for my British Horse Society Level 3 Care and Level 2 Jumping and Flatwork riding. In my mid-thirties, life has seen me get back into road and trail cycling as well as competing in my first triathlon at Dorney Lake.

Sport keeps me happy and provides such a great freedom from the stresses of everyday life.

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

My 9-5 job sees me work in the City in London. My colleagues are keen triathletes and every year we take on other companies in the JLL Property Triathlon.

What’s been your favourite race to date and why?

My favourite race was last year's JLL Property Triathlon at Dorney Lake. I was the only female from our company competing amongst hundreds of people. I pushed really hard to do my colleagues proud and it was great to see them cheering me on at the finish line.

And your proudest achievement?

Competing at the TREC GB National Championship with my friend's horse Dougal, the lovely Irish Sports Horse in my picture. We qualified for the final as a partnership at our first ever event; a two-day orienteering and cross-country competition. We came Individual 6th and Team 1st!

If you ride horses you really should check out TREC, it is so challenging and really taking off in the UK.

Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?

I inhaled the biggest fly I have ever seen and had to swallow it during a critical section cycling, during competition!

How do you overcome setbacks?

Unfortunately, with great highs come great lows, that is life. When we push ourselves to the extreme in our sports, there is always the risk of injury or a fall. I have lost count the times I have come off a horse whilst learning to show jump. If you can dust yourself off and carry on that's great, but if injured we must stop, rest or modify our activities to allow our bodies to recover.

Low impact does not mean low intensity; I had an incident with a loft ladder fracturing my foot recently. I have still managed to train and with the guidance of my doctor have kept active and focussed, but with new goals during this time. I honestly think this makes you appreciate the wins and the progression more; you earn every piece of it through blood, sweat and determination.

What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?

You are not necessarily going to place in the top 3 on your first events, there is always someone out there who has put in more work than you and that is okay. It is not about the end destination but the journey along the way that truly makes you who you are. The win also feels that much better when you have started at the bottom!

What are your goals?

Currently I am training for my next triathlon. I am also training for my BASI Advanced UK Ski Instructor exams and focussing on my BHS Stage 3 cross-country horse riding. I am increasing my cycling distance each week whilst also sculpting my body through HIIT sessions. Lockdown has allowed me more time to focus on me; for which I am thankful. I have also just started yoga, which is so difficult!

Who do you take your inspiration from?

So many people! Each year I attend the Women's Health Live fitness festival in London, previously BeFit: Live, this is where I met Sundried. There are so many motivational speakers and athletes there. Aussie PT Kayla Itsines has helped get me sculpted with her Bikini Body Guide workouts (BBG), the UK's Gabby Allen's Fiit workouts are insane (you will sweat) and Gemma Atkinson on Instagram is very motivational. These ladies inspire me to get it done each day!

What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

I like that I have seen Sundried grow from that very first fitness festival in London, around the time when Sundried first launched. Sundried had clear goals and a great vision, the team were so kind and had time for everyone who came over to the stand.

I have been part of Sundried's journey and the products are affordable to everyone; fitness should be accessible to everyone regardless of upbringing or how much someone gets paid. I love that Sundried is sustainable, shows ethical values, and makes such great technical products that people want to buy.

I am currently loving the weekly socks; the patterns are bright and motivating, the fabric is soft underfoot and the technical fabric does its job very well. Bad socks can ruin a run or ride!