Mary (aka Molly) McGuckian studies Management with Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths. She competes nationally in show jumping with her horse and team mate Espresso IV.
Q. How long have you been riding for?
A. I started riding when I was only 3-years-old and horses have been a huge part of my life ever since! They’ve played a large part in making me into the person I am today.
Q. So tell us about Esspresso IV?
A. Esspresso IV (AKA Ezzy) is a Dutch warmblood and we have been team mates for five years now. At 10-years-old, Ezzy is in her prime. Show jumping is a unique sport that relies on a special relationship between a human and an animal that weighs in at three quarters of a ton. Ezzy and I have a deep bond and understanding of one another (basically she likes me… I like to think! And I like her). This bond is what allows us to be successful in a highly competitive sport. I hope by sharing my stories it will allow others to have a better understanding and be more aware of the sport I love.
Q. What does it mean to be a part of TAP?
A. I’m very excited to be a member of the TAP and to be given this opportunity of extra support from Goldsmiths SU. This extra support will make a big difference to my training regime and will mean that I have more quality time training for up and coming competitions. This will also take the pressure off my mother and the rest of the team that help to keep Ezzy in shape whilst I am studying! I’ve loved every minute here at Goldsmiths and believe that I couldn’t have chosen a better university. I’m looking forwards to sharing my achievements and goals with you all.
Q. What have you been up to recently?
A. The past month has been a little slow for Ez and I. Unfortunately, just before the Christmas break, Ez had an injury. It was a long month, with vet visits and lots of fingers crossed that she would make a quick recovery. After a few weeks and a lot box rest for Ez, I was able to get back on, gradually building her back up. From walk to trot to canter and now jumping. It was a huge concerted effort from the team and Ezzy is now back to full health. However, Ezzy’s recovery, as with any athlete, isn’t just a matter of repairing her injury. The next step for us was to build her fitness and mine back up to competition level. (Christmas saw us both eat and sleep a little too much).
Q. How is Ezzy doing now?
A. At the moment both Ez and I are in the middle of our fitness program, trying to catch up on the time we missed over the Christmas period. With this in mind Ez is back jumping and we are now moving forwards to the second half of our program where we are about to begin our training for competition. This involves a regular lesson with John Renwick our trainer. With most athletes, time off can affect their confidence and Ez and I are no exception. In the next few weeks with help from my mother (without who, none of this would be possible) and John, we aim to regain our confidence and blow off the cobwebs that grew on us over Christmas. Horses despite their size, are very sensitive creatures and competition horses like Ez are even more so. Having been injured, it is in the best interest of the horse to take recovery time slowly, ensuring that she is strong and well before beginning to compete.
Q. Does this mean you won’t be taking part in any competitions?
A. Nonetheless, I aim to begin to compete within the next few weeks. We intend to start at a slightly lower level then we were previously competing at and build it up, depending on how confident we both feel. Making sure we don’t rush. In other news, my younger horse Irish Celebration, who I had the pleasure of breeding, breaking and training from the start (and at only five she is still considered a baby) has had to take the wheel, with Ez being out of action. Iris has had a great start to her career with us, having won 4/4 British Novice (1m) classes and moving up to Discovery (1.10m) very comfortably. Iris is already a competitive horse and it would be fair to say that she is Ezzy’s understudy… I like to think. However, she has benefited from the extra time I have been able to dedicate to her. This has seen her improve greatly with her education and I am now hoping she will soon move up a competition division. With lots going on at my end, the next month looks like (fingers crossed) it will be jampacked, with training, competitions…. and I mustn’t forget, university work… With a bit of luck, the next time we talk I will have more news to report and some results to tell you about. Thanks for reading!