Young Norfolk Sports Academy: India Bussey making great strides

India on Ocelot II at Horse of the Year Show 2016 Picture: Submitted

India on Ocelot II at Horse of the Year Show 2016 Picture: Submitted - Credit: Submitted

Our first update from the Young Norfolk Sports Academy for the current academic year comes from show jumper India Bussey. The Norwich School pupil is a member of Norfolk Show Jumping Club and made her debut at the prestigious Horse of the Year Show at Birmingham's NEC Arena last month.

India Bussey coming fourth in the Pony Newcomers Championship at Horse of the Year Show 2016. Pictur

India Bussey coming fourth in the Pony Newcomers Championship at Horse of the Year Show 2016. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Submitted

I, along with thousands of other children, had always dreamt of competing at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) – known as 'the World's Most Famous Horse Show'.

It is such an iconic venue, and the atmosphere is unmatched, no wonder it's a goal for so many. But, as discussed at our last YNSA meeting – Goal Setting – it is not enough just to have a goal, you have to have the motive, structure and mind-set to achieve it.

You have to be working harder than everyone else, wanting it more and doing extra all the time. And if you are not, how can you expect to do well?

But of course, especially in equestrian sports, you have several ups and downs.

Working with horses is not easy, and takes so much dedication; you are not just taking care of one athlete, but two! You have to develop a partnership with an animal which speaks a different language and has a mind of its own, and that can be tough, mentally and physically. The hashtag #twohearts – used on social media through the Olympic equestrian events this summer – was a super way of expressing this; you and your horse, team-mates. The psychology lectures through the YNSA have really benefited my mindset: how to work through difficulty, learn from mistakes and build on disappointments.

However, my HOYS debut was an incredible experience and one of the most amazing feelings for me; it's the highs which make the lows more bearable. Walking through the famous purple curtains for the first time and to come out jumping a double clear to come fourth with the pony Ranchwood Latte really was a dream come true!

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For me, it is these experiences – HOYS and the Europeans etc – which motivate me to work harder and keep improving as a rider, because this is what I want to do. This year for me has consisted of some incredible highs, but also some heart-breaking disappointments as well, recently losing my newest member of the team, Silver.

It is here I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my journey so far. The YNSA has been a huge help to be able to talk to other athletes facing similar challenges, and the support team at home, Wodehouse Stud, my parents, my sponsors and owners, without which none of this would be possible.

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Now in its third year, the Young Norfolk Sports Association (YNSA) is partnering with the Norfolk Sports Academy to provide support for Norfolk's elite athletes.

Richard Sims, head of the YNSA, said: 'This new partnership will allow both parties to share resources and therefore offer a wider programme of support to the young athletes.'

The programme is evolving each year to provide the best support possible with top professionals helping to run the workshops and lectures. This year has seen three new athletes join the YNSA: discus thrower Oliver Massingham, kayak racer Timothy Dowden and flat water kayak racer Samuel Drane.

For more information on the athletes visit ynsa.org.uk.

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