If you’ve ever wondered what the motivation behind getting up at 5.15am is, then Maddy O’Meara (pictured) has the answer – if you expect your horse to be fit then you should be fit too.
This mindset has led to an exciting new venture for Maddy who, after taking part in a six week bootcamp course at 5.15am before riding out every morning and completing her duties as head girl and first international travelling person to trainer Andrew Balding, felt fitter and stronger. In turn she has felt more accomplished in her role and with the help of Racing Welfare and the NTF, she is now undertaking her personal training qualifications to bring this fitness regime to her colleagues at Kingsclere.
When the first lockdown of 2020 was enforced due to the coronavirus pandemic, Maddy continued the workouts for herself and a couple of colleagues at Park House Stables. Showcasing their workout achievements on Instagram led to her friend suggesting she create a series called ‘Fit to Ride’ and this led to her foray into the fitness world.
With funding from the NTF’s Charitable Trust through Racing Welfare’s Careers Advice & Training Service, she is now undertaking her level 2 and 3 qualifications in personal training alongside a level 4 in nutrition. Maddy says:
“Anna Lisa Balding suggested getting in touch with Racing Welfare and from the word go they sounded really interested in it. I applied for a grant through the Careers Advice & Training Service so I could do my personal training qualification, as I want to be able to provide a service for work riders to ensure that they are fit enough to do their job on a daily basis and on their return from injury. It will help mental health as well, if you’re having a rubbish day and you just do a twenty minute run or twenty minute HIT workout you feel positive and energised. You just have to make yourself do it.”
“The lockdown happened and I carried on leading the bootcamp. I used to write it all out the night before from the video recordings and then we did it before work, me and a couple of others – outside and all socially distanced. I thought “actually this is something I’m really passionate about” and I believe also that if you expect your horse to be fit you should be fit too. So it all kind of stemmed from there.
“There were five of us doing it from the yard in the end but since it has all been shut down again we can’t do group things. I’ve helped people out with little workout ideas but obviously I’m not fully qualified yet – I can only tell them what I’ve done rather than give them specific programmes.”
The tangible passion and devotion to improve her own health and wellbeing as well as that of her peers is driving Maddy, who played a key role in the success of 2,000 Guineas winner Kameko, to focus on the staff at Kingsclere with a view to expanding into other yards. It has also been very well received by Anna Lisa Balding who says:
“Maddy is an exceptional member of staff, she is racing through and through and we think this is a great opportunity for her to broaden her skills and also help other people alongside her to achieve. I think everyone realises that fitness is key to riding and naturally in the jobs that they’re in they get injuries and I think getting back from an injury as soon as possible is so important. With Maddy being so encouraging and so supportive, everyone is seeing the whole exercise and recovery in a very different light.
“It’s not just about the physical but also the mental improvement especially during Covid, they are having a lot of restrictions put on them the whole time, the more we can encourage them to be outdoors running the better. We are doing a sponsored run for Racing Welfare and I think the more mentally fit everyone can be, the better as well.”