Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Q&A with Diary of a Wimpy Eventer & Allstar Academy pupil, Victoria Brant!


Earlier this year, we all tuned into Horse & Country TV to enjoy the second series of the Blue Chip Allstar Academy! The first series provided some great viewing, enjoying watching the riders and horses being put through their paces both under saddle and on the ground...

Just before the series kicked off, we were lucky enough to catch up with Tina Wallace who was about to feature on the show with her horse, Banksy. But also starring on the show was Victoria Brant, who most of you will know from her ever popular Facebook page and blog, Diary of a Wimpy Eventer.

I started following Victoria on Facebook long before the show, and always enjoyed reading her updates. One thing that always struck me about her was her get up and go, positive outlook on pretty much everything... Since the show, Victoria has been able to leave her marketing 9-5 job, setting up on her own as a consultant, as well as launching her own books prior to the show!!

I felt Victoria was someone that most people could complete relate to - I'm a bit of a wimpy eventer myself, always on the hunt for a pair of brave pants that will fit... I also work in marketing, and have often pondered how & when you know you have the support to get up and turn your 9-5 employment into your own business. I also try to always keep my blog content very real to who I am, being honest and genuine in my posts which is something that I think Victoria has stayed true to throughout her impressive recent growth.

So sit back, grab a cuppa and enjoy our quick catch up with the fantastically positive, Victoria Brant!!

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Horses. What got you into them? Pat & you make a great partnership and clearly respect and love each other - how do you make that work?

I had a friend whose parents paid for her to have lessons at the local riding school and at 6 years old I convinced my Mum and Dad it was of the upmost importance that I went along too!! I haven’t come from a horsey or wealthy background.  We could only afford every other week at £6.50 a day and then I would work for a ride the rest of the time. But this bred something into me that has never left, you don’t get anything unless your nails are filthy and your knuckles are raw.  And that goes for horses too.  You only ever get out what you put in.  I work hard to make sure he has everything he needs and that I don’t ever lose my patience with him. Care and respect are what builds a relationship with any horse.


What is it about eventing that makes you keep going? You admit that you are a wimp (like me!), so why not settle for a discipline that's less nerve-wracking?

If I’m brutally honest, whilst I love the training involved in eventing, I actually don’t like taking part!!! I’m still at breaking point with my nerves every single time.  I keep going because of all the people I know it helps when I get another one under my belt.  And yes, it has got easier every time but it doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Pat and I spent 3 years doing dressage, I got stale and so did he – he let me know it was time for a change and he LOVES the variety!!

What top tips would you give to all the other wimps out there? (This question came from your post about admitting to why you hadn't run XC at the higher level) & how should us wimps tackle our feelings/emotions during training and competition days?

Don’t you dare let anyone make you think you have to do anything you don’t want to.  Know where to draw the line, know what is and isn’t safe for you. And don’t bloody feel ashamed of not doing what you intended to, you still have the goal, it’s only the path to it that’s altered!


I knew at Rackham that going cross country would have broken us, broken our bond and trust, I wasn’t capable that day and that’s ok.  It really is.  It’s ok to take a step back, it’s ok not to feel good enough sometimes, just as long as you make baby steps forwards – that’s all that matters. On competition days it’s kind of too late, you have to deal with those ‘in the moment’ feelings as best you can (or swig on the flask of courage)!  It’s the run up to the event that will make you more at ease on the day.  I have the same routine for 5 days prior to a show and it seems to be working for us!


I've followed your Facebook page for a while now - at least a year I would say. What brought the idea to you of writing a book? Many people tell their tales through social and that's it, so what gave you the idea to put your story into a book? & how did you actually go about this - I'm sure it's not as easy as "hmmm, I'd like to write a book"... and TA-DAH, there is it, in front of you!! :)

I knew it wasn’t impossible, it was a suggestion made often on the blog and one day I just thought: "Bugger it - how hard can it be?".  I wrote it in Word, bought an ISBN, Googled how to lay out a book, scoured charity shops for a book I wanted it to look like and walked straight into my local printers with the job brief and the very little money I had!! 10 days later I had 2500 books in the boot of my husbands VW Golf! I sold those within the first month. The second run was then paid for and I now hold stock.  I still post out every single copy myself in a pink shiny envelope and write messages if requested!! I have loved every second of it and wouldn’t change it for the world, I am just absolutely crap at selling it… I HATE coaxing people into parting with their money – If I could afford it, I’d give them away for free – but I know it’s worth it now.



Going back to your days of working in employment - do you have any tips for how to balance a busy working life with daily yard duties? I start my day at 5.45am and often won't walk in the house until 9pm because of a 9-5 job and everyday yard life & keeping a horse in work. 

THAT.  Early starts and late finishes… I don’t think there is any avoiding it until you’ve done your time up the career ladder. I worked nearly 10 years as a marketing manager and I think the key is to be good enough at your chosen vocation to be flexible with your hours.  Be brave enough to think you’re good enough too.  It’s likely that you already are, you just need a good shake!! I was probably good enough for this 4 years ago, I just didn’t believe in myself enough! Also, unless you’re aiming for Tokyo, do you really need to ride 5 days a week?  Pat was doing 3 maybe 4 days when I was working full time, plenty fit enough for lower levels.


So, from a personal perspective, tell me about your very brave decision to give up full time employment to set up your own consultancy. I'd love to do this, but don't have the balls, what motivated you to make the decision and how do you keep on track to make sure it is successful.

Brave or Reckless!?



Relocation 200 miles north up the country spurred the initial move from PAYE to self-employment.  I knew I didn’t want to get another full time job so I saved enough money to tie me over for a few months and worked my nuts off to get off the ground, literally door knocking!  I HATED getting dressed up to sit in a building with people I didn’t much like and do the same work I now do at home in my comfies, that’s what keeps me motivated!  I’m very happy dictating my own hours and people I work with and I haven’t even got going yet!.  You’ve got to want to be somebody to be successful, especially in marketing! Sell yourself well enough and everyone else will want to buy you – that’s my theory anyway! 😉


Finally, what's your motivational quote - about life, or horses, or work... anything?

Don’t ever take the easy path, it’s like someone else has trodden it down before you – there will be nothing left at the end but a long road back.


"Be original and be yourself"

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I've really enjoyed working this Q&A post with Victoria - she has been fun and lively when taking part, but I'm also glad she put a very realistic and genuine thought into each and every answer that she has given. Thank you so much Victoria for taking the time out to answer each question so thoroughly!!

If you're also an avid reader of Victoria's Diary of a Wimpy Eventer blog, make sure you pin the post to spread the word and help others find their brave pants for when they want to wear them!







**All images are taken from Diary of a Wimpy Eventer Facebook page**

2 comments:

  1. I've followed Diary of a Wimpy Eventer because I can really relate to her experiences and like how Victoria views the world. I will definitely have to buy a book!

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    Replies
    1. She is a great inspiration and totally relateable!

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