Wednesday 9th of June 2021
Catherine Mills

Race of a Lifetime, Part One

Catherine Mills, Group Head of Retention and Equestrian Services for Quintessentially, is one of the eight amateur jockeys taking part in the The Champions Willberry Charity Race in April alongside Nick Skelton, Ben Hobday, Tina Cook and William or Alice Fox-Pitt.

In this new fortnightly blog we catch up with Catherine on her fitness journey to the starters line.

catherine mills

I have been extremely lucky to be selected to ride in a charity flat race at Cheltenham, on April 20th 2017. I was one of over 600 applicants and so I feel very privileged to have been chosen.

The race is to raise money for two wonderful charities, The Bob Champion Cancer Trust and the Willberry Wonder Pony Charity.

I decided to enter immediately after seeing the race advertised, mainly because I haven’t entered anything big for charity in the last few years and I thought this was a perfect opportunity and a once in a lifetime experience. I have to say I slightly questioned my sanity at my first ever training session but 5 weeks in I am enjoying it a little more!

Catherine Mills

My training regime is pretty much 6.30am riding 3-5 lots in Lambourn with the amazing Jamie Osborne! I now work from Lambourn on Friday and stay there Friday evening and ride another 3-5 lots on Saturday morning. I am usually finished by 9.30am which means I am back home by mid-morning so I can work my own horse!

Catherine Mills

The training is definitely much harder than I ever expected. Getting up at 5am is just horrible, I have had 5 weeks of ice, snow, wind and rain! I do feel that my fitness is getting better, but I know I need to do more in terms of leg strengthening and eating a better diet! Before I took on this challenge, as a rider who has done a bit of eventing I thought this would be relatively easy. This is not the case, the horses are so much faster, the saddles and short stirrups really do take some getting used to and its actually quite frightening, especially cantering in the dark!

I am really excited about race day and I can’t believe how many of my friends, family and clients have bought tickets to the VIP lunch. I think I have about 50 supporters on the day so far which again is great for the charities. I have a target to raise over £2500 and I am well on my way to achieving this already. Quintessentially, the company I have worked for  11 years has paid to have branding on me on the day. I have just been given a brand new Racesafe back protector, which has been the best gift so far! It will help me look like the pros! (I was looking quite podgy in my usual back protector)

Anyway, there are still other parts of my body left for branding if any businesses would like to support two amazing charities and also get some wonderful exposure!

If you would like to sponsor Catherine: http://www.virginmoneygiving.c om/CatherineMills3

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