Katelyn Mallyon knows a thing or two about bouncing back – the 23-year-old has been thrown off horses, fractured her vertebra and this year managed to get back in the saddle to achieve her lifelong dream: scoring her first Group 1 win – a ‘big deal’ race – at Moonee Valley in Vic. We borrowed some tips from the athlete about success, getting through the tough times and winning in a high-pressure world.
Stay Out Of That Shell
“In 2012, I was an 18-year- old apprentice and I fell at Flemington. I broke my T6 vertebra and my cheekbone and was in a coma for four days. From being such an active sportsperson to doing nothing, it really does attack you mentally. You just sort of want to go into your shell about it all, but you have to push through and open up to people so they can help you. My mum and dad were my biggest support. You want positive people around you to keep lifting you up. Nine months later, I won my first metropolitan premiership. I was the first girl to do that.”
Know When Social Media Doesn't Help
“If we ride a bad race or something doesn’t go right and we get beaten on a favourite, lots of punters get on Twitter; there’ll be a million comments on how bad we are. So the number-one thing is, when that does happen, I don’t read my Twitter. I just delete everything. You just can’t have that negativity in your life.”
Wipe disappointment and move on, pronto
“Once [a disappointing] day is over, I go through the replay on my own – I’m my biggest critic – and then I speak to my mum and dad [both jockeys] about it. And then, after that day, I just completely move on. That was something my [sport] psychologist told me – as soon as you realise your mistake, you’ve just got to wipe it and move on to the next thing. If you’re dwelling on your last ride, you’re not going to give your best ride to the next horse. Obviously that takes a lot of willpower, but I just don’t talk about it again; I drop it.”
Always back yourself
“When you’re riding in the big races, like the Melbourne Cup, there’s so much pressure on you. But I always think, ‘I know I’m a good rider. That’s why I’m in the big races.’ I just know that once I’m on that horse, my instincts are my best asset – so I always go in with, ‘What will be will be.’ Once I go out there I can’t do much more than my best.”
This article originally appeared in November's Issue of Australian Women's Health.