SHE is just back from competing in the London Olympics, but Australian showjumper Julia Hargreaves remembers when she was not good enough to be selected for the Coonabarabran Horse Expo.
Returning to the New England Girls’ School, where she spent five years, Ms Hargreaves told the school assembly the knockback was one of several that made her even more determined to succeed.
“When I was here, only a dozen or so girls were selected for Coona, and for the first two years I was just not good enough,” she said.
“I worked away at my weaknesses, and watched and learnt from those who had got in. And when I found out I finally got in, my smile was the same size as I wore earlier this year when I found out I’d gotten onto the team for the Olympics.”
Her first failed attempt at a World Cup showjumping class at Sydney Royal was another reality check.
“If there’s one message to share, it is that you do not have to be naturally gifted or talented to be up there with the best,” she said.
“Don’t let those around you who seem to just win without trying make you think you aren’t good enough.
“Keep fighting, because although I had moments of self doubt, I still managed to make my dreams happen – and at 26, a lot sooner in life than I had imagined.”
Earlier that morning she watched kindy kids put hobby horses through their paces, and finished the day passing on showjumping tips to senior girls in the school’s new indoor arena.
Her former riding teacher Mrs Robin Cameron was a mentor who had had an ongoing influence in her life.
“NEGS gave me a fantastic start to my professional riding career and gave me a wonderful grounding in many ways.”