OM Skye Higgin shares her journey from a scholar to a showjumper

OM Skye Higgin shares her journey from a scholar to a showjumper

It was wonderful to chat with OM and professional showjumper Skye Higgin (2005-07; Southfield) about how her journey in showjumping hasn't always been smooth sailing.  

Despite riding from a very young age and always being around horses growing up, Skye never considered riding as a potential career opportunity, until towards the end of her Millfield journey. Skye spent most of her time at Millfield focusing on Modern Pentathlon (which she loved!), since joining Millfield in Sixth Form on a sports scholarship.

“I didn't have a horse whilst at Millfield, but I did ride there through the BHS program as part of my A-Levels. I really enjoyed spending time at the stables and loved learning more about the horses. It quickly became apparent to me that a career as a professional showjumper was what I wanted to work towards, but I appreciated that this wasn't going to be an easy option and I would need to work extremely hard and work my way up from the bottom.  

“I studied PE for A- levels which I loved! I learnt about optimising performance, discipline and the psychology behind sport. Psychology is important in most sports and is especially important in showjumping, where your performance might be perfect for 99% of a round but the one slightest mistake can be the difference between success and failure. In a number of other sports, you have the chance to put a mistake right, but you don't have that luxury in showjumping! 

“At Millfield you are surrounded by so many ambitious athletes and people, this acted as a huge driver and inspiration for me to constantly push myself harder. Whatever sport I was doing at Millfield, the environment I was in made me feel like there were no boundaries to what I could do or achieve, as long as I had the sheer determination to strive for success. 

“After leaving Millfield, with the experience I gained and the determination to focus on my goal of becoming a professional showjumper, I started to work straight away. I had to learn the ropes and work my way up - my first job was as a groom, whilst working on my riding, with other opportunities in the UK. I wanted to broaden my experience, so I moved to America for 2 years before being offered a job riding for one of the best female riders in the world, Penelope Leprevost, who is based in France."

Skye is still based in France today, but now owns her own business, while working for an owner who has a breeding stable called Elevage Du Tillard. They breed a few horses a year to either sell or keep for the sport. “I am not going to say it was easy, it’s been a long road with a lot of difficult moments, but my goals were always clear in my mind as to what I wanted to do and achieve. In a sport where money is a huge factor, I am proud of where I am today having adopted and applied those early lessons from Millfield - determination, hard work and a bit of patience is key! And when I look back on my time at Millfield and the years since, I can't help but recognise the invaluable experiences and lessons learned that have greatly contributed to my career journey.” 

Now, Skye is currently with team GB for the Nations Cup in Abu Dhabi with her main horse, Djordania Du Tillard - a homebred 11-year-old mare who she has ridden from the start of her career, making representing her country feel even more special! The other week they won a bronze medal in Sharjah CSIO4*.  

“I have plenty of other goals I want to achieve in my career, the Olympics being the ultimate goal where it is being hosted this year in my adopted home country of France. I could only dream of representing my country whilst at Millfield so I will continue to strive for more!” 

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