Hayley Parker: Aiming For The Olympics in 2020!

Updated: Nov 4, 2018

 

Professional 3 Day Event Rider

Industry: Equestrian

Home Base: Wiltshire, UK

 

What is your passion?

I love competing. I love being able to train with my horses and to then work together as a team in competition. The bond you have with your horse is unspoken which means that you have to work even harder to gain their trust.

 

What lead you to this point in your life?

I studied after school and just couldn’t get my head around working for someone else in an office environment. I have always ridden and known that I wanted to be the best I could be. I decided to take a leap of faith in 2014 and started riding full-time in the UK.

 

I decided to take a leap of faith

 

What did you study?

BComm Econometrics at Pretoria University

 

What did you sacrifice to follow your dreams?

I left the support structure and comforts of home to follow my dream. It has definitely not been plain sailing and there have been so many times when I have thought I should just conform and get a ‘real job’, but that little fire inside of me always pulls me back to sticking with it!

 

I left the support structure and comforts of home to follow my dream.

What do you love about what you do?

I love seeing the progress each horse makes through training and seeing the results in competition. I thrive on competition and pushing the boundaries. I love being outdoors and having the freedom of being on a horse.

 

What advice do you have for girls trying to follow their dreams?

Your greatest progress is often achieved at the point where you want to give up.

 

Your greatest progress is often achieved at the point where you want to give up

 

What is the most important thing you have learnt?

Patience! There are many ways to get to the top and it’s not normally on your timeline or expected path.

 

What do you think being a #Girlboss means?

In equestrian sport, men and women compete together on an equal playing field. Being a girl boss in a mostly men dominated sport requires tenacity! However, I think being a girl boss is actually an advantage in our sport as we have an innate ability to show empathy but also strength.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Gym! I love pushing my body to the limit; it gives me a clear head and gets me very centered. My riding coaches also inspire me to be the very best I can be.

 

What excites you about your life?

I love the fact that I can represent South Africa in the international arena. SA has gone from being an unknown competitor in equestrian sport, to people recognizing our flag and riders as being world class.

 

What is the best thing about your day?

Getting to the stables in the morning and seeing how excited the horses get when they see me.

 

What challenges have you had to overcome?

Coming from SA, I was a big fish in a very small pond. The transition to international competition was huge and definitely something I didn’t quite expect. I rely heavily on my support system and obviously had to leave all of that behind when I made the move. Establishing myself and a team around me in a foreign country, was tough.

 

What is your support system?

My family! My mom is instrumental in my success and we are on the phone daily dealing with challenges, the path forward and just updates on how each horse is going.

 

What’s next for you?

Tokyo 2020 is the next big goal in terms of my career. I have a few new young horses that are exciting prospects for the future, which are the foundations of my business to produce world-class horses.

 

Tokyo 2020 is the next big goal in terms of my career

Facebook: @hayleyparkereventing

Instagram: @hayleydlparker

 

#Equestian #UnitedKingdom #SouthAfrica #Athlete