GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
If you want something, you must never give up. That is my motto.
I've always loved sport, particularly running. I grew up with horses and show jumped for Scotland as a teenager. My first job after leaving school was as a working pupil for the legendary event trainer, Gill Watson. There was always a steady flow of people, owners and horses in her yard – it was hard work and tough, but she taught me the value of great teamwork. I became Gill's first rider and started to compete. After many years with Gill,I then set up on my own, combining teaching, bringing on horses to event at GB level and competing at Badminton and Burgley many times.
In 1999 I was asked to run the New York Marathon for charity. I set off in Green Flash trainers and baggy cotton shorts – not the best kit for a marathon! I was spotted as I crossed the finishing line and asked to join a London running club. I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to run again after the Green Flash experience but I joined Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers as a complete novice. It took me a bit of time to work out what a PB was – I was too scared to ask! I competed for them at national club level at both 5k and 10k. After winning a few big races on the road, track and cross country, I was selected to represent Scotland and GB.
At school, I was really quite useless at everything except running but after I married in 2000 I decided to go back to education. I studied for a BSc and then an MSc in Sport and Psychology. This was one of my toughest challenges because of my dyslexia and failure to learn anything at school. When I was asked to become the National Junior Coach to the Irish Event team, I began to use my psychology degree in my coaching. After five years I moved on to become the assistant GB coach before taking over as head coach.
Marriage brought four children in five years. These early years of parenthood were a blur of babies, nappies, crying and pureed squash… but my competitive journey wasn't over yet. My husband thought I could be quite good at triathlons if only I could swim. Never one to turn down a challenge, I learnt to swim at forty. While on a triathlon training club in Mallorca I asked Brent Perkins - who was to become my mentor and coach - if he would help me win a gold medal at triathlon. He said yes, even though I was still a terrible swimmer, and we formed a formidable team.
In 2019 I won three gold medals - at the World Championships in triathlon and duathlon and at the European Championships as coach to the National GB (U21) Equestrian Team.
Ever since speaking with Emma, I have found myself pushing boundaries I never thought I could. Emma helped unleash my true capabilities and confidence, helping me understand that I could achieve what I thought I was capable of. In each session I could be really open with anything that was on my mind, which really helped with squashing a lot of problems.
Emma speaks truthfully and from the heart. She makes complicated things very uncomplicated. She really believes in you and cares.
ELLEN BARBER - GB Hepthalete
Emma Fisher has been instrumental in the successes of so many of our young athletes. Her natural and values-centred approach to coaching has inspired and enabled countless personal bests and medal winning performances from our GB athletes. As a colleague of hers for two decades I have felt valued, motivated, and supported throughout the rollercoaster of emotions and challenges that competing in international sport brings.
Emma consistently delivers athletes to their desired landing spot, allowing them to fully explore their own individual journeys in a creative, safe, collaborative and happy environment.
DARRELL SCAIFE FBHS - Youth Performance Manager, British Eventing
Having a daughter involved in the GB Eventing youth teams I got to know Emma well. She was a fabulous team leader…very organised and was easy for both the riders, parents and horse owners to get on with. She was extremely efficient in a calm friendly way, had plenty of energy and was a fantastic leader.
MARY KING MBE - 6x Olympian
The five S’s of sports training are stamina, speed, strength, skill and spirit but the great of these is spirit - which Emma has bags of!
I have worked with Emma for a number of years as her Triathlon Coach working with her to win many races which in 2019 produced two ITU World Championship wins in one of the most competitive fields in the past ten years. This was always Emma’s goal, and her focus, determination and commitment, along with her desire to be the best she can be for herself and those that she works with, made that goal achievable.
Emma’s innate understanding of the coach/client relationship, and her understanding of how to give and take instruction, has underpinned the racing successes that we have achieved since working together. A very large part of winning is being consistent not just with your training process but also with your mental approach, always looking forward is key, as is not looking back.
This has been backed by her constant desire to learn and to understand the reasons for a specific process, ensuring that she is completely involved in every aspect of her training.
As well as Emma being a great athlete, she is funny, hard working, and able to manage and juggle her training and racing and her own coaching and mentoring business alongside a very busy family life. A joy to work with!
BRENT PERKINS - Head Coach, Challenge Tri Camp (www.challengetricamp.co.uk)
As the trainer of the British Junior and Young Rider Equestrian Three Day Event teams for thirty years, I have trained and worked with Emma since she was a teenager. She has always been a dedicated sports woman and is passionate about coaching and mentoring her pupils, with whom she has great empathy.
I strongly recommend Emma as a Sports Mentor. Her understanding of the ups and downs of success has been honed over many years, especially when coaching and mentoring young people in the British Equestrian teams, who compete at top level competitions.
During Emma’s career she has been a highly successful competitor herself, not only in the horse world but also as a Triathlete representing Great Britain.
GILLIAN WATSON MBE FBHS
I have been helped by Emma for the past thirteen years, both in a mentoring role and as a professional trainer. She has been instrumental in my eventing career, helping me behind the scenes to make competition plans for each horse as well as training me as a rider. This year I had a bad head injury and Emma has been invaluable in bringing my confidence back and encouraging me that each week I was getting better but at the same time managing my expectations and reassuring me that it would take time. I would not be where I am without Emma’s help and support.
ROSIE FRY - Professional Event Rider
We credit Emma with many of our successes as a school equestrian squad and are lucky enough to be able to train with her on a regular basis. Emma coaches correct riding technique, knowledge and understanding to our young riders who really enjoy her coaching style and exercises which are progressive, challenging and aimed at developing the confidence and skill required to achieve results.
Each year our students benefit from a series of comprehensive classroom pre-performance workshops specifically tailored to meet the needs of our competition riders who are keen to learn how they can compete to their optimum ability. Emma delivers fun and informative sessions which follow a progressive curriculum covering such aspects as planning, preparation and strategies, the rider's well-being and mental health, horse care and fitness programmes. Emma draws on her depth of experience as a competitor, coach and sports psychology counsellor to deliver these sessions to a range of ages and abilities.
For some of our more highly competitive sports students (Equestrian, Pentathlon, Running) Emma is able to offer 1:1 Sports Psychology Counselling sessions which supports their well-being and mental development. Students have benefited greatly from Emma's approachability, empathy, caring advice and guidance.
LORRAINE ROBERTS - Equestrian Team Manager, Leweston School (www.leweston.co.uk)
I have known Emma for over twenty years and she has worked for me for about ten of these. She manages my horses and their supervision, in addition to coaching my riding. I could not recommend her more highly. Not only is she technically brilliant but also she is an extraordinary teacher. She makes things simple; she manages my (at times wavering) moods; she is unfailingly positive even in the midst of seeming disaster. She picks me up when I am down and, best of all, she delivers some hard truths without ever demotivating me. And even better, makes it all fun. These are rare skills indeed. I would have given up ages ago without her.
JOHNNIE BODEN - Founder, Boden
I have known Emma for many years as a friend, training companion and coach to her children, as well as someone I go to for support, advice, or questions that I might have as a coach.
Emma is great with both athletes and parents and has a strong relationship with the groups she mentors. She has a very approachable manner and delivers her mentoring sessions in a way that is easy to understand. She puts athletes at ease so that they are able to open up to her - they trust she has their best interests at heart.
Emma would be an excellent asset to any group or individual as a coach and mentor and I trust Emma 100% for any athletes that I coach, no matter what their ability.
MICK FLAHERTY - Head Coach of the GB Biathle and Triathle teams at European and World Championships
I was lucky enough to be coached by Emma at the Young Rider European Championships in both 2018 and 2019. In 2019 I was part of the Gold medal winning team and I also won Individual Silver. But I sadly didn't have that same success in my first Young Rider Europeans in 2018. Therefore, I experienced both Emma's ability to support me and pick me up when I was experiencing a low in 2018 and also her amazing ability to reassure me and fill me with the utmost amount of confidence in my ability. This support she provided me in 2019 as the Young Rider coach ensured I was both physically and mentally ready to secure both the Team and Individual medals at the European Championships and I cannot thank Emma enough for everything she has done for me over my Young Rider years.
BUBBY UPTON - 4 time European Team Medalist and 3 time European Individual Medalist
Emma Fisher is a professional coach of the highest calibre. Her mentorship of her students is an exceptional skill and one rarely found in the equestrian world. Her delivery and easy use of metaphor to help clients interpret her instruction is masterful and highly effective. Exercises cleverly designed to help both rider and horse benefit the partnerships subtlety yet productively. Her cross country training demonstrates her years of experience as a GB Coach by putting together lines and combinations that create confidence whilst challenging horse and rider’s intuition, bravery and technical ability. Emma’s eye for the nuance of rider refinement is outstanding and her attention to detail exacting.
Any rider should be honoured and privileged to be coached by such a consummate professional who has the ability to encourage, support and instruct with such passion, commitment, knowledge and instinct.
SUSANNAH BARTLETT - Parent of a Young Rider GB Athlete
Emma Fisher is no stranger to competition strategy under pressure and focusing on the job in hand. Her experiences as a member of the Senior GB Athletic squad, as a rider competing at Britain's top Three Day Events and as Trainer to the GBU21 Championship teams, has stood her in good stead when imparting her knowledge.
Emma’s quiet, efficient and observant manner - dispersed with frequent bouts of humour - creates a fantastically positive and focused atmosphere not only with team staff but also with the athletes and their supporters. This in turn reduces the natural stresses, allowing all to achieve personal bests in an orchestrated and relaxed environment.
I cannot recommend her support more highly for those wishing to achieve their very best in any sphere.
ALEX COLQUHOUN - Chairman and Chef D’equipe for the Young Rider British Team
I started sports psychology sessions with Emma when I was doing Modern Pentathlon. I always struggled with pre- race nerves and found the combined discipline of running and shooting particularly challenging. Emma gave me a really good exercise to help control my nerves - cue cards - which enabled me to focus more on the process rather than the distractions around me. My confidence in my ability to perform under pressure increased so much, which was reflected in the outcome of the combined race.
Another exercise Emma helped me with was visualisation which I used in both my equestrian and pentathlon, which I found was a very effective way of preparing for a competition whether a 200m swim or a dressage test. It helped put me in the right head space and allowed me to plan and go through the motions of the task I was about to complete.
Emma also gave me a set of building blocks to help me achieve some very clear goals. I have found this particularly useful at the moment where I am currently bringing on a young horse and have found this has given me structure and motivation even when there is a small set back!
COCO SMYTHE - Student