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Pictured: Caitlyn competing in show jumping.
A promising show jumper, Caitlyn Horton was a member of the Massey University Academy of Sport as she studied towards her Bachelor of AgriCommerce between 2015 and 2018. A couple of years ago, Horton took a step back from high-level competing in pursuit of finding her why, and is now the lead editor of her own news and media website, Coco Talk.
“I had a pretty rough time a few years ago struggling with the pressures I put on myself to be absolutely perfect in all areas of my life. I had forgotten my why. Competing wasn’t fun anymore and the pressure I put on myself was suffocating,” Horton says.
Combining her passion for sport and writing, Horton has channelled her inner struggles to find her own voice. Now, she wants to give other athletes a chance to do the same through her new, safe, and positive platform.
“Coco Talk is about inspiration and giving athletes a voice. I am so passionate about showing the younger generation that social media can be used for good, and that we can all inspire each other. We don't have to be better than each other, but better than ourselves as an individual.”
Active on both Facebook and Instagram, as well as having its own website showcasing interviews and general updates of the site's initiatives, Coco Talk is an exciting place to engage with aspiring athletes.
Having already interviewed the likes of Men’s National High Jump record holder Hamish Kerr and Māori All Blacks representative Heiden Kahira Bedwell-Curtis, Horton dreams of interviewing athletes like Ardie Savea who she believes have really positive and inspiring messages to share.
It is this relationship with positivity that initially inspired the name ‘Coco Talk’ and its logo. Aside from her amazing support team, Caitlyn says she found it was her horses that really kept her going through the tough times.
“They gave me a reason on so many days to function because they needed me. One of my horses is called Coco and then in my logo I have a picture of a pig because the other one is called Piglet - I would be lost without them. They were my inspiration in the same way I hope Coco Talk can be someone else's.”
Her inspiration often starts with the next generation. Recently, Coco Talk, with the assistance of Argentinian ‘Pablo’ from Rugby Marae, visited Inglewood primary school to help ignite a passion for sport among these kids who are so often drawn to technology.
“We got a couple of members from the Inglewood Rugby Senior Prems team to come in and help Pablo run a skills session and the kids got a Q&A session with the players. It was an amazing day for so many reasons. The kids loved it and to be honest I couldn't stop smiling either. Visiting schools like that is something I want to do more often. Sport has the ability to shape both your talent and who you are as a person. It can be life changing for so many people for all sorts of reasons.”
Having previously worked at Farmlands since university, Caitlyn has recently taken up a new full-time role as an accounting assistant for a rural accounting firm, and has also returned to riding with a new passion for Eventing. This means she spends early mornings and late nights thinking and working on Coco Talk but has no real plans to try and rush the platform’s growth.
“I try not to think too far ahead about where it might go - for now I'm happy with what it is. If it could grow into something bigger where I could do more with it then that would be amazing. I never want to feel pressure to work with it though, because for me that makes all of my work come out feeling forced and that is the opposite affect I'm going for.
“I still do get nervous every time I put my work out there because I want people to love and enjoy it. I guess my confidence comes from always remembering my why - to inspire. Even though it's nerve wracking having people read and watch your work, it's also not about me - it's about the bigger picture.”
Follow Caitlyn and her journey through the links in our post.
Page authorised by Chairperson, Sports Forum
Last updated on Thursday 22 August 2019