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POPPY'S PEOPLE: "I can be my own worst enemy"


Tuesday 05 July 2022

POPPY'S PEOPLE: "I can be my own worst enemy"

Tuesday 05 July 2022

It is well-known that a first impression is formed within seven seconds. Within the first seven seconds of meeting Richard Croft, he established himself as self-assured, outspoken and opinionated, yet entirely likeable.

In the subsequent three years of working with him, Richard proved himself to be all those things, with a healthy dose of humour (albeit sarcasm-heavy and banter-based). In the one hour I sat down with him for this feature, he revealed aspects to his personality which I hadn’t expected.

At just 22, it would be fair to say that Richard’s responsibilities in his personal and professional life far exceed his years. He is a conveyancing executive and, to his knowledge, the youngest islander to be appointed Vice Chair of the British Show Jumping Association Guernsey (BSJA) committee.


Pictured: Richard (left) with his identical twin, Chris, and friends. 

“I think that people do initially judge me by my age, but once I have proven myself, that settles,” said Richard.

“I started in conveyancing just as the property market was going crazy. At 18, I was the youngest not only in my team but in the whole office by a considerable amount.

“To begin with I always felt like I had to be proving myself, but that feeling has tapered over time.”

With an eight-year age difference, I was the closest in age to Richard when he started working for the same company. While I thoroughly enjoyed working with him, I am sure he won’t berate me for saying that you need a thick skin around him at times.

“I can be quite outspoken. If I want to say something, then it’s being said. I think being upfront it important and I would prefer that everyone was like that,” he said.

“I can come across as hard-hitting, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that I am. There is a more compassionate side to me.

“It makes me the person I am. With hindsight, there are times where I wonder if I may have said too much or I could have worded things differently, but I wouldn’t say there’s ever been anything significant where it’s made me think I should change how I interact.”


Pictured: Richard prefers show jumping at cross country events, but said cross country was limited on the island. 

Richard readily admits that he is confident but described himself as his “own worst enemy” on several occasions during our conversation.

“I will always look at everything I’ve done and wonder how I could have been better,” he said.

“There will be the odd occasion where I can say I did something well, but mostly I will analyse the things I didn’t do well.

“I am very strong-willed; if I want something then I will do all I can to get it. Sometimes that means I put myself under too much pressure and can be my own worst enemy, beating myself up over the smallest things.”

Richard said his biggest fear is failure, and that even perceived failures will stick in his mind.

“If I don’t get what I’ve been working for, it will sit in my head, but I also think you have to learn from it,” he said.

“As soon as I’ve had a success, then I can look at the failure as meaning something. Until then, I will hold onto it as a failure.

“I don’t like to get things wrong; I would say it is a bit of a fear. I prefer to take my time and know what I’m doing so I get things right first time. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever experienced a big failure, so the fear is in my head rather than something I’ve experienced.”


Pictured: Richard with his colleague, Knat Cardwell. Richard said that he "loves" his team at work. 

Richard holds himself to a high standard, which he credits, in part, to being an identical twin.

“For as far back as I can remember, my brother, Chris, and I have been pitted against each other. Everyone always automatically compares twins to each other,” he said.

“It’s extremely competitive being a twin. Chris and I can compete over anything, even though we have completely opposite interests and personalities.

“When we were younger, we would compete over things like swimming which we did together. Now we will try and compete over what we’ve each been doing, even though it’s apples and oranges.”

Chris is the older twin by 49 minutes. “Whenever I am late for anything I will joke that I was late from the beginning, so I might as well carry on,” said Richard.


Pictured: Richard said that he loves spending time with his friends, and can often be found in Red on a night out. 

Richard said being a twin made him determined to have his own identity.

“Chris is more calm than me; I can be quite hot-headed. We are both confident, but I would say that Chris is more self-confident,” he said.

“If someone is questioning how Chris is doing something, he won’t take notice because he is confident in doing things his way. If someone questions me then I will second-guess whether I could be doing it a better way.

“I will have strengths where Chris has weaknesses and the same is true the opposite way round.

“Despite our differences and how independent we are from one another, if anyone says one thing about Chris I will immediately be protective over him and he will always defend me too.”

Richard also credit his mum for his strong personality.

“I know everyone would say the same about their mum, but I definitely look up to her and she has attributes that I want for myself,” he said.

Richard also has an older sister, Charlotte, and older brother, Toby. As is so often the case in Guernsey, I knew some of his siblings before meeting Richard, but it is particularly true of his family that they are well-known on the island.


Pictured: Richard said that, although he can appear as "hard-hitting", there is a compassionate side to him. 

“My Grandpa had a lot of different hotels on the island, including The Royal, Trelade and Bella Luce, so a lot of people know our family through that,’ said Richard.

“I have been fortunate that we had a good lifestyle growing up and we certainly never went without. That being said, I have always known the value of a pound, which is something that people with certain levels of privilege can lose sight of.

“I like to think that, although I do like nice things, I always work hard for them, and I know what they’re worth.”

Through his family, Richard became involved with horses and eventing.

“We have had horses since I was little, but it was something my mum, aunt and sister were involved in. Initially, I wasn’t interested at all, but then I got the bug for it,” he said.

“Having a horse is very different to other animals; it’s a lifestyle and it takes up hours and hours of your time every day.

“As soon as you get in your own head about anything, your horse can tell, they’ll be feeling it straight away. They also all have their own distinct personalities.”


Pictured: Richard holds himself to a high standard in all aspects of his life, including with horses. 

Richard said that he chose Garfield on a “gut instinct”.

“When the covid restrictions were lifted, I went to visit my sister in the UK and see some potential horses,” he said.

“It came down to Garfield and one other. I knew Garfield would need work, but his personality captured me. My sister felt the same.”

Richard also has another horse, Eric. “Eric is a troublemaker. He is the most cunning, savvy pony you could come across,” he said.

Richard’s preferred event is show jumping. “I compete in show jumping because it works for both me and Garfield,” he said.

“I’ve done one dressage event with Garfield, and he won the championships, but it’s not my thing. It needs to be something that works for the horse and rider.

“I absolutely love cross country, but there aren’t many opportunities in Guernsey. I cannot even tell you how fun a cross country is.”


Pictured: Richard said that riding is his favourite way to relax and that he often finds himself "in a different world". 

Unsurprisingly, Richard holds himself to high standards when it comes to horses.

“My mum always says that things don’t have to be perfect, but I am always striving for that,” he said.

“I take pride in everything I do. With the horses, everything is always immaculately turned out. People will jokingly ask whether I want a spirit level for the stable floor. I just see it as liking things done a particular way. When things are in order, my life feels better.”

Richard said that it doesn’t bother him to have spectators to his riding in the UK, but that it is different in Guernsey. 

“When competing in Guernsey, I am very aware if I do something wrong that people are watching,” he said. 

“I don’t get intimidated easily, but the thing which bothers me is if I haven’t done something perfectly then it will bother me. If I don’t get something right, I will rip myself apart about it.

“If you ask for something when you’re riding and you’ve done it wrong, but the horse still goes for you then it’s brilliant on the horse, but you know that you haven’t ridden well.”


Pictured: Richard said something he enjoys most about his role on the BSJA committee is seeing the relationship between horses and their riders progress. 

I was interested to know how Richard felt about being in, from my understanding, a female-dominated sport/hobby/lifestyle.

“In Guernsey the horse world is dominated by women, there are maybe only a handful of men. Jersey is similar, but the UK is completely different,” he said.

“When you go to the UK it’s very apparent that the proportions of men are the complete opposite as in Guernsey; men are in the majority. When you look at a lot of the top riders, most of them are men.

“It’s never bothered me that I am one of a small number of men involved with horses in the island because I have always been someone who does what I want to do and what I’m interested in, if other people have a problem with that then it doesn’t affect me.”

Property is another interest which captured Richard’s attention from a young age.

“Livingroom [estate agency] used to have hard-backed brochures and I remember from about 10 years old I would always look through them and was curious about each property. I love everything about property,” he said.

“I love going to different properties with my conveyancing job. There’s so much to conveyancing that people would never know. I love that you get to see every single part of a property transaction and you’re always learning.”


Pictured: Richard said you can have "nine bad rides", but than one good one will make you feel "on cloud nine". 

Despite his clear passion for his chosen career, Richard readily admits that it can be overwhelming at times.

“There is a lot of pressure, and it can get wearing at times. You can do 50 things in one day but a list of 40 others has built up so you feel like you’ve only done 10,” he said.

“When I can, I try to have a switch-off moment, otherwise I would be running on empty all the time. I only worked that out how important that was two years into conveyancing.

“It’s all well and good people saying you have to have a good work/life balance, but no one ever has the conversation about how to actually do that when you’re so busy.”

Between his job, horses, friends and role on the BSJA committee, Richard said that “life can get tiring”.

“Life can be a lot sometimes, I think it’s something anyone can relate to,” he said.


Pictured: Richard said he doesn't know what the future will hold, but that he is "fully focused" on his horses. 

Richard continued: “I love spending time with the horses and absolutely love being out with friends, but I love my own company too. I think other people do struggle being alone, but sometimes it’s so nice to stop and just take time for myself.

“I think everyone grows into themselves over time, it’s certainly been true for me.”

In the three years I have known Richard I would also credit him for “growing into” himself. Despite his somewhat abrasive exterior at times, it doesn’t take much for him to grow on other people and that is a trait well worth a final mention. 


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