Mind How You Ride
Throughout my coaching career I have endeavoured to help those that struggled with anxiety, nerves or confidence issues with their riding. I struggled with confidence a couple of times as a child and gave up riding for periods as a result but some very good instruction got me back in the saddle again and this is what I have aimed to do for others.
Up until a few years ago I was really just using my intuition to tackle confidence with clients without any particular structure but then my own family circumstances plunged me into the world of cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and meditation techniques. After months and months of research and learning how to best support them I realised that I now had the tools to create a framework to help riders too.
Mind How You Ride is a completely unique way of tackling fears, anxieties and confidence with your riding...incorporating techniques to clear your mind and tackle negative thoughts...it has at its core the understanding that riding is a unique situation in that our thoughts and beliefs not only create and feed into our own feelings and behaviours cycle but that through our behaviours we are linked to behaviours in our horse which then feeds back to our own cycle.
Here is an example scenario...You wake up feeling positive...it is a lovely sunny calm day...once the kids have gone to school...you have the whole day to yourself...you can take your time and go and enjoy grooming Dolly...you get to the yard and everything is relaxed and you are enjoying yourself...you put your brave pants on and decide to have a little ride in the school...you collect your tack and start to tack up...just the act of doing this starts a little tight feeling in your stomach...but you carry on...your body a little tenser and actions a little more strained...Dolly gives you a questionning nudge... as you walk to the school the tractor and harrow drives into the field next to the school...you grip the reins a little tighter 'what if Dolly gets worried by the tractor'... you get to the school safely and shortening the reins really tight, get on and continue holding Dolly really tightly as you quickly sort your stirrups out... Dolly...although completely unfased by the tractor... is now alerted by you to the fact that there might be something like a monster lurking in the bushes as she can feel your tension and worry as you hold on to her...she fights to be able to hold her head up higher...'oh no' you think... she is looking at the tractor...and is about to spook.... before you know what you are doing you have jumped off and are leading Dolly back to the stable without having ridden a step...
Is this scenario familiar? It is one example of how the rider/horse/rider thoughts and behaviour cycle works and feeds back to itself...and it is this cycle that needs tackling in order to help you ride confidently again...no amount of being told to 'Just get on with it' will work ...
Every horse & rider situation is different and Mind How You Ride is tailored to each one. It may start with work away from the horse initially and progress but each program is entirely geared around the individual and goes at their pace.
If you think this sort of approach could help you please get in touch!