The following are purely to give you an idea of the issues I have helped riders with. I believe that confidentiality is of the utmost importance and therefore do not provide client testimonials. Any identifying factors have been removed from the following accounts.
An experienced rider and horse owner who was happy riding on the flat but described themselves as being ‘terrified’ of jumping. This rider wished to take part in riding club show jumping events and training.
Using simple confidence boosting techniques and positive visualisation the rider learned to stretch out of their comfort zone and after four sessions was comfortable signing up for some jumping lessons with an empathetic trainer. The rider has kept in touch and has recently told me that jumping is something that they now enjoy.
This rider loved hacking out in the area local to where they live but was involved in a road traffic accident whilst out riding. Luckily neither the rider nor horse were seriously hurt however, the rider felt unable to hack out and this had completely spoiled any previous enjoyment of riding.
Using a technique which can separate emotion from memory the rider was able to put the accident into perspective as an unfortunate experience and feel able to move on from it. It was important to learn from the experience but not let it dominate thinking about future riding. Learning to ride ‘in the moment’ helped this rider avoid anticipating things which could happen and regain the enjoyment of simply getting out and about on the horse.
A teenage rider who had previously owned what was described as the ‘perfect pony’. However, the rider had outgrown this pony and was now riding something far more challenging. This had dented the rider’s confidence and they felt that things were going ‘backwards instead of forwards’.
Talking together about expectations and making progress the rider was able to see just how far they had come in reality and to give themselves credit for being able to handle this new pony. The rider was encouraged to have more lessons on the new pony and was taught relaxation methods to help regain comfort and calmness when things became challenging. This helped the rider feel more able to cope and to enjoy the challenge rather than worrying about it.
A talented rider who was competing at a high level but frequently felt that they were being judged by others and this meant that the rider was holding back and not pushing themselves.
After several sessions the rider learned to think in a more helpful way and not to worry about what other people may or may not have been thinking. The rider also learned to create an imaginary space around themselves and the horse whilst riding and no negative thoughts could enter that space. Positive affirmations helped with motivation and the rider continued to compete and train horses successfully.
An adult novice rider who was imagining the worst possible outcome each time they rode and really wasn’t enjoying it despite a lifelong love of horses and a dream of becoming a rider. This rider was anxious in many other areas of life too.
Therapy began with normalising anxiety and educating about how the language of self-talk can have such a significant effect. Using hypnosis and relaxation techniques this rider became far more relaxed and learning how to use self-hypnosis helped keep the anxiety under control. Riding became something to enjoy rather than worry about.
This person pops back for a ‘booster’ session every now and then if they find that life is hard to cope with.
This rider didn’t actually have any issues with riding but was ‘terrified’ of towing and travelling with their horse. This was severely limiting riding opportunities as they didn’t have any access to off-road hacking or anywhere to school the horse.
This rider was taught how to use visualisation in a positive way rather than allowing the imagination to develop all sorts of frightening scenarios. They were encouraged to stretch out of the comfort zone by beginning with short and easier journeys and to use simple breathing and relaxation before setting out on a journey which helped them to maintain a sensible level of caution without becoming worried.
This rider had been injured in a jumping accident and found that memories of the accident kept recurring and they felt unable to let them go and therefore were worrying each time they attempted to have a show jumping lesson and competing felt out of the question.
Once again the useful technique was used which can help to separate the memory from the negative emotions and the rider felt able to let the incident become simply part of their previous experience. The rider was taught ways to replace any intrusive unhelpful thoughts with more useful ones and to visualise more positive outcomes. Again, learning to ride ‘in the moment’ proved to be very useful and thereafter the rider’s confidence improved so that they were able to begin entering fun jumping competitions with a view to taking things more seriously in the future.