Month: July 2020

Month: July 2020

Category : Uncategorized

I’ve been set a challenge to tell you a bit more about myself and my background and what brought me to Horse Riding with Confidence Scotland.

So this is the first in a short series of posts about “Me”!!

I get asked fairly frequently about my own personal riding and horse owning experience so here we go. Here’s “My Horsey Life”.

I first started learning to ride when we lived in Germany and I was about 9 or 10. We were taught by the ever so slightly scary Herr Hase on what, I now realise, were dressage schoolmasters. We did all sorts with them but, I have to say, there wasn’t a lot of time for fun. No opportunities for charging around or heading out for hacks. It was all schooling in the indoor and, only very occasionally outdoor, arenas. I rode there for a few years but gave up after one too many experiences on Rex the Rearer.

I then rode occasionally on holidays and when opportunities arose but nothing regular.

I remember a conversation soon after my husband and I met. We were talking about what we would like to be in a position to own one day. He said he’d love a LandRover and I said I’d love a horse. I often think about the conversation and am so glad that both our dreams came true.

When we moved to Dollar in the early 90’s I decided to start riding regularly again and within a couple of years I bought my first Highland mare Judy. I was very inexperienced but we had a lot of fun together, hacking out and doing some showing.

Judy was the first of three Highland mares I’ve owned. I have her daughter Luna who was born here in millennium year plus another mare, Gigha, who I bought as a two year old from her breeder. Somehow I managed to produce two nicely mannered ponies with very little experience of riding and handling youngsters. I honestly think I got away with it because they both have inherently nice natures. Again I did some showing plus lots of hacking and fun rides with these two until they retired.

Luna and Gigha are still with me. Neither of them is sound enough to be ridden now but they will spend the rest of their lives here simply enjoying each other’s company and living a good life.

One of my favourites of Luna and Gigha from a few years ago.

Over the years I’ve been on some great riding adventures including up and down mountains in Italy and riding across the Rajasthan on very skinny marwari horses on a fundraiser for The Brooke.

Fun in the heart of the Andes (and of course I do advocate wearing a suitable helmet, it just wasn’t available that day!)

So now, whilst I own two horses, I don’t have anything of my own to ride. For a while I thought I might give up on the riding but then I started to miss it too much. I asked around and found a wonderful riding school with excellent horses and I now have regular lessons from great coaches.

If I’m very honest I feel like I’m finally learning to ride properly and I’m loving developing new skills and confidence on horseback.

I had a plan for a big riding adventure this year going coast to coast across the north of Scotland. Covid-19 put a stop to that but I’m very much hoping to do it in 2021. The thought of being on horseback in the wild country up there is very inviting, I can’t wait!

Month: July 2020

Category : Uncategorized

Before I start writing this piece I should declare an interest…….

My business involves talking to people and them paying me in return so, naturally, I am biased!

However, I do genuinely believe that it is in your best interest to consult a professional when you have any kind of issue or concern. That could be asking a vet about a horse health problem, asking a saddle fitter about signs of discomfort in that area of your horse, asking a nutritionist for advice about the best feeding regime for your much loved equine. Then, as this article is talking about “talking” I believe that if you have a psychological concern or a riding mindset worry then it is well worth consulting an expert in rider anxiety and/or rider mindset and psychology.

If you are very lucky then you might have a good friend who can help you to sort out whatever is going on but consulting a professional will have the so many more benefits including:


More than a chat over a cuppa

  1. You will be speaking to someone who has trained, possibly for many years, to listen to you and help you to understand what’s going on. So no responses like “Oh you’ll be OK don’t worry about it”!
  2. A therapist is trained in asking ‘questions that count” which will draw answers from you in order that you both can gain understanding.
  3. A professional will adhere to a code of conduct and will be committed to maintaining confidentiality. So there will be no “Please don’t tell anyone about this”! followed by worry that you friend may just break your trust.
  4. A therapist may sometimes kindly challenge you and thus enable you to ask yourself uncomfortable questions. However this will be done in a safe and supportive environment so that any “challenge” isn’t too much for you to be able to handle.
  5. A mindset coach will have a good understanding of your sport and the skills necessary to fulfil your goals in that sport at all levels. There is no competition between professional and client in this relationship, whereas with a friend there can sometimes be a competitive element and it could be in the friend’s interest for you to hang onto your worries and concerns.
  6. A professional will never judge you. Chances are that they will have heard similar stories before from previous clients so there won’t be any shocked face, hand over the mouth with “OMG you didn’t do that!!!” reaction!
  7. When consulting a professional to help you with worries or mindset you will be guided in an unbiased fashion. The relationship will be friendly with a healthy rapport so that you feel comfortable but professional boundaries will be maintained. Even a friend who is a very good listener will often want to chip in with their own experiences but, while the therapist might use some personal examples to explain a point they won’t respond with things like “Oh yes, the same thing happened to me” and then go on to tell a long story about their own experiences.
  8. There aren’t all that many opportunities in life to spend an hour or so talking about yourself and focussing totally on yourself and what’s going on in your life or in your riding. This is the luxury you are paying for.
  9. Sometimes there is conflict or disagreement among friends and people can take offence even when it isn’t intended. When talking to a professional you are free to disagree without causing upset as you are speaking to someone who has been trained in dealing with this type of situation.
  10. Working with a therapist or mindset coach (or ideally someone who has training in both approaches) will help you to find long-lasting solutions and make changes so that you can move forwards from the position you have found yourself in with clear understanding and a new ability to fulfil your goals.
  11. And lastly……the professional you consult might just also make you a nice cuppa as well!


Just like a horse will keep your secrets, so will a therapist.

The above list is just some of the advantages of paying for someone to help you rather than having that chat over a cuppa with a friend.

If there is anything which I can help you with or any points which you would like me to clarify then please do just get in touch.

Please do note though….If at any time in your life you feel that you are struggling with your mental health in any way, then don’t wait.  Speak to a friend, a member of your family,  a therapist or a doctor immediately and ask for help.  In a crisis, it’s so important to seek help as soon as you are able.  You are not alone.

NB Photos used with kind permission of Sophie Callahan