Age is Just a Number

Whatever age you are as you read this, that age is just a number.

One of the many beauties of equestrianism is that it can be a lifelong passion which doesn’t have to be defined by the number of years which have past since the date of your birth.

I’ll tell you a little story……

A couple of years ago a young rider came to see me for some help with her confidence. As always, we started with a “get to know each other” chat so I asked her to guess the ages of the youngest and oldest riders I have worked with. She guessed her own age for the youngest – 9 (real answer is 8 yrs old) and then for the oldest she guessed …….wait for it……..”THIRTY??”

Her Mum, who was with us, caught my eye and the two of us had to quickly suppress our laughter as we tried to explain that thirty is really very young!!

The real answer to the question is 84! A rider whose family wanted them to stop but who had many reasons for wanting to carry on with something she had been doing for so many years.

Of course, when you’re only 9 then a person who is 30 does seem ancient so you can imagine the expression on this rider’s face when she heard about someone who enjoyed riding in their 80’s!

Whatever age you are now you are the sum of all of your life experiences to date and life does change and evolve as we travel through it. Many riders tell me that they wish they had the joyous bravery that they had as a child, or before they had the responsibilities associated with adulthood, but looking at it a different way I would guess that you are likely to be a technically better rider than you were in those days and, whilst you may be more aware of the risks of the sport, that doesn’t have to mean that you can’t still enjoy riding and still get a huge amount out of your time spent on and around horses.

Whatever age you are or whatever stage of life you’re at then you can make choices appropriate to you and to your circumstances. Whatever those choices are riding throughout life will have huge benefits for your physical and mental health so KEEP ON RIDING!

girl riding black horse
Start Early and Keep Riding
Photo by Alexander Dummer on Pexels.com


Some Tips for When You’re Out of Your Comfort Zone

I recently did a post asking riders about any current mindset challenges they were having. My last blog post looked at one of them – dealing with setbacks – and in this one I’ll have a look at another – confidence in riding unfamiliar horses.

For many riders riding a new horse will take them out of their comfort zone where things are more predictable and familiar. Being out of your comfort zone is, by definition, uncomfortable so the key is dealing with that discomfort in a way which will help you, and the horse you’re riding, to understand each other and to be able to work together effectively.

There are likely to be many different reasons why you are riding an unfamiliar horse. Maybe it’s a new horse you’re trying out with a view to buying it. Perhaps it’s just arrived at the riding school where you have lessons and it’s your first time on this horse. It could be that you’ve been asked to ride a horse for someone else so that you can give an opinion on its’ suitability.

Of course there are some professional riders who regularly ride all sorts of different horses without too much thought or concern but I would guess that they would begin their ride taking some of the following tips into account as they get the measure of the horse.

THE FOLLOWING TIPS CAN BE APPLIED TO RIDING A NEW HORSE AND/OR TO ANY TIME YOU’RE OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.



TIP 0NE
Remember that getting to know a new horse is a bit like getting to know a new person. It takes time to understand and feel comfortable together. Every partnership will be different and sometimes you get the measure of each other quite quickly whereas others are slower to develop.
So, at the beginning do things at your own pace rather than at a pace dictated by external pressures. If you need to stay close to your comfort zone that is OK, just stretch little by little until you are ready to ask for more.

TIP TWO
Practice some relaxing breathing and active physical relaxation before riding and also regularly during your ride. As you breath think of breathing in comfort and breathing out tension and do a body scan so that you’re aware of any particular areas of tension then actively breath that tension away with each out breath.
This will help you to stay physically relaxed and, of course, will help the horse too.

TIP THREE
Control what you CAN control.
Take sensible safety precautions such as wearing an approved standard helmet, make sure that all tack is well fitted, consider wearing a body protector and have a neck strap.
When you are riding an unfamiliar horse, are trying something for the first time or riding in a new location it makes complete sense to be cautious. This doesn’t mean that you’re a “chicken” and it’s not a reflection on you as a rider it is simply being sensible.
Having someone with you, who you trust and who understands your aims for this ride, will help you to remain relaxed
Again you are doing what’s right for you rather than what you might think other people would do or expect you to do.

TIP FOUR
Learn and practice positive and helpful visualisation so that you learn to focus on what you DO want to happen rather than on trying to prevent what you DON’T want to happen.
Positively mentally rehearsing your ride before you mount up will help to get you in the best mindset to make the most of this opportunity.
Mentally rehearse, using all of your senses, your horse going in the direction of your choice at the pace of your choice. This will set you up for success.

TIP FIVE
If you find riding out of your comfort zone to be too challenging then seek support from either a riding coach or a mindset coach. There are lots and lots of things that you can learn which will help you so reach out for help so that you can be more confident and resilient during those times when you are challenged both mentally and physically.

Riding an unfamiliar horse can be a challenge.
Photo credit: Sophie Callahan (as part of the Small & Supercharged Mastermind Group)




Coping with Setbacks

The path from where you are now to where you want to be isn’t always smooth, setbacks happen to even the most experienced and talented of riders. Sometimes it can feel as though you are stuck or even going backwards so how do you keep positive and avoid discouragement?

TRY THIS FOUR STEP PROCESS




STEP ONE – ANALYSE

What exactly is going on? Is the setback because of something that is within your control or is it the opposite and due to something beyond your personal control? Is it because of something that you did or didn’t do? Why has it happened? Do you know why it’s happened and does it make sense to you?

Once you’ve worked out what is going on then you’re ready for step two.


STEP TWO – LOOK AT YOUR ATTITIDE

How are you feeling about your riding and the things that you are aiming for? Are you totally focussing on outcomes rather than on working on the processes you need to apply and on monitoring your progress? Make sure that you are looking at the big picture, perhaps you are actually getting closer to your desired outcome in some areas of your riding but your horse is injured meaning that your progress has stalled?
Are you focussing solely on things which aren’t working well for you and ignoring those other things which are working better for you?

STEP THREE – MAKE A PLAN

Take another look at your goals. Are they SMART? (Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound). Look at getting the processes in place on a day- day and week – week basis that will help you to work towards achieving your goals.
Remember that you can work on goals in different areas which combine to make you the best rider that you can be. So you can have mindset goals, personal fitness goals, technical riding skill goals and horse education goals. All these will combine and interlink and will help you to develop your plan and increase your feeling of being in control.

STEP FOUR – RECRUIT HELP

Who is gong to help you? Seek out appropriate support whether it’s a mindset coach, a riding coach or someone qualified to help you with your horse’s fitness and health. With the right support in place then it will be easier to understand any setbacks and to be able to stay positive and motivated when things don’t go as well as you would like.

There may be setbacks along the way but once you get to the top the view will be amazing

How’s Your Season Going?

I’m writing this on 1st June (does that mean it’s Summer now?). It’s a bright and breezy day here at Horse Riding with Confidence Scotland HQ, I’m feeling quite summery and, even though the temperature is about 13 deg, it won’t be dark until after 10pm this evening.

Summer meadow bliss



All riders will have their own idea of what constitutes their “season”. Perhaps you are out at shows, events and competitions most weekends and maybe some weekdays too. Other riders will be at occasional shows, training days, camps and clinics. Or maybe your season is making the most of after work opportunities and long evenings and using the time to venture out on longer hacks.

At the start of a month a useful exercise is to check back on your goals ( whether they are fun goals at home or serious competition goals the ideas same apply).

Do you feel that you are making progress and heading in your desired direction, does the opposite apply or are you somewhere in the middle?

if you are making progress then keep going and keep up the good work. If you have stalled or are feeling disheartened then have another look at your goals. Are they realistic? Are your basic processes helping you? Do you need to make some changes?

It’s important that goal setting is supportive and encouraging for you so that your goals help your confidence to grow. If your goals are unrealistic and too demanding for the amount of time and energy you have available then it’s time to think again and perhaps re-set.

As always, seek help and support if you need it so that you can make the most of the opportunities that Summer brings.

Summer riding fun


Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 – Loneliness

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 and the focus this year is on loneliness.

The Mental Health Foundation says “One in four adults feel lonely some or all of the time. There’s no single cause and there’s no one solution. After all, we’re all different! But, the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems. Some people are also at higher risk of feeling lonely than others.”

If we can understand and prevent feelings of loneliness, in ourselves and in those surrounding us, then we can help to prevent mental health problems growing and worsening so let’s have a look at loneliness and how it can affect all of us.

Feeling lonely is very different from being alone. Being alone is a physical state where we are literally on our own whereas loneliness is a feeling, an emotional state, where we feel disconnected from other people and where our social connections are less than we need to be emotionally fulfilled.

Some of us can feel very comfortable when we are alone whereas for others this would lead to emotional distress because of a “need” to be with other people. This can depend on all sorts of personal characteristics and where you fall on the introversion/extroversion scale. For example, as a natural introvert I am very happy in my own company and, in fact, thrive from having time alone and can feel quite uncomfortable at times in situations where there are a lot of other people. I would be perfectly happy going to a coffee shop alone and enjoying my flat white without company whereas I have friends who tell me that they would hate this and would never think of doing such a thing.

Again, the above example of being alone vs being in company is different from the emotional state of loneliness.

Loneliness occurs when our social needs aren’t being met, when we feel that we have no-one to turn to or nobody who understands us, when we feel socially excluded or frightened to express our needs. There are many causes of loneliness and it can hit us at any time during our lives. We can feel lonely even when surrounded by people that we know well.

I said above that I am happy in my own company and, these days, I rarely feel lonely but there was a time in my life when I felt terribly lonely and, for a while, it felt like there might be no end to that feeling. This is very personal but I do think that it’s worth sharing here……

When, as a couple, we were going through infertility investigations and subsequently went on to have a son who was stillborn I felt so lonely it hurts to think back on that time. I was surrounded by people who were trying their best to be supportive but I felt so excluded and misunderstood. Most of my friends were having babies at this time and it was like they were in a club that there was no way I could be admitted to however hard I tried. This isn’t the place for going into too much detail about this personal experience but I did recover and have gone on to embrace life with all of its challenges and I am grateful for that.

There are many ways you can help yourself if you feel lonely, it can feel like a challenge to take steps to help yourself but it is important that you do take some steps and I’m only going to mention a couple here – as so often some time spent Googling will give you lots and lots of suggestions but here are a couple of my favourites:

1. Develop your social interest. This is a term coined by Alfred Adler in the early 1900’s and can defined as “a feeling of community, an orientation to live cooperatively with others, and a lifestyle that values the common good above one’s own interests and desires“. By developing social interest the belief is that you are helping your own personal mental health and it can lead to making genuine and worthwhile connections with others.
An example in the horsey world could be volunteering to help at your local RDA group.

2. Engage with the people that you meet in your day to day life. Smile at people you meet when out for a walk or chat to the delivery van driver and others you encounter. These seemingly simple social interactions will give you a boost and help you to feel less lonely. Smiling has been shown many times to give you an emotional boost and for the receiver of the smile to experience a similar boost.

3. Join an online supportive group which has similar interests to your own. Go for groups that are well regulated and have rules which encourage support between members. Finding people who are like minded, even if they are online, can lead to real support and friendship.

4. If you are struggling to take steps to overcome your loneliness then contact organisations like The Mental Health Foundation or Riders Minds which have expert support and advice.

If you find that you are rarely lonely and are happy with the amount of social support and interaction you have in your life then I believe that it’s worth spending some time, and making some effort, to help those who may be feeling lonely and isolated.

As horse riders there are a few simple ways you can include others and help those around you. Keep your eyes open for those who are often alone and make an effort to include them in chats, cups of tea and rides. Be prepared to listen to what they have to say and as them questions about their horse and themselves in a way that encourages them to open up and feel valued.

looking for a friend bear
Photo by Marina Shatskikh on Pexels.com



We can all do our bit to support each other throughout the year, not just in Mental Health Awareness Week.







The Art of Listening

I enjoy writing pieces for this blog but couldn’t really think of anything I wanted to write about today so I scrolled back through my archive and came upon a piece I wrote a while back on “listening” so I thought I’d revisit this subject today.

Listening is a topic I’ve been thinking about recently in the monthly learning I do with Centre 10 where, this month, we were looking at the Seven Barriers to Listening and reflecting on where we encounter these barriers in our clients as well as when we notice them in ourselves. I’ll write more about these barriers on another occasion.

Active listening is a great skill and it can take years to master. Sometimes we think we are listening but are we really?

We can all literally hear the same words being spoken but we interpret those words via our filtering systems which have developed over many years and which are influenced by our personal experiences, values and beliefs.

Why do we listen? We listen to:

  • Obtain information
  • Learn
  • For enjoyment
  • To understand


How much what what you actually hear do you think that you remember? Research suggests that we only remember 25-50% of what we actually hear so we either have to hope that we’re remembering the important stuff OR we have to work on our listening skills so that we can retain more information.

Good listening skills require a high level of self-awareness.  It is important to practice ‘active listening’ i.e. to make a conscious effort to both hear the words being said and to understand the total message.  It is also very important to let the other person know that you are listening; otherwise, it can feel like talking to a brick wall.

There are five key elements to active listening

  1. Pay attention.  
  • Give the speaker your undivided attention
  • Look directly at the speaker
  • Put aside distracting thoughts
  • Avoid being distracted by environmental factors
  • ‘Listen’ to the speaker’s body language
  • Refrain from side conversations if you are in a group setting.
  1. Show that you are listening.
  • Nod occasionally (NB this does not necessarily imply agreement)
  • Smile and use other facial expressions
  • Note your posture and show it to be open and inviting
  • Encourage the speaker with small verbal comments e.g. ‘yes’ and ‘uh huh’.
  1. Provide feedback
  • Our personal filters, assumptions, judgements and beliefs effect what we hear.  As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said.
  • Reflect and ask questions
  • Paraphrase e.g. ‘What I’m hearing is…….’, ‘Sounds like you’re saying…..’
  • Ask questions to clarify e.g. ‘ When you say……what do you mean?’
  • Periodically summarize the speaker’s points.
  1. Defer Judgement
  • Interrupting wastes time and frustrates the speaker
  • Allow the speaker to finish
  • Don’t interrupt with counter – arguments.
  1. Respond Appropriately
  • Active listening is a model for respect and understanding
  • You are gaining information and perspective
  • You add nothing by attacking the speaker or putting them down
  • Be candid, open and honest in your response
  • Assert your opinions respectfully
  • Treat the other person as he/she would want to be treated.
  • If it is especially important to remember what has been said to you or if you are being given precise instructions then take notes

KEY POINTS

  • It takes practice and determination to be an active listener
  • Be deliberate and remember that your goal is to truly hear what is being said
  • Set aside all else while you listen
  • Ask questions/reflect/paraphrase
  • If you do not do these things then what the speaker says and what you hear can be very different.
  • Take notes if necessary.

So what are YOU going to listen to today? Personally, I will be listening to the birds singing on my lunchtime dog walk then I plan to listen to a podcast on goal setting whilst driving to my weekly riding lesson where I will listen to my coach and try and learn from what she shares with me. Later I will probably be listening to some music for pure enjoyment.

Photo credit: Sophie Callahan via the Small & Supercharges Mastermind group.

Keeping on Top of Self Doubt

I don’t get the chance to ride very often these days, once a week is the norm for me plus the occasional opportunity on a friend’s horse. In the past I would regularly ride my two ponies most days in the week but they’re retired now and life is generally pretty busy with other things.

Pre- Covid I had got myself a lot fitter and was prepared for a major riding adventure which, sadly, was called off due to the pandemic. With things opening up this year I could have re-booked the big ride but realistically I knew it would be too much for me so I looked for an alternative and booked three days riding with Highlands Unbridled.

Often people assume that because I am a confidence and mindset coach I don’t ever feel nervous, or experience self doubt but honestly, that simply isn’t the case. What is different is that my skills allow me to recognise what’s going on if I feel nervous and I have a tool box of skills to rummage through when I need them. This means that in general I can keep on top of any negative emotions and feelings of emotional tension, deal with them and move on so that I can enjoy my ride.

Whilst preparing for my three days riding my main concern was my fitness as I knew we would be spending many hours in the saddle. If I’m totally honest, this is definitely something which I need to work on but I did as much preparation as I could (given my various aches and pains and dodgy knees!). As it turned out I don’t think I was any more or any less tired at the end of each day than any of the other riders. The tack was comfortable and designed for purpose so from that point of view any worries I had in advance proved to be manageable. We all laughed at ourselves and with each other as we struggled to dismount after six or more hours in the saddle!!

Driving up to the base from where we were riding I wasn’t nervous but I definitely had some self doubt. Thoughts were creeping into my mind such as “I hope I’m not the worst rider!” and “I’m not sure if I should tell anyone what my job is incase they assume that I should be a more skilled rider than I am!” I tried pushing these thoughts away but they kept popping back to annoy me so I asked myself what I would suggest to a client who had similar thoughts.

The first thing I did was to recognise that these thoughts are simply thoughts – charges of electricity running through my mind and that they weren’t helpful. Noticing that they were simply thoughts and not reality allowed me to recognise them for what they were.

The second thing I did was to remind myself that I have many years of experience of hacking out on highland ponies and that if other riders had a different level of experience to me then that was absolutely fine and we weren’t there for making any comparisons! As it happened, once we were riding those thoughts completely vanished. There was no competition or judgement between the riders, we all simply enjoyed what we were doing.

The leader went to a lot of effort to find out from each rider what their previous riding experience was and whether they had any specific concerns/likes and dislikes. I was as honest as I could be during this conversation and was paired up with a pony who was very suitable for me and who I really enjoyed riding.

I must stress that for the majority of the time, on the three days of riding, I was well within my comfort zone and only under mild stress occasionally. So whilst I did need to use some of my mindset skills I really didn’t have to dig too deeply. I’m just describing my experience to give a few examples of how all of us can use mindset and confidence tools to help us during those times when we are stretching out of our comfort zones. For dealing with more challenging situations we can all learn ways to develop the resilience and mental strength to handle the situations we may find ourselves in.

A couple of times during the three days on horseback I was aware of allowing my imagination to run away with me a bit. Once when we were traversing a steep slope I started to imagine my pony losing his balance and falling leading to us both tumbling down the hill to disaster!!! These thoughts caused me to tense up for a few moments but internally I said “STOP!” and was able to bring myself right back into the present rather than allow my ‘disaster movie” to continue! In the past I might well have allowed these thoughts to get the better of me leading to more tension in my body and the pony picking up on that. On another occasion, when it was very windy, my pony and another had a bit of a moment – just what the leader described as a few paces of Piaffe! – nothing major to be concerned about. Again, in the past I might have found it hard to let go of that but thankfully I was able to remind myself to just LET IT GO and bring myself back into the present moment where my pony was simply going in the direction of my choice at the pace of my choice.


So yes, I did have some moments of tension and self doubt but I was able to deal with them and they never escalated and you too can learn to keep on top of your own doubts. The ride was challenging physically due to the weather and the terrain but it was amazing fun and I was very happy to be on the back of a Highland Pony for a few days and I am already planing my next trip.

Highland Pony Fun


Say YES to Opportunities

Do you sometimes find yourself saying no to opportunities and then regretting it? Perhaps saying “No” but wishing that you were brave enough to say “Yes”?

I’ve been thinking about this recently as I’ve been writing a piece for someone on rider confidence and in it I describe one of the attributes of a confident rider as regularly saying yes to new opportunities and being prepared to stretch out of their comfort zone.

NB I also stress that a rider who is confident will sometimes be comfortable to say “No” because they have a valid reason for doing so and that is absolutely fine. And, of course, it is always your right to say “No” to anything which you really do not want to do.

If you regularly find an excuse for not joining in with a riding activity such as going for a hack in a new location or signing up for a training day then perhaps it’s time to ask yourself some challenging questions?

Are you saying no because of a fear of what could happen?

Are you saying no because you think that you aren’t ready?

Are you saying no because you think that everyone else is better/more experienced than you?

Are you saying no but secretly wishing to say yes?

How about turning these questions around and considering that the opportunity will most likely to turn out to be a positive one full of fun and learning. The opportunity might well become something which in the future you look back on with a huge smile on your face. The opportunity might well allow you and your horse to move towards achieving your goals.

Saying YES to a hack in new surroundings can lead to lots of fun and adventures


When I work with riders I often find that they have got themselves into a situation where their comfort zone has shrunk considerably and they are no longer enjoying riding as much as they would like to or as much as they used to. With some simple changes in thoughts and beliefs we can quickly turn this around allowing the rider to start to say “Yes” to opportunities and then to build on that by creating their own opportunities. The result of this is that enjoyment returns and the rider can learn and grow in self belief as they metaphorically release the anchor which has been holding them down.


If you find that you are struggling to stretch out of your comfort zone then please do get in touch for some help which will allow YOU to say YES to wonderful opportunities.




What Does Success Mean to You?

I was reminded this morning of a lovely story about success. A nine year old had completed her first ever 100m race coming in 8th place in 18 seconds. She rushes over to her coach in tears “I came last, I came last”. The coach kindly re-frames the girl’s result…..”You didn’t come last, you did 18 seconds. That’s your best ever result. Your personal record” Well done to the girl and to the coach and such a good example of re-framing. Here’s the link to the video where the coach describes this incident with far more fun than I can describe it in words.

What does success mean to you? Imagine it’s the end of the year and you’re looking back on the things that you have done during the year. What will success look and feel like for you? Everyone’s answer will be different for this but it’s well worth spending some time thinking about it. What difference will your success make for you and for those around you?

Now spend some time looking at this in more detail. Pick two or three areas of that success to focus on. What are the things within that success that you can influence through your training and your commitment? Which areas does it make sense to devote your time and energy to? What will it take to do those things brilliantly? Is this success for you?

This brings us back to effective goal setting – by effective I mean far more than simply stating “I want to do X, Y or Z”. What are you really aiming for? Why is this important to you? What skills and strengths can you draw on to be able to do this? Where, and from whom, are you going to recruit help and support? What are the day to day and week to week processes you are going to put in place to help you to work towards your goal? How are you going to monitor your progress?

You might have noticed by now that I’m asking far more questions in this post than I’m giving answers!

This is because you are all different and you all have different definitions of success and your own individual goals. It’s my job to support and encourage you towards understanding and achieving your own success.

A few more questions for you…..

WHERE DOES MY REWARD COME FROM?

IS MY RESULT DUE TO SOMETHING WITHIN MY CONTROL?

WAS I SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE OF SOMETHING I DID?

WAS I UNSUCCESSFUL BECAUSE OF SOMETHING I DID DO OR BECAUSE OF SOMETHING I DIDN’T DO?

HOW DO I FEEL ABOUT MY RESULT?

DID I DO WHAT I SET OUT TO DO AT THIS TIME? DID I STICK TO MY PLAN?

Sponsored rider Natalia had a clear plan for her 2021 season and went on to achieve, and exceed, her goals.

A useful exercise which I learned during my Centre 10 training is called “Left Page/Right Page”

Get yourself a notebook and open a double page. Write your intentions for the day, show, event on the left page. Then afterwards review your day and give yourself marks out of 10 for the points on your left page and include points of learning and areas to work on for the nest time.

Here’s an example for you:

If you would like some help with defining your own success, effectively setting your goals and monitoring your progress then please do get in touch. In the meantime I’d love to hear your thoughts on what success means for YOU.













Why I Support Rider’s Minds.

Rider’s Minds

As a therapist, who has worked with riders since 2004, I am only too well aware of how riding concerns and horse related issues are closely linked to rider’s mental health.

Many riders who come to see me have mental health issues and fortunately my training and experience gives me the skills needed to support them and guide them gently towards ways in which they can improve their overall mental health. I regard this part of my work as a real privilege and always do my very best to help those who consult me as far as I am able, referring them on to specialist care if necessary.

When things are going well, with riding and horse ownership, time spent on and around horses can bring great relief from the stresses and strains of work and family life. However, when riding becomes an anxiety provoking activity, that special time can become a real emotional burden. Also, if riding confidence is low, leading to high anxiety levels, this can be reflected in home, social and work life in all sorts of ways. This is why my approach when working with a rider is to treat them as a “whole person” rather than as a simple “riding issue”.

I heard about the Rider’s Minds project very soon after it was begun in 2019 thinking what a great idea it was and how much it was needed in the equestrian world. When Matt Wright went public about his own personal struggle with depression I was impressed by his bravery and knew that I wanted to follow the work that he and his wife Victoria were beginning. Like so many, I was immensely saddened when I heard of Matt’s death and then, once again, hugely inspired to hear that the work would be continued by Victoria and her team.

An organisation like Rider’s Minds can offer so much more than a single therapist can and the services which the charity ( RM was granted charity status in February 2022) offers, free of charge, are ever growing. They now run a 24/7 helpline which, I understand, is very well used. The charity’s website describes themselves as “….a bespoke, comprehensive, freely available, on-line resource dedicated to supporting and improving the mental health of all horse riders.”

Jodie Neill, Liz Daniels and Myself all shared ideas and tips on the evening.




When I was planning an evening locally with the theme of a “Pre-Season 2022 Mindset Boost” I, together with my sponsored rider Jodie Neill and local well-loved coach Liz Daniels, decided that the evening would be a fundraiser for Rider’s Minds so that we could make a contribution to their ongoing work. On the evening Liz (who does actually work for RM) was able to tell all present a bit more about what the charity does and how important its’ work is.

The riders who joined us for the evening learned about several ways to strengthen their minds ahead of the coming season. Some riders were aiming at serious competition whilst for others their season will be attending camps, clinics and local shows. The basic principles of a strong mindset are applicable to all riders.

Everyone who joined us on the evening was delighted that their ticket sales money was going direct to the charity and some even gave an additional top up donation. The evening raised £310 in total, all of which has now been passed to Rider’s Minds. (Next time we will run a raffle and raise even more funds – I’m kicking myself for not doing that this time!).

I think that all of us in the world of equestrian sport have a moral duty to support each other with kindness. Encourage each other when we are worried. Listen to each other when we need to be heard. Include each other by extending the hand of friendship. Laugh with each other at our daft mistakes. Be happy for each other when things are going well and be gentle with each other when things don’t go as we would wish.

If you have a friend, yard pal, or anyone else you come across who appears to be struggling with their mental health please do point them in the direction of Rider’s Minds, or of someone like me who has the expertise to support them, and please do click on the links above to find out more about all the work of this wonderful charity.

We all shared ideas and experiences.