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I am honoured to work with the members of Team KA helping them to develop a positive mindset, to make the most of their riding opportunities and to be focused as they set out on their competitive journeys. Each team member has their own strengths and challenges and some will be contributing blog posts throughout 2018. Here is a lovely post from Bethany and I am enormously grateful to her for her kind words about the work we do together.
My name is Bethany, I’m a 14 year old equestrian who met Jane through Team KA, a team of young riders based at KA Equestrian of whom Jane is a sponsor.
Jane has very kindly invited me to write a blog for her about my experiences with confidence and how her sports psychology sessions have benefitted my riding mindset.
I’ve had my fair share of confidence knocks over the 7 years that I’ve been riding. My horse Tia was only 4 when we bought her, and as the owner of a young horse I’ve definitely learned a lot about ‘bouncing back’ from bad experiences.
A good example of this is a fall I had not long before Christmas last year, in which Tia was spooked by horses in the field and bucked me off. This accident landed me in hospital for a day, which was a fairly scary experience.
Finding the courage and confidence to get back on after a bad fall is never an easy thing to do. As humans, our natural instinct is to avoid danger, and when put in a situation we know to be potentially dangerous, we tend to try our best to avoid it.
“Getting back on the horse” is a term used quite often in reference to other challenges in our society, but us equestrians take it literally.
When faced with riding Tia again, I was admittedly pretty terrified. I kept replaying the fall in my head over and over until my memory of it morphed into something worse than what actually happened. Something that Jane talks about often is dramatising a bad experience. This can be through retelling the event, or even simply replaying it in our heads, as I did, and all of this can make the experience appear to us far worse than what it was in reality.
However I found the best way to overcome these fears and doubts was, to put it simply, to get on with it. I found that the longer I waited to get back on board, the worse my mindset became. The first ride back will always be the most nerve-wracking, but once it’s over, the feeling is so elating.
When I was younger, I was never a particularly confident or ‘gung-ho’ rider. Whilst all the other kids were keen to jump and gallop about, I was much more reserved with my riding. My first two ponies were both not quite right for me at the time, so by the time my third pony came along I had little confidence left.
My third pony Andre was what is known in the equestrian world as a ‘confidence giver’. He was a been-there-done-that kind of pony, which was exactly what I needed. In the space of 2 and a half years, he took me from a nervous, tense rider to flying round cross country, jumping a metre and galloping through fields.
I think that in some cases people can be ‘over-horsed’, and this was definitely the case for my first two ponies. It can take a few gos to find the perfect pony or horse to suit you, and you won’t gel or bond with every single horse you meet/ride.
But that makes finding your dream horse that much more amazing!
I hope that you all enjoyed this little blog I put together, if you enjoyed me in general and would like to see more of me and my journey with Tia then you can follow my Instagram, @brp.equestrian!
Another huge thanks to Jane for letting me write this blog post for her! Her sessions have been incredibly beneficial to me and I hope to continue to have the privilege of her services throughout 2018.