Helpful Thinking

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One of my favourite psychotherapeutic approaches is Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) , founded in the 1950’s by psychologist Albert Ellis. It is an approach which we did a module on in my training and is one which I find myself returning to frequently in my work with horse riders. I can’t claim to be an absolute expert in REBT but I regularly draw on certain aspects of this approach and apply them to the people I work with.

Albert Ellis suggested that it is rarely a negative event or series of events that causes unhelpful emotions (e.g. excessive anxiety, worry, fear) and unhelpful behaviours (e.g. avoidance, confining oneself to one’s comfort zone, excessive tension) alone, rather it is the beliefs about those negative events that cause these unhealthy responses. In an article about REBT in sport published in The Psychologist in 2014 M.J. Turner says that “REBT is distinguished from other cognitive behavioural therapies by maintaining the fundamental premise that irrational beliefs lead to unhealthy emotions and maladaptive behaviours, while rational beliefs lead to healthy emotions and adaptive behaviours. In REBT ‘unhealthy emotions’ refers to emotions that are associated with pain and discomfort, lead to self-defeating behaviour, and impede the client from taking necessary actions to achieve their goals.”

Irrational thinking frequently comes from pressure arising from the demands we put upon ourselves such as:

  • I have to….., I need to….., I must…. eg “I want to succeed, therefore I MUST succeed”
  • Catastrophising – eg “If I am not in total control all the time then it will end in disaster” or “If I don’t get a clear round then everything is pointless”.
  • Low Frustration Tolerance – often known as “I can’t stand it -itis”! eg “I can’t stand the sensations of anxiety when I’m preparing for a show”.
  • Conditional Self Acceptance – defining ourselves based on one aspect of our experience eg “I didn’t get a clear round therefore I am a total failure”! Generalising an error or lack of success in one area of life to become a description of yourself and a belief about yourself.

As always, the first step to making any changes is to recognise the thoughts, and their effects, that you are experiencing now before you can start to challenge them and learn to think in a more helpful way. You may well find it necessary to recruit help to be able to effectively recognise and challenge your current ways of thinking.


The following rational ways of thinking are far more helpful than the irrational ones above:

  • Preferences eg “I would love to succeed but at the end of the day I don’t have to. I can learn from mistakes and make progress and work towards achieving my goals”
  • Anti- catastrophising – things are rarely a complete disaster. eg “If I have a bad day then I might be very disappointed but it is not a complete disaster. I can learn from it”
  • High Frustration Tolerance – learning to face difficulties and heightened emotions with resilience and courage.
  • Unconditional Self Acceptance – we are all unique, complicated and fallible individuals with our own set of strengths and challenges. As Albert Ellis says ” Be gentle with yourself while striving to do your best”

If you would like help with recognising and learning to challenge your current thinking then don’t hesitate to get in touch.


No Man (or Woman or Horserider) is an Island. (John Donne 1624)

Most of you are probably familiar with the quote (minus my additions) in the title of this post but have you thought about what it means for all of us? I think it is especially relevant given the worldwide pandemic situation that we have been in since early 2020. What it means is, that as human beings, we can’t, and don’t, exist in isolation. We are dependent on each other, we are part of communities and societies. We need other people on many levels and there is masses of research which shows the negative effects of isolation on people from physiological effects such as poorer immune systems and poorer sleep through to severe mental health effects such as anxiety and depression and even suicide. An interesting article worth reading, if you’d like to know more about this, was published in The Scientist looking at the effects of isolation during the Covid pandemic.

As horse owners and riders I do believe that it’s important to build a supportive team of people who can help with different aspects of horse care, riding skills and general support and encouragement. It doesn’t have to be formalised in the way that, perhaps, a professional rider would have a team including various coaches, equestrian professionals, grooms and riders. Most of you reading this are likely to be single horse owners, or owners of a small handful of horses but you can still build up your team rather than feeling that you need to be able to do everything, and know everything, yourself.

So who is in your team? Do you make the effort to establish a good relationship with the professionals you consult to help you care for your horse such as your vet, farrier, saddle fitter, physio etc? Getting to know these professionals can really make a huge difference to your ability to fulfil your riding goals and to maintain the health and longevity of your horse. Such things as having your horse ready on time and paying bills promptly always help of course! But also having a good communication helps too, asking for advice when you need it and then following it will always help you to care for your horse and the professional to do their job.

Other people in your team are likely to be coaches and instructors who help you to develop your riding skills and grow your experience plus, increasingly these days, a mindset and confidence coach who will help you with the psychological aspects of riding. Some coaches are trained in this area but not all and there are times when you might need to consult someone with the necessary skills and experience to help you.

Investing in professional help might sometimes feel like a luxury when you have chosen a pastime and sport which consumes a lot of your precious income, but when you look at it from the point of view of saving yourself from making expensive mistakes, through well meaning lack of knowledge, in the long term it is likely to be a sensible investment.

Other people in your team are likely to be friends and family and those around you on your yard if that’s where you keep your horse. These are hopefully people who care deeply about you and who have your best interests at heart. The ones you share your goals and dreams with and are there to cheer you on or to console you when needed.

There has, sadly, been a lot of publicity over the last few years about bullying within the equestrian world. This is NEVER acceptable and I believe that we each have a responsibility to stand up to it and challenge it when we see it. Plus to take personal responsibility for our own behaviour making sure not to join in idle gossip or spreading of rumours. I’d love to encourage riders to be more aware of those around them who perhaps don’t seem to have a “team”. Think about including them when you’re making a cuppa or a simple smile and “how are you?” can make a difference. For riders who are struggling with loneliness or with mental health a good starting point is Rider’s Minds.

Personally, I keep my horses at home but I like to think I have a solid group of people who I can ask to help when needed and who can offer advice when required. My horses are getting old but I’m hoping that they can continue to live their happy retired lives for some considerable time yet.

From a business point of view my team consists of the coaches I collaborate with, advisors who can help me with tech and business advice where needed, my husband who encourages and supports me and my friends who are always happy to hear about my work and to share my delight when things are going well and understand when I might need to have a moan (which TBH is very rare!) – my clients are amazing!

Currently a great team member for me is my friend and colleague Anne Currie. Together we have developed a three week online course to help riders to create harmony between their body, mind and horse. The course is running from 26th April and if you would like to find out more or to join then simply follow this link

MY LITTLE HORSEY TEAM


So my advice to you is to build yourself a team of people who’s opinion and knowledge you value and that will support you. We can’t all be experts in every aspect of horse care and riding skills so when you have doubts or concerns, if you have built your team, then you’ll know who you can turn to. WHO’S IN YOUR TEAM?






Some Reflections on the Past Year

I have twin brothers and today, March 23rd, is their birthday so this is an easy date to remember in my family. It is of course a full year now since the start of the first lockdown period and a day when lots of people are making time to think and reflect on their experiences over the last year.

Thinking of my family, the first thing which comes to mind is that we have hardly seen each other. I saw one brother briefly last year when he called to visit en route to a mini break in NW Scotland – I made him camp in the garden as we weren’t supposed to be having guests in our homes at that stage! He did sneak in to use the loo and shower, which in theory was breaking the rules but hey, who hasn’t broken or bent the rules at some point? I haven’t seen my other brother since late February 2020 when our family was all together for our Mum’s funeral. Mum timed her passing perfectly in some ways, she was at the end of a long and happy life and we have said frequently over the last year that we are glad that she didn’t have to go through the loneliness and isolation that so many have experienced. We are a close family and can’t wait to get together again before too much more time has passed.

My husband’s family are mostly in Ireland so, of course, we haven’t seen them for over a year now either. Our experiences of missing our families are no different to those of our friends and everyone else throughout the country and beyond. We have been accepting of the situation, frustrated and saddened at times but made the best of other forms of communication and it has been fine.

I must admit I found the first couple of months really quite a relief. After the few weeks leading up to it, when we knew that there was a serious worldwide situation going on, it did feel good to me when things finally shut down and I felt safer in our own little part of the world. I think, in some ways, I needed that quiet time which came so soon after Mum’s death and followed on from losing my mother-in-law in 2019 and my father in 2018. Life had been very busy for the past few years lurching from one elderly parental crisis to the next and so a time to pause and be quiet felt good. Spring 2020 was beautiful and those early days of sunshine and fresh air walks, seeing virtually nobody were a special time here at home with our animals.

Long Summer evenings and this view helped us in the early lockdown days.



When things eased up a bit last Summer and early Autumn we managed to make the most of a couple of short break opportunities and enjoyed seeing a few of our local friends. Then it quickly became obvious that we would have to return to tighter restrictions and that is where we still find ourselves.

Like many others I’ve found the more recent period more challenging than the earlier days. There were times when I did feel afraid with new variants springing up and infection rates soaring. The more I learned about Covid the less I wanted to catch it. Now in March 2021 I feel optimistic about the future, grateful to have received my first vaccination, appreciative of the hard work and dedication of health and care professionals and other key workers and thankful that we have remained happy and healthy throughout.

I have learned an immense amount over the year in many different ways. I’ve done a couple of major online learning courses and will write about them separately. On a personal level I’d just like to mention a couple of things which I’ve learned.

I realised that I need to constantly challenge some of my own personal self limiting beliefs so that I don’t allow them to hold me back. For example, I tend to describe myself as a technophobe who is pretty clueless when it comes to using technology. This just simply isn’t true! I have embraced and learned all sorts of new things and new ways of working over the past year. I’ve either been able to work out for myself how to do things or I have found an expert who can help me where needed! No more technophobia for me…..!!

I also believed that I could only do my job well when working with clients face to face. Again, this has proved to be untrue and I have truly enjoyed all the encounters I’ve had with new and existing clients online over the past twelve months. This has allowed my work to develop in ways which I had never anticipated or particularly thought about and I am excited about continuing to grow these new ways of working and helping horse riders throughout scotland and far beyond.

So it isn’t just my clients who have self limiting beliefs which they allow to hold them back from reaching their goals! I have them too and that’s something I need to be aware of and keep on top of. We are ALL works in progress!

I’ve also learned that there are many others out there in the equestrian world who I can enjoy making connections with. I joined the wonderful Small and Supercharged mastermind group, run by Rhea Freeman, and through this have made many delightful online friendships and have benefitted from many opportunities which have come my way through this marvellous group of people. Just because we are all isolated in our own corners of the world it doesn’t mean that we can’t support and encourage each other and that is just exactly what this group does.

So as we can all hopefully start to look forward to doing more of the tings we enjoy and seeing more of the people we love and who are important to each other I know that I will always continue to learn and, for me, that is one of life’s great joys.

Photo credit: Joanne Boyle

The Seven “C’s” of Resilience

Developing the resilience to handle challenges, overcome disappointments and learn from both good and bad experiences will help all riders fulfil their goals and generally enjoy their riding more. Being resilient gives us the strength needed to be able to move forwards and not be defined by any setbacks. Resilience is empowering and helps us to grown in self belief.

Working on the seven “C’s” of resilience will help you to strengthen what you already have and what you have already learned from all the experiences which have brought to this point in your life.

COMPETENCE
The belief that you can and will handle a situation effectively. That you have the skills and experience necessary to do what you are asking yourself to do. Of course skills can always be improved and refined and this is why most riders who wish to progress in the sport continue to have coaching. Competence can also apply to mindset skills.

CONFIDENCE
Having confidence comes from that deep belief in your own abilities and is closely aligned with competence. Confidence isn’t a fixed attribute and there will be times when it’s stronger than others but developing an overall belief in yourself will help you to grow in confidence and to enjoy yourself more.

CONNECTION
Developing close ties with family, friends, coaches, equestrian professionals and “your team” will help you to develop a real sense of community and support. Surrounding yourself with people who care about you and have your best interests at heart helps you to have that support system in place which is so important for resilience.

CHARACTER
We are all different and learning to accept that is part of maturing as a person. Being true to your own values and set of moral principles is important for all of us, as is demonstrating a caring attitude towards others. I believe that we all have a responsibility to show kindness and care towards others and that this helps us to feel better about ourselves which, of course, is part of being resilient.

CONTRIBUTION
We all have a contribution to make in life, great or small. We are all important and have a role to play in whatever form that takes.

COPING
Learning to cope effectively with stress helps you to become better able to cope with life’s challenges. Learning to be able to tolerate the temporary discomfort of stressful situations will help us all to perform at our best, whatever “performance” means to each of us.

CONTROL
Realising that we have control over our decisions and taking full responsibility for them helps us to grow and develop as riders and as human beings. We can control what we learn from experiences and take the responsibility to apply that learning in the future. This builds and strengthens resilience.

WHICH “C” IS YOUR STRONGEST AND WHICH NEEDS SOME ATTENTION?

Stand tall and proud and you will bloom


USE THAT WONDERFUL IMAGINATION

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I first published this in March 2020, little did I know that a year on we would still be pretty much confined to out homes! I think it’s time to revisit this and perhaps enjoy a few more moments of escapism!

Last weekend I read a wonderful article from the Financial Times by Alain de Botton “How to travel from your sofa”. It’s all about using the experiences we already have and our amazing imaginations to allow us to travel anywhere and to re-live past experiences.  

I believe that this is a skill we can all use and develop during this period of confinement at home. I also believe that using this skill now will mean that it is more use to us once this crisis is over and life returns to normality.

Personally, just three days into lockdown (GOSH THAT DOES SEEM A LONG TIME AGO NOW!!) , I’m feeling pretty relaxed and have been enjoying the things I’m filling my days with. I’m managing to continue with some work but inevitably this has slowed down considerably. However, I guess that over the coming weeks there will be times when I do resent the confinement and wish that I was out there experiencing the wider world. This is the time when I will really need my imagination to help me and I would suggest that you will all benefit from a helpful imagination too.

De Botton talks about re-living holidays right through from remembering what you had for your first breakfast to re-experiencing the sights and the sounds of your destination. He suggests that this imagined experience can be as real as you want it to be and that by “travelling from your sofa” will help you to be more comfortable with isolation.

It’s been a long time since we had a holiday! Can’t wait for the next opportunity but in the meantime I have my memories and my imagination.

So how can YOU use your wonderful imagination to help you at this time of enforced isolation? I would like you all to spend some time regularly developing your technique of “How to ride from your sofa“.

The technique is really very simple. Just make yourself comfy where you won’t be disturbed for a while, close your eyes and take yourself back to a wonderful riding experience and then re-live it.

This will be most realistic if you involve ALL of your senses and because horse riding is such a physical activity you can really feel as though you are actually on horseback. You are activating all the elements of your nervous system and can really enjoy the ride.

Start right at the very beginning of the ride, for example bringing your horse in from the field and grooming him all the while allowing yourself to be aware of what you can see, hear, feel, smell and even taste. Allow yourself to look around and take in all the elements of your environment so that you are actually “there”.

Then work through to mounting up and heading off for your ride. So you can feel your seat in the saddle, your feet in the stirrups, the reins in your hands. You can see the horses neck stretching out in front of you and can hear the footfall of his movement. You can smell the wonderful scent of horse and perhaps the leather of your tack.

The actual ride will be different for all of you but IT’S A GOOD ONE! Perhaps you are out for a hack or you might be riding a cross country course. It really doesn’t matter.

Your mind is very clever at distorting time so your ride can be as long as you like whilst real time might be completely different. You can re-live an entire week long riding holiday in half an hour on the sofa!

Give it a try and see how real you can make it and notice how it helps you avoid the frustration of confinement.

You may have your feet up but in your mind you can be anywhere in the world!


Just Listen

I don’t usually struggle for things to write about in my blog. Often I’m out for a walk with the dog or, perhaps, reading a book or listening to the radio and something I see, read or hear inspires me.

Today, I feel like writing something but no particular subject springs to mind. I have a lot of new projects on the go and am just about to complete one project which I’ve been working on for some time so there’s a lot going on in my head but nothing suitable for a blog post at this stage! I will write about my completed project soon and the new ones in due course.

So, if I don’t have anything in particular that I want to say what should I do? The answer is kind of obvious…..I SHOULD LISTEN!

Photo Credit: Sophie Callahan



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


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

This is why active listening is a skill involving having “conversations that count” (a term I’ve heard a lot in my APEC Advanced coaching course, and which I love and try my best to apply!). Conversations that count involve staying quiet and allowing the other person to speak, reflecting back to check understanding, asking open questions to dig deeper and gain more understanding, being aware of congruence i.e. are body language and spoken language in tune with each other. Listening is as much an art as a science.

So today I plan to JUST LISTEN and see what the day brings. I will mindfully listen to the wind and the birds singing whilst out for my walk, I will listen to words and music on the radio but turn it off when I’m occupied doing something else and this evening I will actively listen during a session with my mindset support group.

What are YOU listening to today?


Keep the Fun Flag Flying

Yesterday I took part in my first room chat on the Clubhouse Social Media platform, which I have just discovered and joined and which looks promising as a source of sharing, supporting and learning for the equestrian world. Have you seen it yet? I believe at the moment it’s only available on i-phone but you can find out more here .

As conversations generally do, the chat moved from topic to topic and some interesting questions were asked and answered by various different equestrian experts.

At this stage I was just listening and wondering how this new app worked and wondering how best to get involved.

The conversation quickly turned to having fun with horses, playing games with them and a few associated equine behaviour issues which were all very interesting.

Up to this point I had thought to add something to the previous topic which was more mindset related but there were quite a few people who wished to speak so by the time I was invited to add to the conversation we had moved on to having fun with horses.

So I rapidly re-thought about what I could add at this stage and simply changed my input to applauding these equestrians who wanted to play with horses to stimulate them and strengthen their bonds.

I was also reminded, and reminded the participants, just how important it is that we all do remember to have fun. As a mindset and confidence coach it’s easy to stay on the lines of goal setting, gaining focus, developing resilience, staying calm under pressure, managing success and challenges and many other topics BUT it’s really important as a confidence and mindset coach that I remind the people I work with about simply having fun on and around horses.

What are the fun things which you enjoy doing? They’ll be different for each of you but remember to do plenty of the fun stuff, whatever it is. There’s a time and a place for strengthening your mindset but always remember to KEEP THE FUN FLAG FLYING.

This was such a fun day and my friend and I were definitely flying the fun flag !

Climbing your own Mountain

Recently, a group of Nepali climbers have successfully scaled the mighty mountain K2, the first time this has been achieved in Winter and the first time without oxygen – an astonishing achievement. K2 is the second highest mountain in the world and is only 200m shorter than Everest. It is widely considered to be the World’s most challenging mountain.

The leader of the group, Nirmal Purja said “We are proud to have been a part of history for humankind and to show that collaboration, teamwork and a positive mental attitude can push limits to what we feel might be possible,”

You can read more here.

There aren’t many people who will ever accomplish such a phenomenal feat of skill, endurance and teamwork but in our own ways we each have mountains to climb.

I love the above quote about teamwork, collaboration and a positive mental attitude and all of these things are really applicable in the equestrian world aren’t they?

As riders, working towards achieving our goals and fulfilling our dreams, there is definitely an element of all of the above.

Without the positive mental attitude that Nirmal Purja talks about we are likely to get stuck at the first steep incline on our journey to our own mountain summit!

Sometimes things trundle along in the right direction without giving us too much of a challenge but frequently we will encounter obstacles which mean that we do need to dig deep into our skills of determination, endurance and positivity in order to be able to take the next step.

Each rider will have their own challenges so whether that’s having the confidence to hack out alone, coping with a tricky horse, qualifying for a championship or reaching the next level of competition remember the words of the brave Nepali mountaineer and you will reach your mountain top.

What’s YOUR mountain? I’d love to hear about it and if you need some help with climbing YOUR mountain then just get in touch.

The mighty Dolomites in Northern Italy

My Favourite Positivity Posts

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Last year I ran a Positive January campaign and here are a few of my favourites….

A rider who is anxious will frequently have a pretty small comfort zone and be fearful of all those things which they think might happen if they even put a toe over their comfort boundary.

Before I go any further with this, it’s useful to point out that there is no law which says you must ride outside of your comfort zone BUT, if you choose to limit yourself in this way then you will have to find a way to accept that nothing much will change.

You may well have already heard me saying how important it is to focus on the things which you DO want to happen rather than on those you are worried about and by learning to expand your comfort zone you can really put this into practice.

I’ll give you a personal example which shows this idea in practice….

Some years ago I had booked myself onto a riding holiday in a mountainous area of Italy, however at that time I was really worried about riding down hills and used to even jump off and lead my horse down hill if it was more than a slight incline! I knew that, if I was going to enjoy the trip, I would have to be a lot more comfortable riding down hills! So I set about expanding my down hill comfort zone rather than focussing on worrying about what I feared may happen.

Lo and behold, bit by bit, my comfort zone got a lot bigger and the holiday was a great success and involved some very steep hills – SUCCESS!

Can you think of an example of how you could apply this to your own riding?

We rode up and down these mountains, they were pretty steep but a lot of fun!

My next favourite is about not being fearful of making mistakes.

This is another example of how many riders end up restricting themselves and avoiding growth and development. 

So many people feel that they will be negatively judged for making mistakes or for being less than perfect. It’s perfectly understandable to want to get things right and avoid mistakes but it’s really important to learn that making a mistake is simply part of the learning process and it is not a reflection on you as a person or as a rider.

A confident rider will most certainly still make mistakes, right throughout their riding life, BUT they will see any errors as an opportunity to learn and will not define themselves by those mistakes but will see themselves as a “work in progress”.

If you find yourself making the same mistake again and again then it’s most definitely time to review your training and your techniques. And if you find yourself consistently making the same mindset mistakes, which aren’t helping you with the psychological side of your riding then it’s time to make some changes there too.

My third favourite for today is the one I posted at the very start of the positivity month and I love it.

It can be applied to any area of your life and if you follow through with it then you open yourself up to so many exciting possibilities.

In any year many opportunities will come your way and I’m sure you don’t want to miss out. Of course, there simply isn’t enough time to do absolutely everything but do say a big YES!  

There is so much fun to be had and so many lovely place to visit and people to meet and to find yourself regularly saying no will just lead to regret. If you do find yourself saying “no” but wishing you had said “yes” then it’s time to ask yourself why you are doing this. It may be that you need a little bit of help so that you can stretch out of your comfort zone into that world of opportunity, so just get in touch if you would like that help.

A confident rider will sometimes say “no’”, but it will be for a valid reason and not because of fear of the unknown or of what might happen but probably won’t. If you have a friend who you notice is frequently saying ‘No” to suggestions then why not gently investigate their reasons and, if necessary, suggest they seek out some help?

So see where you end up this year by saying “YES” to all the wonderful opportunities which come your way. I’d love to hear about all the things you are saying “Yes” to throughout the year.


ARCHIVES


Review of the year 2020

2020 has certainly been a challenging year hasn’t it? I don’t want to dwell on those challenges though because there have been many good things during this year and I choose to focus on these.

For Horse riding with Confidence Scotland the year began with some lovely new people getting in touch with a view to collaborating for talks, workshops and clinics and I hope that these ideas will be able to come to fruition in 2021, as lockdown has meant that they didn’t all happen this year. I always enjoy meeting and chatting with other equestrian professionals about how we can combine our skills and experience for the benefit of horse riders.

When lockdown kicked in I, like so many people, had to embrace online working and this has proved to be a great success for many clients. In fact, despite the pandemic, I have had more new clients this year than I had in 2019. I’ve enjoyed working with riders at all levels helping them to overcome confidence issues and develop a stronger mindset for performance and competition.

I have managed to get to a couple of camps with Equiteam Confidence Camps when we have been allowed to get together. These are always hugely enjoyable and the team are great fun to work with so I thank them for their continuing support of the work I do.

With life being a bit quieter during the first lockdown period I enrolled to do the Centre 10 APEC foundation course. This is a course in applied psychology for equestrian coaches and I was able to join because of my experience working with riders. I loved the 12 weeks of learning so much that as soon as it finished I signed up for the advanced course with them and I’m about half way through that as I write here today.

I have done many courses over the years in various aspects of psychology, psychotherapy and counselling but this is the first time I’ve found something specifically for the equestrian world. I have been hugely impressed with the ideas and the quality of teaching and materials so I am loving this new learning.

I have also used the extra time when things have been quiet socially to do some more writing of blogs and have been a regular contributor the the Horse & Rider magazine “Ask the Experts” column which has been fun.

My sponsored riders Jodie Neill (Eventing) and Jodie Campbell (Dressage and Showing) have done what they’ve been able throughout the year and both have continued to be a great support for the work I do. Towards the end of the Summer Natalia Mallon joined the team and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her and supporting her in re-finding her confidence and love of show jumping.

We have exciting plans for 2021 with a new online opportunity for riders to get their mindset boosted to set themselves up to make the most of 2021. This will run as a membership group on Facebook throughout February and if you would like to join in then just follow this link

In the Autumn I worked with Joanne Boyle Photography who took some lovely pictures for me to use on my website and social media. You will see her photos on many of my posts. Here is one of my favourites.

On a personal note, once again, there has been sadness in my family. My lovely Mum passed away at the start of the year. We had lost Dad in 2018 and then my mother-in-law in 2019 so we still do feel a bit raw. Mum had some happy times in her care home after Dad died but became increasingly frail and dependent until she slipped away in January.
Mum was a teacher and therefore it seems fitting that in the year of her passing I have done so much learning. I dedicate all of this new learning to her.

Mum (with the plaits) never rode a horse but she had fun at the beach on this donkey ride with her sister!