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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.

Hi all!
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.

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Yesterday evening I was recording a short video piece with a friend which gives a couple of tips for Winter motivation so I thought I would write about this subject today in a little bit more detail.

In my opinion we have a choice about how we view the season of Winter.  We can either spend the next few months moaning about it being too dark, too cold, too wet, too muddy or we can embrace this time of year and think of it as an opportunity.  So here are my tips for some Winter Motivation.

1.  Accept that we live in Scotland (or elsewhere in the UK/Europe/Northern hemisphere) where the Winter days are short and, let’s face it, it rains a lot!  There is nothing we can do to change that.  So, as always have a think about what you are saying to yourself eg ‘This is awful’, ‘The weather is ****’!

If you’re constantly telling yourself that something is awful then that is what you believe.

So, change it round into seeing it as an opportunity eg ‘At least there are no flies!’

2.  Have a look at your goals.  How did you get on during the Summer months?  Is there anything that you need to work on?  Once again, look at it as an OPPORTUNITY.

3.  Are there any situations which you are avoiding eg riding on windy days or avoiding those shadowy corners in the arena?

Yet another OPPORTUNITY to do some de-sensitisation work.

4.  No where safe to ride?  Guess what?  Another OPPORTUNITY!

Group together with some friends and hire an indoor arena.  Make plans to ride out with other people. (You’re much more likely to do it if it’s in the diary).

5.  Be nice to yourself.

Dress warmly.

Use plenty of moisturiser and lip balm.

Wear bright colours.

Drink hot chocolate.

Go for a sauna.

Think warming thoughts.

6.  Missing the shows and events?

You’ve got it!  Another OPPORTUNITY!

Investigate Winter leagues and arena events.  Sign up and make a commitment.

Check back on your goals and measure your progress.

7.  Work on your fitness.

Use the OPPORTUNITY to sign up for a pilates class.

Go for brisk walks with the dog.

Do some strength training.

Set yourself up for the Spring.


8.  Pamper your horse.

If the weather is too bad to ride spend time with your horse instead.

Give him a good groom and thorough check over.

Adjust his feeding as necessary.

Give your tack a deep clean.


9.  And if you really can’t ride…..

Don’t feel guilty, your horse won’t mind having time off.

Enjoy the extra time with family or non-horsey friends.

Read a book by the fire.

Make plans and set goals for 2018


So, I hope you enjoy the Winter Season and do let me know how you intend to make the most of the opportunities which come your way.

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This week I feel as though a lot of hard work has come to fruition and I feel like celebrating that fact.

I’ve posted on Facebook about the things I’ve been doing with Horse Riding with Confidence Scotland this week but I think they are worth repeating for two reasons.  Firstly, to remind all of you who read this that hard work does have benefits and secondly, to remind myself that I can be proud of the good work I have done.

There have been the usual 1:1 clients, I can’t talk about them specifically due to the importance of confidentiality but those people I am seeing at the moment are making good progress and I am happy about that.

Something new for me this week was presenting a talk to the new intake of Equine Studies students at Oatridge, Scotland’s premier Rural College.  This was a challenge as I normally talk to small groups in a fairly relaxed and casual setting whereas in the college the group was about 70 students and therefore, by necessity, a bit more formal.  However, I felt that it went well and I certainly enjoyed the afternoon.  As I write this I’m waiting to hear the feedback but those who spoke to me at the end of the talk were positive and I am happy with that.  The talk came about because one of the lecturers on the equine studies course attended a talk I’d given earlier in the year as a fund raiser for an old friend who was doing the Wobbleberry Challenge, she liked what she heard and felt that the students could benefit from the ideas I had spoken about.

Later on Wednesday I headed over to Lindores to talk to the riders attending the Equiteam Confidence Camp.  I am a regular contributor at these camps and love going there and joining the riders for an evening.  This time there were quite a few familiar faces and I was really delighted when some of them said things which showed me that they had remembered, and found useful, things which I had said at previous camps.  This time we had a bit of fun and did some role playing.  Everyone joined in, and as well as riding skills the campers showed great potential in the acting profession!

The following evening I returned to camp to join them for a demo by Catriona Goulding animal Physiotherapist.  We painted three very patient horses to show the skeleton and major muscle groups and then listened to Catriona talking about how different ways of going and different types of riders affect the horse physically – fascinating stuff.  It was fun being at camp in ‘off-duty’ mode and having the opportunity to chat with everyone again.

Tomorow I am attending the KA Equestrian open day to give a presentation on the use of visualisation as a tool to help riders to achieve their goals.  I work regularly with KA Equestrian doing a monthly blog for them and sponsoring the Team KA by giving them coaching on the mental preparation for competing.

So, where was the hard work you might ask?  It all sounds like a lot of fun when I read back through what I have written!

The hard work has come through many years of training and experience working with horse riders who for many reasons struggle with confidence issues.  This has involved continued study and professional development which have allowed me to research and develop the information I share with clients either on a 1:1 basis or at a talk or workshop.  The hard work has also involved pushing myself out of the comfort zone of working 1:1 and moving into a far more public arena of standing up infront of groups of people and hopefully educating them in how they can overcome the anxiety or fears which hold them back from achieving their riding goals.


If you have read this then I do hope that it may remind you that hard work really does pay off and I would love to hear from you about your own experiences which also prove this.


So, for me it has been a very good week and, what is even better, there are a lot more good things in the diary for the Autumn months.


How has your week been?

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Well, here we are at the end of August, there is definitely an Autumnal feel in the air, leaves are beginning to turn colour and berries are ripening.


I am wondering how your Summer has been?  What have you done wth your horses?  Have you been out and about competing or have you been making the most of the light evenings and enjoying hacking out?


I have been thinking (again) about how we can all learn from any mistakes we make and how we can use these as a learning opportunity.  We will all make mistakes and it is so important not to beat ourselves up over these but rather to use them as an opportunity to do things differently next time.  After all, if we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again then we aren’t learning and therefore we shouldn’t be surprised if we don’t make progress towards achieving our goals.


My Summer, here at Horse Riding with Scotland, has been busy and productive.  I have been making the most of networking opportunities and looking into different ways of marketing my business so that I can reach more riders with the messages I have about how to ride more confidently and therefore to enjoy riding more.  In the past I frequently had a lull in the Summer months but that hasn’t happened this year.  Instead, I’ve had some talks to do and ongoing 1:1 clients to see and there are some exciting prospects ahead for the Autums months.


One of the most exciting things coming up is that I have been asked to speak to the new intake of students on the equine studies courses at Oatridge College.  Something new for me, in that, my talks are generally pretty informal but this one will involve a group of about 90 students in the college setting so I am looking forward to the challenge.


One of the fun things which I did over the summer was to have a photo competition to win a  1:1 session.  The prize went to the photo which best represented ‘Confident Riding’.  a few of the pictures were taken through the horse’s ears and I will use these as blog photos for this and future blog posts.  Today’s pic is Chloe riding Jack on their first solo hack after losing her confidence – very well done to Chloe.

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I am up an hour earlier than normal today because the dog wanted out.  Normally he can sleep for a good twelve hours but today he was asking to go out before 6am!  As it is a beautiful morning I decided to just stay up and have an early start to the day and this means that I have time to write a blog post!


I’ve been thinking about giving and receiving praise recently so decided to write about this subject.


In today’s internet society everything is constantly rated and reviewed and there are many rating sites we can look at before making a holiday choice or picking a restaurant, for example.  The same goes for choosing a service or when we are looking for somebody to help us with an aspect of our lives where we naturally tend to choose the one who has received most praise.


Horse Riding with Confidence Scotland is in the slightly tricky situation of not publishing client testimonials due to the importance of client confidentiality, an unnamed testimonial saying ‘Show Jumper from Scotland says Jane is wonderful’ is unverifiable and meaningless.  However, on a recent facebook post some riders were kind enough to make some very positive comments about how I had been able to help them and by choosing to say this publicly they were obviously happy to say that they had used my services.  Other riders prefer to keep quiet about needing help with confidence issues and choose not to share this.


I, like most people, love to receive praise and get a great boost when somebody gives me positive feedback.  I also enjoy giving praise to others for example, I like to praise my clients for the hard work and committment they show towards overcoming the nervousness which interferes with their enjoyment of riding.


Whilst enjoying receiving and giving praise what really gives me the most satisfaction is when I can praise myself.  When I can feel inside that I have done a good job.  When I can tell, by their body language, that audience members at a talk are listening and understanding what I say.  When the look on a client’s face changes from one of tension and worry to a big and genuine smile.  When I can look at my animals and know that I have done a good job with them and given them a good life.  When I can go to bed at night feeling that I have acheived something worthwhile during the day.


All these feelings come from within and I believe that is where our enjoyment of life truly comes from.  We should be wary of needing others to constantly praise us and work towards true self acceptance.


As always, thanks for reading this and any comments are very welcome.

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Just a quick post this morning to tell you about a purchase I have just made – a nice new notebook for jotting down my thoughts and goals!


Not very exiting?  Well, if you are anything like me then you love to have a nice notebook and find a blank page to be a great motivation!  From school days I have always loved jotters and notebooks, and all stationery really and I haven’t yet moved over to making notes of any significance on my phone or laptop.


I have a lot of plans and goals for summer 2017 both personally and for Horse riding with Confidence Scotland and my new notebook will help me to keep a track of them and to make sure that I follow them through and track my progress.


As I said there is lots happening with a talk at the Wobbleberry Camp at Lindores next week, a full diary of clients to see 1:1, ongoing work with Team KA and an exciting trip to Peebles to talk to Peebles and Tweeddale PC camp in early July so I need to make sure that i keep a track of everything and if you keep an eye on the Facebook page then you will see how things are going.


What are you planning over the next couple of months?  I’d love to hear about your goals and achievements.

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I was prompted to write this post as I overheard several conversations yesterday when I was on a day out not related to my work as a therapist.  However, being a therapist, I am usually aware of how people appear to be thinking and reacting in certain situations.


There were a few issues throughout the day which involved things running late and some changes of plans with the organisers having to think on their feet and remain flexible and good humoured.  Overall, in my opinion, the day was a success and involved visiting some beautiful places, seeing some wonderful sites and having the opportunity to meet and talk to some interesting people.


However, throughout the day I was hearing comments like ‘This day will go down in history…’ , ‘What on earth is going to happen next’ and ‘What a disaster’!  I wonder how the people who made these comments will remember the day and describe it to their friends?  Will they describe the sunshine, the views and the laughter or will they recall the things that went wrong and describe them with an element of exaggeration which is common in these type of situations?  Will the memory of the day morph into being a ‘Disaster’ for them?


Have a think about days you have had where there have been challenges or things haven’t gone to plan.  Do you recall that day as being a disaster or can you re-think it and recall the day in a different way?


As always thought and comments are welcome and thanks for reading this.

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It’s been a good week here at Horse Riding with Confidence Scotland and the highlight for me was definitely Tuesday evening when I met the members of Team KA for our first session working together.


I first met Karen of KA Equestrian a few years ago when she backed a young horse of a friend of mine.  I was impressed by Karen’s professionalism,  her skill as a horsewoman and her approach towards her clients.  The young horse, William, did well and I rode him myself a few times before he subsequently moved on to a different home.


Fast forward a couple of years and I was looking to make links with riding coaches who I thought I would like to work with and who I thought would complement my approach of working with riders off horse.  I contacted Karen and, to my delight, she was open and interested in working with me and we have gone on to running successful talks and clinics together.


I don’t know about you but I suspect I am not alone in feeling hesitant about contacting other professionals for the first time.  However, in my experience, most people are delighted when I have picked up the phone or sent that online message and this ‘networking’ has produced some great results all round.


Fast forward another couple of years and Karen suggested that I might like to be involved in giving some confidence coaching and support to the young riders of Team KA who are just starting out in the world of competing and this brought us to the session we held on Tuesday evening!


I am very excited about this opportunity and am looking forward very much to working with the team, getting to know them and their horses and helping them to get the most out of their experiences.  I will be writing a monthly blog post for the team and will use that to chart their progress and let you know how we all get on so keep your eyes open for that.


So looking back on this little story all I can do is to suggest to you that if you see an opportunity for making connections or developing an interest then seize it as who knows where it will take you!


This is what Karen said about our new venture on her own blog post:


“Jane has been part of the extended KA Equestrian family for a number of years now and I’ve seen how her influence can help bring out the best in riders. I’m extremely excited to have her on board to help with Team KA and any opportunity to work with Jane is a pleasure. We had our first session with the team earlier in the week and it was a huge success. We’re all looking forward to using the tips and techniques learned in our training.” Karen McConnell, KA Equestrian.


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Today I feel motivated to write a post but nithing in particular springs to mind to write about.  However, once I start writing thoughts often come into my mind which might be worth sharing.


Today is Thursday which, for me, means a morning spent at my Italian class and an afternoon in the office doing some admin for my husband’s business.  These things are interspersed with feeding and checking on my two horses, dog walking and general household tasks.  No 1:1 clients booked in today.


So why am I even telling you about my average Thursday?  Well, I’m using it as a metaphor for life (and horse riding).  Often life just trundles along with it’s routines and everyday activities and that is absolutely fine.  For me it’s hugely important to be able to appreciate the mundane and to take time to spend a few moments looking out of the window or just being with my horses (they are both retired unsound so unfortunately I can’t ride either of them).  It’s about being calm and accepting whilst at the same time seeing opportunities to learn and develop if they arise.


As well as being an average Thursday there is something a little bit different happening this evening which I’m looking forward to —-A fashion show at KA Equestrian showing their KApparell clothing range.  So perhaps not so average after all?


Can you apply these ideas to your own life?  I woud love to hear about it.

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A post on my FaceBook page today has motivated me to write this blog post.


A common scenario with riders is that in the past they felt confident and used to do all sorts of riding activities which they now struggle with or avoid completely.  For example a rider who used to jump 1m tracks regularly but now can barely pop over a cross pole or the rider who used to hack out on their own in all weathers and now rarely leaves the indoor school.


There may be many reasons for the changes in your riding such as having a new horse which is more challenging than a previous one, having had some negative experiences or an accident or a growing awareness of risk and the consequences of things going wrong for you.


The first step towards regaining your enjoyment of more challenging riding activities is to recognise where you are now (and think about WHY you are where you are now as well) then begin to set some goals which will help you to move towards where you want to be with your riding.  We all change throughout our lives and we accumulate all sorts of experiences which make us the person we are today but life is dynamic and where we are now is the starting point for where we will be tomorrow/next week/next month etc.


So if you find yourself saying ‘But I USED to be able to do it….’ I suggest that you think about changing that statement into something like ‘ I would like to be able to (do whatever it is) and I am taking the steps towards achieving that goal’  The hard work will be worth it and you can look forward to how amazing you will feel when you do achieve your goal.


As always, thanks for reading this and any comments are very welcome.


Thanks to Lindsy Forman for the lovely Through the Ears pic.