Getting Back To It

Tag: Equestrian mindset coaching

Have you had a break from riding and are re-starting or looking to re-start soon?

There may be many reasons for your break. Perhaps you’ve recently had a baby or maybe you used to ride a lot in the past and life then took you down a different path for some time but now you have the urge to ride again. Perhaps you’ve had a break because you had no horse to ride for a while and there were no other opportunities available for you.

Whatever your reason I hope that you feel excited about re-starting this wonderful sport and are looking forwards to having many new experiences on horseback.

There will, undoubtedly, be some riders who simply get back on and ride away without giving it a second thought but, I suspect, there are many more who experience some feelings of anxiety and self doubt at this stage of their riding life and this is perfectly natural. So if that’s what you’re experiencing then you’re most definitely not alone.

There are two main things that I would like to focus on in this article. Firstly your past experience and secondly looking at where you are right now as you begin riding again.

When you’re thinking of riding again it’s common to think and feel that you’ve lost your previous skills both mental skills and technical riding skills. However, this really isn’t the case. All of your past riding experience is still there, much of what you do will be almost instinctive due to muscle memory and having developed an unconscious ability to know what to do on and with a horse. Of course you may feel pretty rusty and have lost some physical strength and balance but that will return pretty quickly once you get going. Do give yourself credit for all that you have done in the past, it may be a bit hidden at the moment but when you scratch the surface you’ll find that it’s still there.

One of the most useful things to do at this stage is to work out where you are now i.e. today or the day that you get back on a horse. Looking at your strengths and challenges is a useful exercise and I suggest that you write these down as this will help you to clarify where you are now and what you need to work on.

For example your strengths might be the you have many years of experience, a nice horse and a supportive family. Your challenges may be limited free time and a lack of physical fitness. So you can see what will help you and what you need to work on in the short to medium term.

Giving yourself credit for all of your previous riding and deciding where you are right now will help you to avoid the feeling of “I can’t do it any more” or “But I used to be able to do it”.

Our lives are dynamic and constantly changing and that is part of the fun of life. With a bit of hard work I’m sure that you’ll be enjoying your riding again very soon.




Tag: Equestrian mindset coaching

I’m publishing this post on 1st September 2021 and it’s an absolutely beautiful day here at Horse Riding with Confidence Scotland HQ.

I am wondering how those of you reading this regard the changing seasons and the beginnings of a new month? I know how I think and feel about the new season but I’ve been working with people for a long time so I also know that not all of you will think or feel the same way that I do.

An important lesson learned early in the career of any professional who works with people, particularly in any kind of therapeutic role, is to never assume that you know what somebody else is thinking and how they are feeling.

One of the many things I love about my job is the detective work of discovering how a client thinks and feels about their riding and their life and how these thoughts and feelings then affect their behaviour and their enjoyment of all of the things which they choose to do in life.

I wonder how YOU think and feel about the transition from Summer to Autumn?

Personally speaking, I have always felt a huge sense of excitement at the beginning of September and this goes back to school days and the start of a new academic year. I see September as more of an important beginning than January in many ways, with its sense of anticipation for meeting new people and learning new things. How about YOU?

The change of a season can be a useful time to evaluate your progress in working towards your goals. How has your Summer been? Which aspects of your riding have gone well and what are you proud of? Perhaps things have exceeded your hopes and expectations and perhaps they haven’t.

Has the mental side of your riding experience matched the technical riding experience? Most riders are very much a “work in progress” regarding their mindset and mental resilience and perhaps this is something which you can plan to work on over the coming months?

No doubt there will have been many learning opportunities from everything you have experienced over the Summer months, some mistakes will have been made and how are you going to learn from those?

How are you going to put those learnings into practice gong forwards so that goals already achieved aren’t seen as an end point but rather as a stepping stone along your riding journey. EFFECTIVE goal setting is always a motivating exercise rather than the opposite.

So as we approach the Autumn season I wonder how YOU are feeling and what your plans are. I would love to hear from you and am here to help you with confidence and performance mindset so that you can make the most of the opportunities which come your way.

The first hints of Autumn on a beautiful day



Tag: Equestrian mindset coaching

I watched, and enjoyed, the Tokyo Olympics for many reasons. I loved the excitement of the sport and, of course, the delight of seeing how well our GB equestrians performed but I think what will stay with me are the things I picked up from post competition interviews and the words of coaches and experts throughout the fortnight.

Since completing the APEC Advanced course with Centre 10 I have become far more aware of the mental training of serious competitors and was recently able to listen to reflections from Charlie Unwin who has coached many athletes at this level.

However, “Being like an Olympian” isn’t just for elite athletes, I think there are many things that we can all learn from the way they think, behave, perform and react which we can apply to ourselves in all areas of life. There is a lot to be learned from elite athletes which is applicable to horse riders competing at grass roots level and also to those who never go near a competition too!



So I will mention FIVE things which I think we can all learn from Olympians (and just for fun each will be in one of the colours of the Olympic rings!).

FOLLOW YOUR PROCESS

In just about every post performance interview I saw with the athletes they talked about having a process, or a plan, which they followed for their performance. They will have worked on this for a long time and tested it under all sorts of different conditions making adjustments as and where necessary.
The reason to follow the process is that it includes all of those things which are under your control and where it is most beneficial to expend mental and physical energy. The athletes will know how to return to their plan even when the unexpected happens so that they don’t “lose it” when something outside of their control happens.

Of course, it goes without saying that all Olympians are prepared to work extremely hard and to give up a lot in order to fulfil their goals. They may have to move abroad to train or live a long way from family and close friends and I can’t imagine there are too many nights out for pizza and a few drinks with their mates!! Not all of us mere mortals have to sacrifice quite so much but if we want to achieve then we do need to consider how our whole lifestyle affects our riding.

As everyday equestrian athletes we too can have plans and processes which we work on and which will help us to make progress towards fulfilling long term goals and dreams.

LEARN TO COPE WITH PRESSURE

The pressure experienced by Olympic athletes is something that few of us will experience BUT we can all benefit from learning to cope under the pressures which occur in our day to day lives and when we find ourselves out of our comfort zones.

Learning to be able to handle the heightened level of emotion and all the physical symptoms of our natural stress response is a game changer. Instead of being frightened of this level of emotion we can learn to embrace it and use it effectively.

This means that as a rider you are less likely to panic and “freeze” ie to “stop riding”! Instead you can learn to use your body’s stress response to help you to achieve what you have set out to achieve at that time.

SEEK OUT EXPERT HELP AND SUPPORT

Our Olympians have a whole team behind them and live in a different world to most of us. Increased funding to support athletes in their training has led to the fantastic results over many different types of sport from BMX cycling and skateboarding through to our wonderful equestrians.

As a grass roots rider, a serious amateur, a leisure rider and also as a professional rider we all need expert help and support.

Whatever your riding experience and your riding goals it is important to get help when you need it. That might be with care for your horse, it could be to develop your riding skills or to strengthen your mindset.

Rather than struggling on your own, my advice would always be to consult an expert in whatever sphere you need help.


BE AWARE OF WHERE YOUR MOTIVATION COMES FROM

This comes down to the question “WHY?”. Why do you do what you do?

Most of the athletes I saw being interviewed during the Olympics appeared to be very much internally motivated. They were there for the love of the sport, for the desire to do their absolute best.

Some athletes did appear to be working on the expectations of others with all the accompanying concerns of “Should and Musts” and these athletes were the ones I saw who appeared to be struggling to accept their results the most.

This doesn’t mean that the internally motivated athletes weren’t hugely disappointed if things didn’t go well for them. They feel that disappointment because they care so much and it is completely natural.

I saw many athletes talking about how happy they were with their performances even when they didn’t end up on the medal podium. Charlotte Dujardin talked about being absolutely thrilled with her bronze medal this year, and perhaps even more delighted with it than previous gold medal performances. I believe that this was because she knew that she and Pumpkin had done their absolute best given the circumstances and their level of training and experience.

At the end of the day I believe the greatest satisfaction comes from living according to our own internal narrative rather than according to external pressures and expectations.


LOOK AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

This was the Olympics where the mental health of athletes was spoken about more than ever before and the challenges of performing at this level were finally acknowledged.

There were well publicised mental health difficulties during the games and plenty has been said about those elsewhere.

For all of you reading this, I hope that mental health is something that you are aware of. Are your riding experiences helping you with this aspect of life or vice versa?

For many riders “horse time” is “down time” away from the pressures of work, family and life so it is important that this goes well. If the time you spend with your horse and the things you wish to do with your horse are causing you to worry and become anxious then please do reach out for help.

People like me, trained in helping riders with anxiety issues, can help and there is also the wonderful new initiative that is Rider’s Minds.

Remember that you don’t have to be alone and please do reach out if you feel the need.





Tag: Equestrian mindset coaching

I had a teacher at school who regularly gave this advice pre-exams. He said that when looking at a paper we should choose the questions first that we thought we could do best at and then to give them our very best efforts. That way, he suggested, we would gain our best marks for those questions. Then we could tackle the questions we were less certain of and do the best we could possibly do on those ones.

After the exam was over we were advised to look at the areas where we had received most marks and study those where we hadn’t done so well so that we could then learn from our mistakes and do better next time.

I guess this was my first experience of really building on my strengths and working on my challenges and I often thank that teacher for his useful advice which I still remember after all these years.

woman in red long sleeve writing on chalk board
In my school days we still used blackboards! (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com)

This little exercise is something which I often suggest to my clients. One of the most important things I can do with someone who comes to me for help with their riding, whether they are a nervous novice or an experienced competitor, is to help them to identify their strengths and their challenges.

They may perhaps have years of experience (strength) riding many different horses but still have a lack of self belief (challenge) that they can be successful in their chosen discipline. They may be new to riding (challenge)and about to set out on their first journey into horse ownership but have lots of support (strength). Or maybe they have a strong ability to stay focused when schooling at home (strength) but struggle to maintain this when under pressure (challenge).

Each of you reading this will have aspects of life and riding which you find more straightforward and others with which you struggle. Strengths and challenges can be both physical and mental and, of course, it’s the psychological side of riding where my expertise lies. I can relate to the physical challenges but I’m not a technical riding coach so would never claim to be an expert (I am happy to help you to find an appropriate coach though, as I have many contacts in the equestrian world who are amazing riding coaches).

A frequent response when we first start to look at this exercise is “Oh….I don’t think I have ANY strengths!”. My job, in this situation is to dig a bit deeper and to help you to identify the areas of your life where you do show mental strength and resilience and to then work out how you can apply these to your riding. For example, do you have aspects of your work life which help you and which you can bring over to your riding? Sometimes, a starting point is to think of the things which you enjoy doing most and it is quite likely that that is where your strengths lie.

For example you may be a rider who is struggling to feel confident enough to hack out on your own but you love simply spending time with your horse – you can consider that time as a strength and then look at ways to use that time effectively to seek out the help you need to fulfil your goal of hacking out happily.

Or maybe you absolutely love the cross country phase of eventing but see the show jumping as a major challenge (This is SO common amongst the riders I work with!). Perhaps you’re telling yourself that the XC is fun and enjoyable and then constantly repeating to yourself that you “always” mess up the SJ! Where can you make some changes in your self talk, and therefore your self belief, which will assist you in the phase you’re finding so much more difficult?

Those of you who’ve met me will know that I’m a great fan of a nice notebook. So after reading this why not get yourself a notebook (or whatever you like making notes on/in) and start by making some lists of your strengths and challenges. This simple exercise will help you to be able to build on those strengths and perhaps see those challenges change from something you worry about to something which you can work towards overcoming.

I have plenty of other exercises we can do together if you choose to seek my help so please do just shout if you’d like a chat about how we can work together.


Tag: Equestrian mindset coaching

Looking back at some of my older posts I came across one where I stated that one of my aims was to get riders to drop the “I only….” and “I just….” phrases when they are talking about the things they do with their horses. I think it’s worth re-visiting this as I am sadly still hearing this phrase a bit too often when I meet riders for the first time. Hopefully once I’ve worked with them, one of the things they learn is to stop justifying the things they choose to do on horseback and instead to celebrate their achievements whilst continuing to enjoy the process of learning.

When a new client comes to see me for their initial consultation session, or when I meet riders at talks and clinics, I ask them what they do, or wish to do, with their horses. I have lost count of the number of times riders have replied “Oh, I am JUST a happy hacker” or “I ONLY ride at home” or “I ONLY jump little fences”.

So my mission is to get people to drop the “I JUST….” and “I ONLY…..” When you qualify your achievements and the activities you enjoy doing, in this way, then you are telling yourself that what you choose to do is unworthy of celebrating and therefore you will come to believe that, as a rider, you don’t deserve praise or that you are “less” than other riders. This is simply not true.

Each of us makes choices about what we do with our horses depending on our lifestyles, other commitments, experience, the horse we ride, confidence levels and a host of other variables and we don’t need to justify that to anyone. The only thing which we must do is to look after the welfare of our horses, everything else is a choice.

Now, if you describe yourself as ‘Just a happy hacker” but actually you’re an “unhappy hacker” or you’re saying that you do one thing but actually wish you were doing something else, then that is another matter completely. It is part of my job to work out, or to help you to work out for yourself, how you can learn to expand your comfort zone, be happy and content with what you choose to do or to push yourself to compete at a more advanced level and I certainly enjoy the challenge of helping a rider to fulfil their goals.

You can apply this to all sorts of areas of life as well as riding. So no more “I ONLY have a small business” or “I JUST run a couple of kilometres” etc etc.

I’m a happy owner of two retired highland ponies.

Let’s all agree to DROP THE “I JUST….” AND “I ONLY…..”!!


Tag: Equestrian mindset coaching

I’ve had a lot of new followers recently so perhaps it’s time to share a bit more about myself and my background and what brought led me to starting Horse Riding with Confidence Scotland. 

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

My beautiful retired girls Luna and Gigha
Photo: Joanne Boyle Photography

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

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


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

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

Judy was the first of three Highland mares I’ve owned. I have her daughter Luna who was born here in millennium year plus another mare, Gigha, who I bought as a two year old from her breeder. Somehow I managed to produce two nicely mannered ponies with very little experience of riding and handling youngsters. I honestly think I got away with it because they both have inherently nice natures. Again I did some showing plus lots of hacking and fun rides with these two until they retired. Re-reading this paragraph I note that I’m doing something that I would pick up on in a client’s use of language – minimising my own skill! So I have to say that there MUST have been more than a little positive input from me to produce these two wonderful ponies!

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

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


I was quite far out of my comfort zone riding such fast and skinny horses in India!
This was a lot of fun – riding deep in the Argentinian Andes. (NB I would normally wear a helmet but in this instance none were available and I REALLY wanted to ride!)


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

If I’m very honest I feel like I’m finally learning to ride properly and I’m loving developing new skills and confidence on horseback. I plan to continue riding, and having fun on horseback indefinitely and look forward to many more adventures.

You can ALWAYS have fun on a Highland Pony.

Tag: Equestrian mindset coaching

Answering the “Why do I do it?” question isn’t always that straightforward but the answer is that I know what it’s like to want to do something really badly, but have my mind prevent me from doing it. To have doubts about my own abilities or about my ability to move out of my comfort zone. In the past I was a bit stuck and using all of the things I have learned over many years I no longer feel held back by my mindset. So, because of what I have learned about myself I want to be able to help other people to overcome their fears and worries and to be able to enjoy the things they choose to do, so much more than they perhaps thought was possible.

Enjoying a ride with our wasting energy on the “What If’s….” is a great joy


I love so many things about my job and meeting riders and getting to know them as whole people rather than a “riding issue” is one of my favourites. I enjoy that first session so very much, where a rider has the opportunity, perhaps for the first time, to talk openly about what’s going on and how it’s affecting their riding. Being told people’s personal “secrets” is a real privilege and having them trust me enough to tell me is an honour.

The next thing I really love is when a rider returns with a smile on their face and exclaims “Guess what I did!!” or they send me a message or a photo of themselves doing that very thing they used to be scared to even try. I’m smiling to myself as I write this and remember some of the people I’ve worked with over the years.

Some riders are relatively inexperienced and their fears may come from that lack of experience whilst others are very experienced and may be riding and competing at a level which demands a lot of skill, focus and mental strength. I love having a large tool box which allows me to adapt to the needs of the individual and my aim is always to help a rider to help themselves. I can’t do it for them and very often the riders I work with are doing things on horseback which I will probably never do but my wish is for them to develop their own mental skills which will allow them to fulfil their goals and to enjoy everything which goes towards being able to do that.

Then, of course, there are other practical things on a day to day basis which help me to enjoy my job. I work from home and am my own boss and can plan my own diary. I will always try my best to be flexible with appointment days and times but I do also make sure that I have times when I’m not available, plus plenty of time to do other things I enjoy as well.

I also enjoy being part of the equestrian community both here in Scotland and increasingly, thanks to social media, throughout the UK and beyond. We’re an interesting bunch united by our love for horses and all that goes along with that. Over the years, I have really loved making connections with other equestrian professionals and these have given me many opportunities to share my experience and knowledge. Just today, I’ve been chatting with a new connection and making a plan to do some exciting work together.

I keep thinking that I’ve finished writing this then I remember one more thing I want to tell you……..!!

I love that this job keeps giving me opportunities to learn more about myself, more about the human mind and more about what it takes to fulfil riding goals. Over the last year I have completed the Centre 10 course in Advanced Psychology for Equestrian Coaches which has introduced me to so many learning opportunities which I’m loving passing on to my clients. The Centre 10 community is amazing and full of hugely experienced, and interesting, equestrian coaches who are so supportive and encouraging of each other, I’m loving being a part of this group of people.

I have to say I’m very proud of this qualification !

I could go on but I think you’ll have got the idea by now that I really do love my job!

(This is an updated version of a post first published in August 2020)


Tag: Equestrian mindset coaching

One of the things I enjoy most about my job is that I get to meet so many interesting people. I am in the privileged position of enabling them to confide in me about what’s going on in their lives and their riding, how these things are affecting them and giving them an opportunity to be totally honest with themselves about their goals, their doubts and their fears.

A first session with a new client is all about getting to know each other, allowing the client to open up and to tell their “story”. Through a multitude of questions I will aim to gain and understanding of what’s going on and how that is affecting the client and their whole life, with particular reference to their riding. Some clients have many questions they wish to ask me and others have fewer but this initial session gives them an opportunity to ask me anything they wish.

The aim of this is that we establish what is known as a “rapport”. This means that we build a connection based on trust and mutual respect within a safe and professional relationship. Sometimes this connection happens almost instantly – after all we already have a lot in common in our mutual interest in horses and equestrian sport. Other times the relationship takes a little longer to establish and as the therapist I have to use all of my skills to allow the client to begin to feel comfortable and to trust me.

Usually, I find that the people who consult me already have some idea of who I am and what to expect because they have followed my work on social media and/or heard about my work by word of mouth. This, of course, makes it easier to build the rapport we need to be able to work together towards a successful outcome for the client.

I am fortunate that my background in working as a nurse and midwife in the NHS gave me masses of experience in taking a history and helping people to feel comfortable and to trust me.

Whilst the relationship I have with my clients is completely professional, it is also friendly and I will share some aspects of my own “story” as and where this is appropriate. I believe that it’s useful and important for me to use some examples from my own life, and riding, to explain an idea or to show empathy towards the client’s situation.

Of course, confidentiality is of the utmost importance. The horse world is pretty small and, especially in these days of social media, we will frequently have mutual friends and acquaintances. It is vital that the client feels safe to disclose anything they wish and to be confident that it will go no further. I have a rule of thumb which is that if I bump into a client publicly, and they approach me openly, then I will be more than happy to chat to them. However, I won’t approach them directly as I would never want to put them in a situation of having to explain how they know me if the don’t wish to.

Inevitably some clients go on to become friends, or friendly acquaintances, and this is lovely. It means that I get to hear how things are going for them after we have finished working together directly and I get to see photos on social media of their horses and the exciting adventures they have together.

I think the best way to sum up my approach to the client-therapist relationship is that it is one of FRIENDLY PROFESSIONALISM and it certainly brings me great joy.

Rapport is developed whether we meet in person……


Tag: Equestrian mindset coaching

One of the techniques which I use a lot in my work with clients, and which I teach clients to use for themselves, is visualisation. And one of the many uses of this skill is confidence boosting which has the result of boosting a client’s resilience. Does this sound good?

In hypnosis, or in general conversation, I will ask a client to re-live a super positive past experience, one where they have exhibited mental strength and problem solving abilities, and to really immerse themselves, using all of their senses, in that strong memory. Then, drawing all of that strength and self belief from the past experience into themselves, I ask them to imagine a future situation (which they might perhaps find challenging) and to note how much easier it is to mentally rehearse that future experience with all of their powerful positivity. With practice, this is a hugely useful tool for riders and can be applied to any area of life such as other sports, work or any activity.

I was recently listening to the BBC Sounds podcast All in the Mind and one of the things it was looking at was a research project from the University of Zurich looking at this very thing. The project shows that “Reflecting on Your Own Capabilities Boosts Resilience and looks at how developing a belief that that we have some power and control over a situation helps us to grow in what they term “Self Efficacy”.

So if we learn to recall times when we have shown this skill of self efficacy we learn to be able to tackle new challenging situations more effectively because we truly understand that we can do this. “A self-efficacious person is convinced that they can draw on their own powers to overcome difficult and challenging situations. It doesn’t matter whether this is actually the case, as Kleim explains: “Without believing in your own capabilities, you wouldn’t take on any challenges in the first place.” Self-efficacious people have stronger problem-solving abilities and a higher level of persistence. They also show changes in brain activation in regions linked to emotional regulation.”

How about giving this a go for yourself?

Find somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed for a short while (phone off!)

Allow your mind to take you back to a super positive past experience (it doesn’t have to be a riding memory but that would be extra helpful ). It’s important that this memory is one where you have solved problems and overcome challenges in a positive way, rather than just any old happy memory. Allow that memory to grow and strengthen – where were you? Who were you with? What were you wearing? What was the weather like? What can you hear? Perhaps even what can you smell? What personal strengths did you draw on?

Allow the pleasure of that positive past experience, and the self belief associated with it, to grow and develop and draw it into your very being.

Then look forward to your new situation and see how you can handle it so much more easily because you’re using all of that power and self belief from the past. Perhaps start by imagining a mildly challenging situation and then once you’re familiar with the technique you can use it any time you need it.

The University of Zurich study showed that “Our study shows that recalling self-efficacious autobiographical events can be used as a tool both in everyday life and in clinical settings to boost personal resilience,” 

If you’d like some help and support to learn how to use this and apply it to your own life and riding, so that you too can become more resilient, then just drop me a DM.

Recalling a time when you have used personal strengths to overcome challenges is very powerful.


Tag: Equestrian mindset coaching

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