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Ponderings of an Equestrian Professional

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Why Mindset Matters to Me.

Blog title image with text, "Why is mindset so important to me? Why do I feel it is a useful tool to share with my clients?" Next to a Charlie Mackesy sketch of the boy, the mole, the fox and the horse walking away leaving footprints in the snow with the words '"One day," said the horse, "you will look back at yourself now....... and wish you could say you're incredible, don't give up"'

Do you ever feel that life has got away from you? For those of us who ride horses, maybe it feels like life is a runaway horse, you may have some steering, but the brakes have failed and you are out of control?

I once described the path of my life as a river, meandering through the landscape, with occasional areas of rapids, making it a rough ride. When discussing a rough patch with a friend who was a canoeist, he said 'when we approach rapids we can get out and walk around'. I spent quite a while trying to explain that the walk around option wasn't available to me in my life, but looking back, maybe it can be.

Many of you will know I have worked in the Equestrian industry pretty much all my adult life. My degree is in Equine Studies, I have British Horse Society coaching qualifications, I have started training as a dressage judge, and in more recent years I have trained in rider psychology and mindset coaching. This post is to explain why Mindset is so important to me.

I know lots of people encourage goal setting, with SMART goals, and I agree that having a goal is important, but it's not why I started.

I have been a groom, both living in and living out, as well as coaching riders of all levels for most of my working life.

Living in means you are always at work. A horse making a lot of noise in the middle of the night means you are up & working, no matter what your contract says, not that I had a contract most of the time.

Also, when you live in, if you leave you lose your home, and that can be really tough, as it is unlikely you've earned enough to buy, or even rent, a place of your own.

Thanks to the British Grooms Association and there campaigns to raise awareness of the legal requirements of grooms employment this is changing. Too late for me to benefit, but at least I'm seeing the change.

Bay horse reaching out to touch grooms hand with his nose, both looking calm and happy.
An emotional connection develops between horse and groom.

Whether or not you live in, a groom invests a lot of time and love in the horses we care for, whether they are top class competition horses or retired old ponies, that get tacked up once in a blue moon for the grandchildren to ride. Leaving a yard, and the horses and ponies you have cared for can be a really difficult time, as it involves losing the connection you have developed with them.

I have struggled throughout my working life, with the ending of a job. Often I have felt undervalued by the humans involved, and it has had a bad effect on my mental health. I look to myself for the cause of any failures, sometimes rightly, but not always. It always drags me down into a dark place though.

When I have an issue with my horse, I turn to a trainer I trust to help me out. One time when my life wasn't exactly full of positives, I saw the Centre 10 Applied Psychology for Equestrian Coaches course. I applied, and was accepted. Before I started the course I reached out to Sandie Robertson, who has been coaching me and helping me develop my own mindset ever since.

At the time I was struggling financially, and really felt I couldn't afford either the course or my own coach. Looking back I know I couldn't afford NOT to do it, and I'm proud of myself for taking that leap.

Having benefited so much from Sandies coaching, when I found myself drawn to Jenni Bush and her business support, again I bit the bullet and invested in myself to work with her. I still work with Sandie, and qualified with her as an Equestrian Mindset Coach this year. I feel that the support I receive from Sandie, Jenni and Centre10 all compliment each other making me a better coach for my clients.

I have learned to invest in myself, and last Christmas I bought myself a Whis 2 way radio set, so when working 1 to 1, my riders have me "in their heads" without me having to shout, and I can hear them whether they are talking to me, the horse, or just not breathing or getting out of breath. I also have both PIVO, and a PIXIO video systems, to allow me to get my riders on film, without having to actually do the filming myself. This is important as if I am filming, I am concentrating on keeping the horse in the frame and in focus, rather than watching what the rider is doing. I feel that these pieces of technology help me to improve my coaching when working with mounted clients, which is very important to me.

While my first love is coaching riders on their horses, I am also very aware of the fragility of confidence, and how rider mindset can be adversely affected by so many things, not just the horse.

We spend a lot of money keeping our horses, and we wouldn't keep them if we didn't love them, but are you getting as much out of owning a horse as you thought you would? It may be that being able to spend time with your horse feeds your soul enough to make the investment worthwhile, and that is fine. Some of us look for a little more from our relationship, hoping to improve performance over time, and this is where using mindset tools can be beneficial.

Confidence is a very fragile thing, easily lost, and hard to rebuild, and this is another area where developing a positive, growth mindset is important.

This is what I want to share with you now. We can either meet up or work online, through Zoom, and I can help you build and maintain a positive mindset around yourself, and your horse (if you have one).

I am starting a 4 week group course in November, this will help you to look back over the last 12 months to help assess where you are now. Then we will look forward to where you want to go, and work together to come up with a practical plan to get you there.

There are only 6 places on this, the first course I am running, so sign up quickly if you don't want to miss out. Click the link below 👇 to sign up.

If you would prefer to work with me 1 to 1, go to to find a time in my schedule that suits you.


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