Meet One Club Member Nicky
It's Harry Hall One Club member blog time and this month Nicky Caines put up her hand to feature. It's a tale of perseverance and regaining confidence even when you think there's no way it can come back again. Be brave, ask for help and find a new way forward.
Meet One Club Member Nicky
I'm Nicky and this is my beautiful pure Irish Draught mare Shadow, who is an ex-metropolitan Police horse (who slightly struggled in ’active duty’ as she wasn't keen on the heavy London traffic). So we are an unusual coupling in some ways, I'm a 5ft1 and she is a solid Irish Draught standing at nearly 17hh!
I have had Shadow for four years, we started out going great guns, regularly attending clinics and training sessions but she was never very confident hacking alone, so I mostly stuck to hacking out in company. Then we had a couple of really minor scares which really shook my confidence. I started doing the stupid thing of panicking and getting off, I'm, little she's big, so not sensible really with my little legs, getting back on became near impossible!
After some considerable time, and then the unexpected loss of her hacking buddy (our beautiful Roddy) I started to realise I had a real confidence problem, and of I couldn't find a solution, I would be forced to do the unthinkable, sell Shadow and buy a confidence giving happy hacker!
Finding a new way
I had been following and watching the Karl Greenwood confidence videos on Facebook, and he made the interesting announcement that he wanted to begin an online trial group for his course, The Ultimate Rider Confidence. I thought I've got to do something and he sounds like he knows what's he talking about so having nothing to lose and everything to gain I signed up. With the hope that I could sort out myself and get back to enjoying riding Shadow.
WOW, is all I can say. The course has been hard work, but has given me a simple step by step approach to overcome my fears and worries, and also got me to look at my whole life and attitudes towards confidence and assertiveness in life. Step by step I have grown in confidence. I was still struggling to get Shadow to hack alone confidently, she was planting and refusing to move, and when I tried to positively ride her forward she would just reverse, it progressed to the point where if I got off, I couldn't even lead her along. But again the course encouraged me to open my mind and to seek the right help to turn to. For me, the right help came in the form of Jason Webb, I felt I had tried all the traditional methods and decided I must try something different, as Shadow had already done all the Police training, she was already very well desensitised to most things!
I booked the session with Jason Webb, I was so excited to see how he could help Shadow. I was really nervous when I got to Jason’s Horsemanship Center. I couldn't even convince myself to get on Shadow, I lead her in hand around the arena. Jason came down and sat on top of the mounting block, so I couldn't get on and asked so what else was worrying me. I found myself blurting out that it was just the planting/napping, what was going to happen when I did get her going? This was it, the ’light bulb’ moment I had been worried about, I was worried about putting all this energy into making her go, that when I did get her going how would I be able to stop this is horse?
So although it seemed crazy, the first exercise Jason got me to do was teach Shadow a new way to stop. I know it sounds odd, teaching a horse I can't make go, to stop, but straight away my brain would allow me to actually ride her forward confidently because I knew I could stop confidently if I needed to.
And oh my, what a difference, we are now hacking solo, and I have my beautiful horse, back doing the job she loves.
A final thought
I guess my journey highlights that a true sign of madness is to keep doing the same thing, and expect to get a different outcome. Be brave, ask for help and find a new way forward.