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Dressage Bursary Winner: Phoebe Kett February Blog Update!

Hi everyone, I hope you have had a good February! As I am sure you are aware, we are in a national lockdown, not ideal for us horsey people as I am guessing everyone is as itching to get out and about as I am! However, if you have been keeping up with me on social media you will be aware that I have suffered from quite a significant confidence knock.

It came completely out of the blue and suddenly I just couldn’t get on Evita; I would stand on the mounting block shaking and on the days I was brave enough to get on I could only trot about half a twenty metre circle before freezing. So that’s when I had to start asking myself the question ‘Why can’t I get on my gorgeous Evita when there is no obvious cause to my huge lack of confidence?

This is where Jackie McCormick, a solution focussed hypnotherapist, comes in. I’ll admit I was rather sceptical about trying this out, but Jackie had been recommended to me by Olivia Oakeley, my incredible trainer, so I might as well give it a go as I was very much at a loss at what to do. I just couldn’t get over that little voice in my head that was filling me with negativity, telling me that I was rubbish and can’t ride my horse. After just three sessions with Jackie all I have to say is WOW! We managed to uncover the reasoning behind this confidence knock which actually related back to the loss of my little Rupert, so in the end it was nothing to do with Evita.

Once I got this into my head, I very quickly went from not being able to get on the lovely Evita to practicing our changes (even managing a few clean ones!) and we were off and away again. Of course, I couldn’t have got through this without the support of the amazing Olivia Oakeley who is now well known to be heard shouting ‘you will not get off that horse until you have at least cantered a twenty metre circle!’ and yes some days are better than others and I do still have some very bad days, where everything inside me is telling me that I can’t get on my horse today but deep down I know that it’ll all be fine and once I have a walk, trot and canter each way I’ll be all good to carry on even if she throws in a couple spicy moves because I do know that I am more than capable of riding Evita – it is just that stupid voice in my head telling me otherwise and it is learning to diffuse that negative voice and turn it into something positive which is the really tricky bit but I’ll

get there.

I guess what I want you guys to take away from this blog is that it is completely normal for setbacks like this to occur, it doesn’t matter if you lose confidence it is how you deal with the setback that really matters. It was just the other day I had a lesson where I was feeling so awful, all I did was trot a circle and that is ok because I still got on and did something. Each tiny step forwards is a tiny step towards that ultimate goal you have – whether that is riding at the Olympics or going for a gallop along the beach. It also doesn’t matter if you fall back a couple steps now and then. We all work with horses they’re never predictable!

Sometimes it will feel completely impossible but remember nothing is impossible if you have the right mindset towards it, learn to believe in yourself. Take that time away to tell yourself that you can do it, even if it doesn’t feel natural make yourself believe that you can do it and soon enough everything will feel a whole lot less scary. A big point that I like to remind myself frequently of is at the end of the day we all have horses because we were once those little children who fell in love with the pony before we fell in love with the sport, we all have our goals no matter how big or small but having fun with our unicorns is the priority so when it feels like it is all going wrong just take a step back and look at the bigger picture, take the pressure off yourself and enjoy it. We do this because it is fun! We have all come so far from when we first began. We got this!

P.s. If you are at all like me and struggle with your confidence, I highly recommend reading the Chimp Paradox by Dr. Steve Peters – it has changed my mindset completely.


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