Not just any horse. Rocky, the mechanical horse. A Racewood Equine Simulator. I’m still a little in shock, with the help of my generous and supportive family and the belief of my lovely instructor, my business plan has fast forwarded by 5 years.
I first encountered one of these magnificent beasts in Yorkshire and I just KNEW that I was meant to work with one of these to help riders be more balanced and effective...to stop those of us not blessed with a natural ability to convert riding theory to the beautiful dance that we admire in equine athletes who do.
I grew up riding ponies who were ’challenging’. I was brave and happy in my growing skills. Then I started having lessons. I was told ‘push your heels down’ which I did. I followed the instructions literally...my toes ended up the ponies nose and I bounced around behind the movement. Lift your hand, shorten your reins, keep you leg still, relax....none of which was compatible. And so began my adult life battle with my body to meet what I was told and harmonise with my horse as I did as a kid, charging around with no saddle in a headcollar, water fighting my sisters.
The darkest day came when I stupidly overfaced me and my horse with a 90cm cross country class. Predictably, through terror and imbalance, I caused my horse to hit a fence, I hit the ground left hand first and with an audible snap as my wrist broke and what was left of my confidence with it.
I got back on board, hacked out, enjoyed the countryside and my horse but I felt I could not school effectively never mind compete at dressage, and jumping? Not a chance.
In an attempt to get my mojo back (because I still had ambition with my riding), I went on a grass roots training weekend with my riding club. I felt like a fool, and the humiliation of being told that we were only getting 5-7 in our dressage tests because I needed to work on my position was dreadful, I felt I was letting my horse down. By this time I’d ridden for 30 years and was ready to give up. I’m a rubbish rider, what’s the point?
Then I found Lisa at The Modern Horse, and Rocky. Within 3 lessons she had transformed my riding; I looked at the before and after shots and cried...I looked right for a change!
Lisa translated the traditional instruction into something that made biomechanical sense. I did a clinic with Tom Nagel of Zen and the Horse. I basically stalked Mary Wanless of Ride With Your Mind, Russel Guire of Centataur Biomechanics and Sally Swift of Centred Riding. What a revelation!
Next year I will be training as a Ride With Your Mind Coach. In the mean time I will be using my knowledge of the body, horse riding and coaching gained in my previous career to assess and correct biomechanical issues with new riders and those, like me, who have lost their way, along with those at more advanced levels wanting to refine their position.
As a (slightly obsessive) pupil of anatomy and biomechanics, I’ve studied to become an effective Clinical Massage Therapist (remedial massage, orthopaedic assessment, Rehabilitation) so I can treat those contractures of the fascia that we cannot iron out through practise alone.
Over the next few weeks I will be publishing details of my clinic opening. Please join me in my exciting new adventure. 🙂