The Confident Rider Podcast is for big-hearted equestrians looking to create meaningful relationships with their horses.
My work explores nervous system support through movement, education, and biomechanics, and helps riders transform into responsive, adaptable, and confident horse people, living their dreams with their horses.
Join me to explore the wisdom of our body & mind, through personal stories and conversations with other riders out there creating their best riding life.
"I Got Bucked Off- And Now I Have Trouble Riding Alone. Now What?" A Podcast Q&A
A couple of weeks back, I got tagged in a post on Facebook where the person in question had been bucked off and now found herself in the midst of two different riding experiences; when she is in company or with her instructor, she is fine to get on and ride. When she is alone, it’s a completely different story.
Given I had quite a lot to say on this subject (more than I could include in a Facebook comment!) I asked if I could use the question for a podcast episode, and the answer was absolutely yes. Here is an edited version of the original post:
“I bought my first horse last year. I had a few rides on her and everything was great-then one day she bucked me off. It’s the first time I’ve ever been bucked off and I’m pretty sure I gave her mixed signals and was the cause of it. I sent her to a trainer and she has been going beautifully. I also took some riding lessons with her and it seemed like we were doing ok again- until I get by myself with her.
I can’t seem to make myself step up on her when no one else is around. If someone is with me then I’m fine. She does great when I’m working her from the ground and responds to even just voice commands. But I can feel myself get nervous and tense when it’s time to step up on her. I know she can feel my nervous energy and that makes her nervous and then she won’t stand still and acts scared of me. Any ideas on what I can do to get my confidence back? And get her confidence back in me?”
In this episode, we discuss the difference between these two scenarios- and what’s changing at the level of the nervous system- and I share my thoughts on the approach I would take to move beyond the reflexive responses created in the aftermath of an accident and injury.
Staging A Comeback: Finding A Way Forward After An Extended Break Or Injury
So here’s the current state of play.
Over the last little while, all three of my horses have had some time off. This definitely wasn’t in the game plan- they have all for different reasons had some physical niggles from unrelated incidents that made me think a few weeks of paddock rest was a good idea- and now I am finding myself in the position where we are needing to begin again.
This transition space is one that I’m in conversation frequently with other riders. There are so many reasons why we might find ourselves in the position of having to regroup after an extended break. It can be weather or seasonally related; it can be due to injury; it could just be that turning your horse out at specific times of the year is something that you do. Whatever the reason, there are some pretty common stuck points that rise up when it comes to picking up from where you left off including:
Overwhelm (and consequently procrastination) Anxiety Confusion about where to start and what to focus on In this episode, I share the process that I have been going through and talk in more detail about what’s going on in your brain space when such happenings rise to the surface!
Josh Nichol: On Leadership, Connection & Relational Horsemanship
A little while back, a friend of mine sent me a video of a trainer working with a horse who was suffering from significant anxiety. I watched them work together and loved not only the principles he followed but his thoughts about what was happening, and his intentions for creating trust and connection.
Josh Nichol was the horseman in that video, and I had the great pleasure of sitting down together and having a conversation about his work, and our shared passions and interests.
Our time together covers a lot of ground; we discuss Josh’s Relational Horsemanship approach, his definition and thoughts on leadership, and the body-mind connection.
“I look at relational horsemanship and reactive or emotional horsemanship. To me, relational horsemanship means that when a horse's needs are unmet, they will demonstrate that through their physical being.
It’s our job then to exemplify what leadership feels like. So for any of us, when we feel when we have someone who we desire to be around or we look up to, it's generally not just because of the things they've done. That may be what draws us in at the beginning. But the people we see or feel a desire to be around the most are usually the ones that emanate something we desire to have within ourselves.
So I look at leadership, at its essence as a sense and confidence, an awareness that we have within ourselves, a piece that the horse desires to have within themselves as well.”
~ Josh Nichol
The Importance Of Context: Understanding Free Floating Anxiety
In this episode, Anxiety has stepped forward as our volunteer to show us just how important context is!
Case and point:
Say I am a rider who has come to recognize anxiety as a fairly familiar part of my riding experience. In fact, I am so intimate with my particular brand of riding anxiety that I’ve started to view it as a part of my personality and identity.
This presents a few different problems for me. First up, I’ve taken something that is intrinsically mercurial- an emotion- and given it a sense of “fixed-ness”. Owning it as a part of me creates a sense of permanency.
Secondly, when I DO find myself in the midst of an anxious experience, I see it as a flaw or weakness on my part (enter the Itty Bitty S****y Committee from Stage Left), rather than something I can learn to understand and work with.
And thirdly, I cut myself off from developing true understandings as to the nature of emotions and what it is they are trying to tell me.
In this episode, I provide three possible contexts for the experience of “free-floating anxiety” (you know, that anxiety that just “appears” in situations that seem to have no justifiable reason!) beginning with intuition, and ending with understanding the nature of traumatic stress and the formation of memory at both a conscious and unconscious level.
I hope you enjoy it!
The Connection Between Bodily Sensation & The Emotional Brain
It’s a raw, uncut, unedited podcast for you this week! I had planned to release a different episode, but we made an executive decision to hold that off for a couple of weeks’ time (super excited to bring that to you then!). In the meantime, I had two options:
Leave the podcast for this week and have a two-week gap Roll with whatever came up even if I didn’t have time to present it as a perfect package Given this is here with you now, I have gone with the latter. So here it is for you, my Sunday morning conversation around the nature of sensation and the relationship it has with our emotional brain and motor patterns and function (isn’t this what everyone muses over when they are having their Sunday morning coffee?).
What’s the deal with all of that? Here’s a brief breakdown.
Many of us find ourselves in groundhog day experiences with our horses based on certain feelings or sensations that arise in the body. Whilst those sensations can feel concrete and absolute, they are inherently subjective. Think of them as a mash-up of everything you have thought, experienced, or been told in relation to a similar experience in the past.
What then happens is that our body registers a certain feeling in response to the environment, and we label that feeling based on something that has happened in the past. That labeling or thought process then triggers a motor response and we find ourselves acting out the same experiences on a repetitive loop.
In order to move away from that, there are some key things we need to consider:
Our associations with sensation and discomfort in the body as a whole, and the decoupling of stories and labels around them The secondary gain we experience from what we would primarily understand as negative behavior or experience The true meaning of sensation and how we can use that to bring ourselves more into the present We discuss all this and more in this episode!
The Mystery & Magic Of The Body With Alexa Linton
A little while back I was interviewed for the Whole Horse Podcast and for the first time “properly” had a chance to talk to the host of the show, Alexa Linton. I found our conversation before and after the interview so fascinating and enlivening that I knew I had to turn the tables and invite Alexa to speak to you all on my own podcast!
Aside from being one of life’s inspiring and engaging people (two of my favorite things!), Alexa is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all things body-based; from the energetic to the nuts and bolts mechanics, she has spent over 14 years working as an Equine Sports Therapist, is in the final stages of studying Osteopathy for humans, has a degree in kinesiology and extensive experience in the energetic and healing arts.
Our time together is a winding discussion on horse and human connection, exploring the body from the skeletal to the emotional, sharing personal experiences of both, and highlighting just how incredible this structure is that we call the human form.
Worth every second
I can't rate Jane highly enough - she is inspirational, hilarious, down-to-earth, genuine and extremely competent. She breaks down tricky topics into really relatable ideas with handy hints for practical application - to horses and to life - with the in-built reminder to be compassionate to oneself throughout. She never fails to broaden my horsing journey horizons. I always have a smile on my face while listening and finish every episode feeling inspired! Thank you for being you, Jane!
I am loving these. So easy to access and listen to and reinforces everything we learn and work on in Joyride. 🤩