RIDER STORY - NYNA SOLANKI

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What were the challenges/problems you wanted Helen's help with?

Three years ago my horse and I were living in Spain and got attacked by six massive dogs, I came off and smashed my wrist to pieces. I had to have a plate and screws fit it back together and was told it would never be normal again - which it’s not. Although I have lots of support and help from my super trainer Alice Peternell, I struggled to trust my horse and to allow him to go forward. I was getting more and more tense before getting on, to the point where on the morning I knew I would be riding in the evening I would feel worried and as the day went on I would get more and more stressed, by the time I was tacking up my stomach was a ball of knots and riding was more a case of ‘challenge myself to get through it’ than an enjoyment. I was unable to remember even part of my dressage test at a show and couldn’t let go on the bad wrist at all. It was an extremely frustrating time as I just felt I had reached a wall, my trainer was able to push me to a point of getting a decent ride but without her I didn’t even want to keep riding for more than fifteen minutes and would often find myself looking at the clock wondering when I could get off! I had enough of it when I went to do a small dressage test and forgot my test as I went down the centre line and got beeped at twice, once for going the wrong way and the second time for not doing any of the left canter work and just shutting down and halting. Pretty daft when I am able to remember the tests perfectly until I get to the show!

How did Helen help?

Helen managed to help me first of all realise I was shutting down and it wasn’t just about riding a test but I was just not coping with the stress of riding on top of the stress of going to a show. She enabled me to put the accident and the fear of falling off in to the past rather than me holding on to the same fear every day and it getting worse and worse. She has shown me how to recognise when I am getting a bit worried or tense about riding and given me techniques to lower my stress levels and get myself back in to the present rather than worrying about the ‘what if’.

What were the most useful techniques/tools you learnt?

Recognising when and where my stress levels were increasing in the first place. How to plan my show days to allow my body to be ready for the stress of a show. How to reduce my stress levels quickly. How to put the issues of the past back in to the past and not hold on to them and allow them to fester and grow.

How did sessions with Helen help you?

She made me feel very matter of fact about the problems, like helping me was not an inconvenience and that having concerns were normal but they should not be able to ruin my enjoyment of horses and passion for horse riding. Also helped with changing things around and giving me a plan for the future to work with.

What did you achieve as a result of working with Helen?

I now enjoy riding and have to make sure I look at what time I get on so I don’t ride for hours. I have also started hacking out around the fields alone which my horse and I love but which was the cause of a complete meltdown last year and my horse and I managed to get our first ever BD points... at Novice! I am so grateful to both Helen and Alice my trainer who have taken on my challenges and found solutions to the issues so that I can finally enjoy competing!

What would you say to a rider thinking about working with Helen?

Get on and do it, I have recommended her to a few people now as it seems so silly that we are all happy to spend money and time on lessons and training our horses but neglect our own bodies and mental blocks - as a partnership I think we have a responsibility to look after both the horse and the rider and keep them both in good physical and mental health!