RIDER STORIES

 
 
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Dressage

Rider: Alyce, Dressage
Horse: Dom, Sports Horse Gelding, 16.2hh 13yo

Background: Alyce bought Dom at the start of 2014 and quickly discovered his talent for dressage and has taken him through BD Prelim and Novice levels before most recently moving up to Medium. She has qualified for the PetPlan Championships the last 2 consecutive years.

Session Type: Skype

Goals: To reduce stress at competitions so she could improve her scores at Novice level and mentally prepare for stepping up to Medium level. How Helen Helped: Helen gave Alyce techniques to help manage her stress level, improve her focus during her warm-up and test, and techniques to slow time down during her test so she could complete each movement more accurately.

Results: Alyce has been placed at a number of BD competitions, at both Novice and Medium level. This is despite having only recently stepped up to Medium level. She has also qualified for 2016 PetPlan Championships at Novice level, having qualified in 2015 with Dom at Prelim level. Watch Alyce’s video

What Alyce said: “Working with Helen has improved my scores because I’m now able to manage my stress level more effectively and produce a higher quality test. She’s designed a structure and mindset strategy for me that helps me to warm-up and consistently ride at my best in my tests.

 

 
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Eventing

Rider: Emily, Eventing & Showjumping
Horse: Rocky, Gelding
Background: Emily has been eventing Rocky for the last season at BE100 level. She decided to take the step up to Novice as she and Rocky had a confident partnership and had been schooling over much bigger fences. So she felt they were both ready as we were finding BE100 very easy. At their first unaffiliated Novice, Emily had an accident in the XC warm up. Rocky tripped on take-off resulting in a full rotational fall, fracturing my left wrist and right hand. After just five weeks Emily was back on and jumping again. But she wasn’t prepared for how nervous she was and had developed a mental block. Emily had always been a gutsy rider, happy to jump on anything and go for it, but had become very nervous. In a training session before Pony Club Areas she was ill after jumping just 6 show jumps clear and hadn’t even thought about attempting XC fences.

Session Type: Workshop
Goals: Emily wanted help to overcome her nerves and breakthrough her mental block.
Results: Emily is now back out competing, riding well and achieving new personal bests.
What Emily said: “When I saw Helen was doing a talk on overcoming competition nerves, I thought – why not give it a go and maybe I might learn something to help me. Well all I can say is that she is amazing and can work magic! During the talk, I learnt about my mindset, how to use a breathing technique to help reduce nerves, how to overcome re-visualising the fall and how to deal with the pressure of competitions. After the talk had finished I chatted to Helen for all of five minutes about my fall and she gave me tips to take with me and use when competing. As a result of Helen’s talk and tips she gave me, I jumped a clear at a BSJA competition two days later without feeling sick at all and then the day after I jumped clear in the first round at Pony Club Area Show jumping. I then took Helens tips even further and with the help of my riding coaches, after 10 weeks from a rotational fall, I got a personal best dressage and clear XC at the Eventing Areas and was placed 6th individually and team 3rd. I cannot thank Helen enough for how she helped me as at one point my mum thought I may not get over what happened and would not ride or jump again! With the combination of Helen’s techniques and my coaches, my confidence is slowly coming back again and I am back out competing and doing what I love. I know have a complete “game plan” before every competition, which I take into the event and work through until the day has finished. From going through what I am packing to every stage of how I’m going to reach the goal I want, to keep my breathing steady and to visualising the course and slowing it down I am able to enjoy competing but, I am also getting even better results than before.“

 
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Showjumping

Rider: Nicky, Showjumping
Horse: Quincy, Homebred British WB Gelding, 15.3hh 7yo

Background: Nicky has bred and produced Quincy for showjumping. Due to a health issue, he wasn’t able to compete for several months and therefore hadn’t been able to gain as much experience as Nicky had planned. It meant that she and Quincy had to take a break from competing whilst he recovered.

Session Type: Phone

Goals: Nicky wanted a session to help her control her nerves in the showjumping ring so she could take Quincy through the levels from British Novice to Discovery.
How Helen helped: Helen gave Nicky techniques to improve her confidence and focus in the showjumping ring so she could give Quincy the confidence and reassurance he needed to jump new fences and spooky fillers.

Results: After jumping clear rounds and being placed at Novice, Nicky stepped up to Discovery and is considering stepping up to Newcomers.

What Nicky said: “Helen has helped me feel more confident at competitions and as a result my horse and I have jumped lots of clear rounds and have achieved a 3rd place in a British Novice class. I’m now competing at Discovery as a result because things are going really well.”

 

 

eventing

Rider: Rebecca, Eventing
Horse: Libby, ISH Mare 15.3hh 8yo

Background: Rebecca has been eventing for several years. She bought her mare, Liberty Bell III as an unbroken 5 year old. Rebecca backed and produced Libby herself taking her through the levels from BE80 to BE100 before working with Helen.

Session Type: Skype

Goals: To help overcome anxiety in the showjumping phase to improve her performance and results.
How Helen helped: Helen gave Rebecca techniques to help her reduce anxiety, improve her confidence and focus throughout the showjumping. She helped Rebecca improve her mental preparation by setting clear goals and creating visualisation routines. Helen also developed a rider success formula for Rebecca to use at ODEs and at CCI 1* events to help her remain confident and focused.

Results: Following her first 2 sports psychology sessions, Rebecca stepped up from BE100 to Novice level for the first time and earned her first BE point towards a CCI 1* qualification. In the next 6 Novice runs, Rebecca achieved a top 10 finish at 4 events by applying the techniques Helen gave her to help her control her anxiety and focus. Within 2 months of stepping up to Novice level, Rebecca had earned sufficient BE points to qualify for the CCI 1* at Osberton and she finished the season achieving her goal for the 2015 season. This was a big achievement because Rebecca was attempting Novice and CCI 1* qualification for the first time. It was also the first time that her horse had been asked to perform at that level.
What Rebecca said at the end of the 2015 season: “As a result of working with Helen, I’ve improved my show jumping performance at competitions and after stepping up to Novice level, I’ve achieved several double clears which has enabled me to qualify for my first 1* event at Osberton. It has completely changed my performance and competition results for the better because the techniques I’ve learnt have helped me ride to the best of my ability. These techniques have proven to be so valuable that I will be using them in the rest of my competing career.”
During the 2016 season, Rebecca completed her second CC1* event at Houghton Hall International Horse Trials achieving new personal best scores in the dressage and showjumping phases. She jumped double clear to achieve an impressive placing of 33rd out of 76.

 

SHOWJUMPING AND DRESSAGE

Rider: Sarah, Showjumping and Dressage
Horse: Connemara X TB Gelding, 15.2hh 8yo
Background: Sarah has owned her horse for 3 years. He came to Sarah with a track record for putting riders on the floor with a rear – spin – bolt habit! He was very good at going vertical, had no lateral bend and no topline. Sarah worked hard with her project horse and with patience he worked well at home but when it came to competing it was a struggle.
Session Type: Workshop

Goals: Sarah wanted to learn mindset strategies to help compete her horse who was very spooky and backwards at competitions.

Results: Sarah’s competition performances and results improved following the workshop.

What Sarah said: “I went along to one of Helen’s workshops as I was having a few issues when competing one of my horses. I didn’t suffer from nerves as such but didn’t particularly enjoy competing him as he was very spooky and backwards. I have to admit I was quite sceptical as to how much it would help. Not only did everything make sense but the way it was presented allowed me to work out what I had to focus on to improve my results. Over the following few months our results got better and we achieved placings at Novice level dressage and won showjumping classes. More importantly we started having fun rather than fighting each other! I would highly recommend Helen to anyone who wants to improve their competition performance.”

EVENTING

Rider: Becky, Eventing

Horse: Freddie, Irish gelding 16hh 12 year old. Owned by Becky for almost 1 year.

Background: Becky and Freddie competed at BE100 for the second half of the 2016 season. It started off OK, but their dressage scores left them a long way down the scoreboard. Becky would feel very wound up a day or two before competition, then on competition day Becky would forget things like her dressage test, boots for Freddie and her number. She decided to have sessions with Helen to help her relax and focus after attending one of Helen’s talks and hearing how Helen had helped other riders overcome similar challenges.

Session Type: Clinic – in person

Goals: To help Becky relax and focus more effectively so she could improve her dressage scores and overall performance at competitions.

How Helen Helped: Helen gave Becky tailored relaxation techniques to help her reduce stress ahead of competition and on the day itself, which she could use on the ground and in the saddle. To overcome the worry about what others think and to manage the pressure of the competition environment, Helen gave Becky techniques to help her build self-belief and enable her to focus on what she could control at events. Helen also helped Becky design a structured competition plan to help her feel more in control, enabling her to reduce her stress level at competitions.

What Becky said: “I now feel much less stressed before and during competitions, meaning I can enjoy myself more. As a result of sessions with Helen, I have consistently remembered all my dressage tests and feel more able to concentrate. If something doesn’t go particularly well, it doesn’t feel like the end of the world any more. Our dressage dramatically improved after seeing Helen, I’m sure because I was much calmer and more confident in what I was doing. The first test after seeing Helen nearly had me in tears because I was so astonished at how well it went, how happy Freddie looked and felt, and how amazing our partnership felt. Totally different to 2 weeks before! It is great knowing I have the support of Helen behind me. No matter how silly my thoughts may seem, Helen takes me seriously and comes up with great, simple ideas to combat them. As a result of working with Helen, we have improved our competition results, coming 2nd at Aldon International, 5th at Aston Le Walls and 2nd at a riding club dressage qualifier. I am really looking forward to working more with Helen in 2017, especially as we step up to Novice.”