• Positive about riding and horses!
  • NLP Sports Psychology
  • Working With Us
  • NLP for Riders
  • Books & Resources
  • Archives
  • Categories
  • Archive for the ‘News, Views & True Stories’ Category

    Finding a stolen horse

    2011 - 05.19

    The trauma of a stolen pet would be too much for many people, let alone if it were a horse.  The story of Idaho gives some suggestions and inspiration for anyone who may find themselves in this situation.  

    The victim has set up a webite with advice about tracking animals and working with the police and other organisations, albeit UA based there is some useful information here, although I hope you never find yourself in her situation..

    UK contacts will be added here later

    Tsunami dog survives

    2011 - 04.04

    Tsunami dog survives – a BBC good news story that reminds us of the impact of world disasters on domestic animals too….  All animal lovers will be cheered by the happy story that a dog was rescued 3 weeks after the Tsunami off the roof of a house floating out at sea. Amazingly it is well and the clip is worth seeing :  BBC News clip   (more…)

    Backing Youngsters – fast or slow?!

    2011 - 04.02

    Probably the most important event in a young horse’s life is how it is first backed and ridden away.  The phrase ‘breaking in’ has now been abandoned, for maintaining and winning over the spirit and temperament of the youngster is as important as how it carries and obeys the rider.  

    For me, Natural Horsemanship’s claim of joining up and backing a horse in 20 minutes, is a short cut too far.  It also does not work too well with the sharper temperament of a bright, fit thoroughbred or warmblood type!   They need to learn to use their bodies differently with a rider than they do when loose with other horses.

    When backing my youngster Connie  I will be working with Greg Drummond and we will probably take 20 days over the process.  This allows the horse time to mentally process the developments day by day and for a very gradual introduction of the different steps. 

    She will then be turned away for a month, then be ridden again for another month and so on, allowing her body to adjust to the changes. Follow Connie’s progress here.

    Greg was brought up on a TB stud farm in New Zealand, and has developed his own process to slowly back youngsters over many years.  He is in much demand in racing yards in the South West, and will be coming over to the  Surrey/Sussex area over the summer to back Connie and some others in the area.  If you know anyone with a youngster to back at their own yard, please contact me.

    Jump with confidence

    2011 - 03.11

    Jumping with confidence is a block for many riders at some part in their riding career, and luckily it is an area where NLP coaching can make a significant difference.  It is particularly important to work with an experienced coach with a good understanding of horses and training as part of working together is to develop new behaviours.  The following true story is about an experienced rider and demonstrates how NLP can be built into riding lessons.  

    Breaking a cycle of lost confidence in horse and rider

    Jenny used to love jumping, but a series of incidents had left both her and her mare nervous at the thought of jumping. The horse would sweat and start napping, if they went near the jumps in their schooling field. Of course this made Jenny tense and nervous too and the cycle just escalated.

    It was important to break the cycle with a change of states – for once the rider has changed her emotional state from fear to confidence, the horse will quickly follow.  This is a key part of  why an instructor can ride their pupil’s horse better than they can!

    In our first session together I asked Jenny to remember a time when she had really enjoyed jumping – a magic moment. She described it to me and by asking questions about it we intensified the memory. Then we ‘anchored’ it so that whenever she pressed her thumb onto her forefinger the memory and the feeling would come back. It was easy to see it had by the way her posture changed and her face lit up!

    By using it during the lesson she was able to keep the good memory as she came to the jump. The horse, of course, picked up Jenny’s new found confidence and relaxation, so she also calmed down and relaxed significantly and we were able to work over trot and canter poles.

    As we moved to small jumps, Jenny admitted that she was seeing a horrible image of crashing among poles, which was interfering with the good anchor we had set up. 5 minutes later the ‘collapse anchor’ technique to shift it left Jenny incredulous! ‘I can’t believe it, it’s just gone’ she said! Try as she would, she couldn’t get it back either…..  They finished that session with some low jumps approached in trot and canter, a huge smile on both their faces!

    Note :

    This example summarises just one aspect of the relationship between instructor and rider. NLP techniques need to be used in context and with regard for horse and rider safety.  My pre-assessment ensured that the issue with jumping was not due to back soreness, poor fitting tack or other issue with the horse.   I was able to assess the rider’s competence and balance.  Therefore, in this situation as an experienced instructor I  knew that the jumping would be safe, enjoyable and appropriate for the horse and rider at their stage of training.  Please beware of working with these techniques with people who are not qualified – or insured - to train riders and their horses.

    Keep learning – UK workshops & clinics

    2011 - 02.26

    Any top rider will tell you that they are still learning – so we are helping to build a website of open workshops and clinics for riders, instructors and horse lovers – all over the UK.

    This is because in her work as a sports psychologist for riders, Liz Morrison has found that a focus on self awareness and learning  is a great way to build confidence and work towards goals. It also helps to build the humility and openness that horses need from their riders. 

    The new website will be open to genuine equestrian specialists and organisations to publicise their workshops and clinics – Please ask your instructor or riding club leader to send us details by emailing us here.  It is being optimised to make it very easy to search by county and topic.  Please let us know the sorts of courses you are interested in attending too by registering with us here – we will email you when courses are added.  (more…)

    Horses helping young people

    2011 - 02.26

    Darcy Day had just come to the yard , a neglected racehorse, saved by a  charity run by Helen Yeadon.  Despite how ill Darcy was, the mare was able to make a connection with a silent child who had not spoken in 2 years.  Read this extract of Greatwood’s work with horses and young people from the Daily Mail - and see below to buy their new book. (more…)

    Blocks about jumping just vanish…

    2011 - 02.11

    Visualisation coupled with working with metaphor is a powerful combination of techniques for understanding how our pre-existing beliefs are blocking us from doing what we want.  For professionals in the horse industry this can have a significant knock on effect on their work and can spiral out of control.  The following example illustrates how intervention with a coach who understands the issues can have an immediate effect. 

    Working with visualisation & metaphor

    Mel loved working with horses and had set herself the objective of taking her British Horse Society exams with a view to becoming a BHS Assistant Instructor (equivalent to level one International Instructor). The problem was, when she came to jump, or even think about it, even the smallest fence would look like a huge brick wall. And it was definitely not jumpable!  On one hand she wanted to jump, but then she would just panic and pull up the horse.

    She came along to one of our one day courses, and volunteered to work with Liz  Morrison to demonstrate how NLP helps change such unwanted behaviours. We started with Mel describing the imaginary fence, and went into some detail about how high it was and the colour of the bricks. This was about developing the visual imagination. We made it higher and wider and then put it back to its original size – This gently loosens up the ‘stuck’ thinking - for the imagination is a wonderfully quick at making such changes!

    Liz then asked Mel to look more closely and she realise that in fact the bricks were so perfect in their repeating pattern that they had to be wallpaper. With the earlier stretching of the jump to being bigger and wider, she had brought the image to conscious attention and therefore in her control. So what would she do with the wall now?

    We considered whether she should just burn it down, jump through it like the police horse demonstrations or trample it down or whatever. She decided that she would dowse it with water until it became a soggy mass.  With the jump dissolved, she was able to think about jumping in a really positive manner and there and then she  happily booked a lesson for the next day!  Everyone in the room could see that she meant it, she was so happy; her old fear really had gone in the space of 10 minutes!

     She rang Liz the next day to say how well the lesson had gone, how the old brick wall had never even appeared and how much she had enjoyed being able to jump again. A few weeks later she passed her Stage 2 and several months later rang to say that she had just passed her Stage 3 – she was well on track for her goal again.


    By bringing the issue to her conscious attention , Mel had asserted her control over it and such was her motivation that it just took this simple intervention to get her back to where she wanted to be.  Other parts of the one day workshop included further coaching to ensure that the changes being made are congruent and build motivation.

    Homeopathy v surgery

    2011 - 02.06

    An article about one of my experiences of homeopathy came out recently.  n the comments it generated it is interesting to see the anger that the few antis have to the concept of anything less than ‘science’  being used.   The horse was being monitored by expert horse vets using the latest technology.  Homeopathy, prescribed by a vet, triggered the reaction we needed without surgery.  The science these people need to understand is Quantum  – and to understand that we do not have all the answers yet!!   Text of the article is below

     Keen show jumper and BHS instructor Liz Morrison was very concerned when her horse Todd came in from the field with a thorn embedded in his lower leg.  Todd a 16.3hh part bred Hanoverian show jumper was put on box rest but only part of the thorn could be removed. The leg began to swell and his vet monitored the injury by scanning the leg every two to three days.

     Scanning confirmed Liz’s worst fear; that the thorn interfered with Todd’s tendon. Surgery at this point was suggested but Liz decided against it. The situation remained the same over the next ten days and the thorn became engulfed in a cavity as the body reacted to the foreign body and tried to isolate it by healing around it. 

    At this point Liz was unsure of the next step so decided to contact homeopathic vet Nick Thompson to see if he had any suggestions. Nick immediately came over to assess Todd and prepared a homeopathic medicine which included high potency Sulphur and low potency Silica.  The swelling seemed to subside and three days later Todd had has his leg scanned again. The scan left everyone speechless as it revealed that the thorn had completely vanished and the cavity had reduced in size and appeared to be healing!

    Said Nick Thompson: “I was delighted to hear the news that Todd had responded so well to the homeopathic medicine and was able to return to full work without any damage to his tendon.”

     Added Liz: “I think it is amazing that the homeopathic medicine eradicated the thorn so quickly, I am so grateful Todd didn’t need surgery and made a full recovery.”  Liz has since used homeopathic medicine on several of her horses when traditional veterinary medicine is not yielding the desired results.

     The British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons (BAHVS) offer a service to animal owners seeking homeopathic help and can supply names and addresses of veterinary surgeons with homeopathic qualifications. For further information please visit www.bahvs.com.


    2011 – plan to progress!

    2011 - 01.31

    Joining the UKCC level 3 training before Christmas reminded me of how useful it is to have simply thought through what you really want to achieve with your horse this year.  

    Think about the stage you are both at, imagine where you would like to be by late autumn, and then think about the steps needed in between…  If you have a spare calendar or can create a spreadsheet, put down those key competition dates and all the qualifiers…    Then add in any holiday plans, things that might interrupt preparation like flu jabs and work or family events…  

    As the picture of the year builds up, you may decide you need to adjust your plans or realise how early you need to start because of other influences.  So you will have time to make some adjustments and can start to get the training you need booked in too. 

    I did this for a little horse I have  who  can be rather spooky and lacking confidence.   I realised I had been putting off taking him out, yet he should be able to do a nice elementary test if we could get used to working in some new venues.  So last Saturday we went out for a novice test and just got 6′s throughout because he was tense and made a couple of mistakes.  I’ll taking him back to the same venue a few times, then another and see if he can relax a bit more….


    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

    Join other followers: