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Case Studies

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Sally and Cilla used to be very afraid of riding. Now between them they ford rivers, try their hand at dressage, gallop in the lead, ride on the beach and loads more. Most importantly, they have fun. They have very generously agreed to share their stories with you. I believe that their courage, honesty and achievements will be an inspiration to every rider.

"I was horse-mad as a child and I rode at a variety of riding schools. At each of them I was simply taught to 'kick on' to go and 'pull' to stop. I never became very proficient at anything and nothing was done to prepare me for the day a pony bolted with me. By some miracle I stayed on but I felt scared each time I rode and gave up riding soon after.

My love of horses never left me, however, although I didn't ride again for 25 years. About six years ago, I got the urge to ride again. I started to have lessons at a riding school near where I lived at the time. I loved it and was well and truly bitten by the bug again.

One day, my instructor suggested I might like to ride her own horse - a magnificent 17.2hh ex-Household Cavalry horse. I was excited but there was also a little voice inside me saying "You're not going to be up here for long". And I wasn't. This horse didn't need as much encouragement as the riding school horses and, in asking him for trot, I inadvertently got canter. His stride felt huge and we seemed to fly around the manege. I began to feel out of control and quickly went into a complete panic.

My instructor called out advice but I couldn't hear through my terror. The horse headed for the fence and I fell off. Thankfully my only physical injury was torn ankle ligaments.

The injury to my confidence was more serious. I started riding again after a couple of months but, each time I got on a horse, I was gripped by fear. Real, palpable, stomach-churning, cold-sweating, tunnel-vision fear. I would often dismount and give up half way through a lesson. Out on a hack (when the fear was greatest) I would stay on board but grit my teeth and tense my whole body until we got back to the stables. Riding was definitely no fun any more.

In 2004 I moved out of London and started my own business. Time and money for riding lessons were non-existent but I missed it and I missed the rider I had been before my fall. In 2006 I decided to ride again as I craved the company of horses as an antidote to the stress of running a business!

Sally


I started having lessons at a different school - Contessa Riding Stables in Hertfordshire - near where I now live. Maddy, my instructor was very understanding about my nerves. I learnt from scratch on very quiet horses but I was still plagued by panic attacks and fear, even when the horse did absolutely nothing untoward.

I eventually got fed up with my lack of progress due to the fear. I had read about NLP for nervous riders in a horse magazine and the idea appealed to me. I did a search on the Internet and found the Enjoy Riding website. I confess that I had tears in my eyes as I read about Caroline Putus's course and what it could do for riders. I knew I needed 'tools' to help me cope with my fears and the Enjoy Riding course was offering them to me.

I booked myself onto the two-day course with riding, in March 2007. I was apprehensive but I was also excited at the thought of conquering my demons! The course proved to be one of the best investments of time and money that I have ever made. To be in the company of half a dozen or so other riders, all sharing the same problems with nerves and fear, was heartening to say the least. Together we worked with Caroline to learn the techniques and tools to help us. Some of the course was fun, some of it was challenging but, ultimately, it was simply empowering.

Maddy was quite simply astounded at the change in me after I had done the course. I was a completely different rider and, nearly five months on, I remain so. I have discovered which of the 'tools' really work for me and I practice them and apply them frequently. For me, the techniques I learned from Caroline have been nothing short of magical! My riding has progressed enormously and I have the confidence to try new things - including riding side-saddle for the first time recently. I am aware that fear may rear its head from time to time but I will be ready for it. I am determined for it not to take me over again and spoil my enjoyment of riding and the company of horses. I feel I have shed the label 'nervous rider' once and for all."

Whatever Next?

Sally provides an update: "Who would have thought, when I came on your course in March, that 2007 would see me learning the rudiments of side-saddle, riding on a beach in the Scilly Isles and practising for my first dressage test - but I have done all those things thanks to you. My riding journey is not without its challenges but I now relish them and enjoy conquering each challenge with a big smile!"

Photo Galleries

A picture says a thousand words - here is a collection of photographs from various Enjoy Riding events

Testimonials

It's lovely to hear from people who have been on Enjoy Riding clinics, holidays and workshops. People often keep in touch and let me know how they're getting on. I get lots of Christmas cards! This is what FW wrote inside her card:

"Still enjoying riding, still riding without fear.. but with respect and loving every vital second. Blossom and I flourish together!"

Corporate Testimonials

As well as helping hundreds of individual riders, I also work with organisations to provide confidence coaching and stress management for their staff or clients. Here is what some of them had to say:

"Caroline knows everything there is to know about confidence problems." Your Horse magazine.