I first discovered Ride With Your Mind in 2000. I had passed my BHS stage III exam in 1998 and shortly afterwards bought myself a nice but young and untrained horse. Two years later I just couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get her going forwards ‘on the bit’.
At the time Mary Wanless wrote regular articles in Horse and Rider magazine so I sent my picture off for analysis. I was very pleased to find out that I’d been chosen to feature in the magazine. The main part of the diagnosis was that I was riding with a hollow back and a lack of core muscle tone and my horse had responded accordingly with a hollow back!
If you’d like to read Mary’s expert analysis the article is still available on her web site at the following link: article 11
Intrigued, I booked myself onto the first available Mary Wanless course. On the first two days I felt like I was learning to ride all over again and I can’t say I enjoyed it much! But by day three the changes I was making had started to feel more familiar and the horse I was riding was responding positively. When I got home I tried out my new skills on my sister’s 21 year old pony. I had previously spent 2 years competing him in dressage before buying my horse and we never did particularly well. The change was amazing. He lifted his back, reached into the rein and it felt effortless and easy.
It turned out that my horse had some physical issues as well as my riding not being up to scratch. It took a while to get these sorted out and after this she had the memory of the pain. She had also built up some pretty good patterns of resistance due to being in pain and working through all this has taken time and patience.
Things have moved on a long way since then. I continued to go on courses at Mary Wanless's. In 2008 I started organising regular clinics in Yorkshire with Denise O’Reilly who is a senior RWYM coach. My horse has now transformed into a dressage horse. In the last 6 years we have worked our way up through unaffiliated preliminary and novice to affiliated dressage. This year we have qualified for the BD area festival. We are now training at home at elementary level.
I have also been building my coaching skills over this time. I completed my BHSAI in 2005 and I gained RWYM accreditation in 2009. I continue to attend RWYM riding and coaching courses to further my riding and coaching skills.