Claire Holmes writes:
I first contacted Jo Cooper in February 2005 after having read an article in Horse magazine about TFT and a case study. The lady described sounded just like me. After a run of horrendous luck, my confidence was faltering and I needed to do something before I gave up. Despite wanting to ride positively, whenever my horse wasn’t behaving I just wanted to get off. I put it down to the events at the end of 2004, which were absolutely dreadful.
On 16 August, I had to have my wonderful horse Jack that I had owned for over six years, put down.
On 18 October, one of my closest friends was killed whilst out riding after her horse-bolted when a low-flying aircraft flew overhead.
On 1 December, Freebie, a lovely horse that I took on loan after losing Jack had to be put down after collapsing in the field.
By this time my confidence was waning somewhat but determined to carry on with a life-long passion for horses, I started to ride a friend’s horse. He wasn’t used to hacking out alone and napped quite badly. It was at this point that I began to realise how big a knock my confidence had taken. This was obviously starting to transmit to the horse as he started ‘playing up’ in the school when he previously hadn’t. No matter how positive I was when I tacked up, by the time I got on him I just wanted to cry and get off. I didn’t want to stay on a horse and was always looking out for negative scenarios happening. This is when I saw the article and contacted Jo in desperation. I would have tried anything to overcome this.
Jo and I had a long conversation on the telephone and went through the scenarios in turn, rating my feelings on a scale of 1 to 10, then doing the tapping sequences as Jo told me, gradually reducing the rating. I must admit, initially I felt a little silly tapping my own body while someone told me what and where to do it, but I had nothing to lose and was going to give it my best shot. All I can say is, the difference was absolutely amazing. Next time on a horse I was back to the old me — a capable rider but not super-confident. My anxiety and fear of what may happen had disappeared — yes, I still looked in the sky every time I heard an aircraft, but my heart and stomach no longer lurched to the point of sickness.
Eventually, I bought a new horse and the first time I went out on a hack on my own - without fear, I went back to the yard with tear-filled eyes – only this time of joy. I could not believe how much I had enjoyed it compared to how anxious I had become. We have competed successfully in dressage and have jumped him – which previously I never fancied doing.
However, down to another rider’s error barging into my horse I had a nasty fall in August this year which left me virtually immobile for a couple of weeks. Initially, I thought enough’s enough. How many warnings does one person get? But riding’s a huge part of my life. When I was able to start riding the anxiety returned. Much credit to my honest horse he was really good but he was sensing my anxiety and not being as forward as normal. I was restricting him with my negative thoughts.
I needed to work with TFT. I contacted Jo again but due to prior commitments we weren’t going to be able to speak for a few days. I wanted to ride that weekend, so I retrieved the original article I had read which had a tapping sequence that you could perform yourself. As I knew how the procedure worked I did the sequence on my own until I’d rated my feelings at a low level.
I rode on Saturday — my negative feelings had gone — I was going to do it and I did. I was only positive and boy did my horse know it. We hacked out happily on Sunday in the wind and rain without a problem.
I would recommend anyone with a lack of or drop in confidence for whatever reason to contact Jo. TFT has been wonderful for me and I couldn’t imagine where I would be without it. Basically it has been the difference between whether I ride or not, it has been that big a help.
If I wasn’t riding, I’d be doing housework – and I certainly know which is best!!
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