Jenny contacted me when she was preparing for her BHS Stage 2 exam. Below is her first email, written before the exam, followed by her report of what happened on the day...
I have always loved being around horses and a year ago I decided to go into it full time. So I'm now a working student in an equestrian centre in Ireland. I am working towards getting my BHS AI this summer. I always thought that horses were my 'thing'. But when I started working in this centre I realised how little I knew and how much I had to learn. It was very difficult going from the top of the ladder in one profession to the bottom of it in another! That in itself led to all sorts of confidence issues which were reflected by my riding. Horse riding was no longer just my hobby, it's my profession! That's quite a jump to make!!!!!!
I contacted Jo in April 2007 when I saw the difference she made to a close friend of mine (see Niamh's story also featured on the Equestrian page) My Stage 2 exam is in two days time and I knew I wasn't going to pass it unless I conquered my nerves and that was my main reason for contacting Jo.
I have received a fantastic level of instruction this year in a wonderful equestrian centre but I found my riding was at a complete standstill. I was watching all the other students around me excel and was becoming increasingly frustrated with my lack of progress. My technical knowledge has improved dramatically over the last year but that has given me more to think about while on the horse. So I had got to the point where I could no longer FEEL what was going on underneath me. I was so worried about all the technical stuff like:
- maintaining the proper contact
- keeping my leg on
- riding from leg to hand
-getting my related
- correct line to a jump
-correct stride to a jump....anyway you get the idea. So I was beating myself up every time I got on the horse for all the things I felt I couldn't do.
So a few days ago I had a session with Jo on the phone. I really didn't know what to expect but was thrilled with the results. While talking to Jo we tried to find the real root of my problem. It turns out a history test I failed years ago and a horrific lesson I had last year were two of my main issues. I know that might sound odd but don't underestimate how much 'little things' can stick in your mind. We spoke for a couple of hours and worked through many of my worries. At the beginning of the session I was anxious about everything!!! I had a list of things to tap for.But by the end I felt great. I couldn't exactly say what happened but a couple of hours previous to our phone call I couldn't think about my exam without feeling physically sick. Now I'm fine about it.
I rode today and my instructor couldn't praise me enough! I didn't tell her about my session because I was curious if she'd notice a difference. I was on a horse I'd never jumped before and we glided over everything! The main difference was that I could feel the horse again and worked through my mistakes rather than beating myself up about them!
So I have my Stage 2 exam this week and I'll let you know how that goes.......
On the day of Stage 2 Exam...
Keeping in mind that I had been absolutely terrified about this exam I was remarkably calm on the morning of the exam. I put this down to tapping. Before I left my house that morning I tapped for 'failing the exam' and 'letting nerves get the better of me'. I did a very basic tapping sequence and it only took a couple of minutes.
I had been physically sick thinking about my exam and Jo really helped me through this so I could focus on the practical stuff. I couldn't believe that I didn't have a massive knot in my stomach that morning!
Jumping had been one of my main areas of fear. When I reached the exam centre I went to walk the course and tapped the whole way around it! I tapped about my lines of approach, my pace, the height of the jumps, getting a difficult horse. You name it, I tapped for it. But I wasn't tapping for ages or anything. It was like loads of things came into my head and I could tap through a few together.
The day began with the practical session of the exam. I tacked for lunging, dressed horse for travelling and put on stable bandages etc. I felt super confident doing this and flew through it. The examiner pretty much left me to it when he saw I was competent and another poor candidate was grilled a bit because she wasn't quite sure what she was doing!
Next flat work...
I had been worrying my tension about failing would come through in my riding and I'd hollow the horse's back. Thankfully that didn't happen. I was able to just get on with it. I had tapped with Jo about people watching me ride and that didn't bother me in the least. It's actually quite difficult to remember back to when I was nervous about people watching me ride. That's the effect of tapping. Things that may have seemed like a big deal in the past, no longer cause problems.
I'm 5 foot 3 and was on a 17hh horse!!!! Then I moved on to another more forward horse for my second round. It wasn't the most graceful ride ever but I got through it. The part that surprised me was when I nearly got left behind I didn't get flustered I just got on with it. Again, I can't believe I didn't have a freak attack when presented with a course of 8 jumps on two unknown horses and it was no problem!!
Lunging...was a mess as far as I was concerned but I got through it. And it seemed worse to me than everyone else! I didn't tap for this and I really should have because it would have helped.
Last was theory...again fine.
And the result.......I PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot believe that a couple of months ago my instructors were worried about me passing this exam and I was terrified too! I have absolutely no doubt that working with Jo helped me achieve this!
Now it's May and I'm preparing for my PTT and my Stage 3. I'm looking forward to another session with Jo to work towards my Stage 3 and I'm feeling much more confident than I have previously. I'm riding better, jumping better and most importantly, nerves are no longer an issue!!!
Will update more soon.....
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