Many of you reading will be aware of my Facebook group called Horsey Mums International. When I was pregnant,it was almost impossible to find other horsey women who were pregnant too. After my son was born,I was flung headlong into life juggling a tiny baby,several horses,cows calving and also 12 suck calves to rear. To a normal woman living a normal life,this is nothing short of insanity. To equine and agriculturally minded mothers,it’s all in a day’s work. Again,trying to find likeminded women who understand was impossible,so I set up the group on Facebook. We now have the nicest bunch of ladies interacting and sharing everything from parenting tips to managing the workload,schooling solutions to sharing show and lesson reports-anything and everything. We support each other when our partners are being difficult and we laugh when yet another child has run amok with the sudocream. We understand the peace in our lives that our horses bring. We get each other.
Part of developing the group is organising events and days out for the mums. We have loads of plans for the future-training days with and without horses,get togethers with and without children and a couple of exciting things on the horizon that I won’t delve into here. We kickstarted our training days with a confidence clinic in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel on the 14 March. Our speaker was sports psychologist Lizzie Burcher. Lizzie is a sports psychologist and also works as a clinical psychologist in areas such as anxiety,depression,confidence building,ocd etc. lizzie is also an international showjumper herself and has a unique insight into the pressures and difficulties of life with horses. Lizzie currently works with athletes from many sports and has achieved great results with young rider teams (medal haul of 10 golds,8 silver and 12 bronze),tennis and cricket players,marathon runners and many others. She is helping four Olympic riders and six nations cup riders at this time. She is also competing her own string of horses,many of which are homebreds.She jumps at gp level and has competed at the YR European championships. Lizzie has helped me both on and off the horse so much,and her massively positive attitude and influence inspires everyone around her.
Lizzie started by asking everyone what their hopes and goals were,and to introduce themselves. We had ladies with vast experience,limited experience,hobby riders and international producers-a cross section like this just goes to show how much of an issue confidence is,and how many of us can benefit from training our minds as well as our bodies and our horses. Lizzie made a major relevant point that I wholly agree with-that problems with confidence in sport are almost always anchored to a problem in life. Whilst sports psychology can change your performance and in many ways improve your life,the unique edge of a clinical psychologist who is also a sports psychologist is a serious advantage and has the potential to change absolutely everything for the better. Lizzie discussed the importance of replacing a negative thought with a positive one ALL.THE.TIME. every day in every situation-not just on the horse. She looked at everything from riders who can’t let go of a bad experience or a damning criticism which filters in to a confidence issue,through to riders catastrophising and predicting dangerous situations for themselves. The lesson here was to look at the evidence to support your belief. Repeatedly it became clear that the evidence to support the claim was negligible at best-a lightbulb moment for quite a few. She looked at many other areas including visualisation, a life changing skill for competitors not always easy to achieve but very much worth the effort. Over all,the mood in the room at the end of the clinic was upbeat and positive,with ladies motivated to grab life by the balls and make it happen.
Lizzie is a level 2 HSI coach so we will be looking into running some confidence clinics with our horses too-it’s also a great excuse for a Horsey Mums meet up. If you know of anyone who might benefit from being involved in our group,look us up-type Horsey Mums International into the fb search. We have a public page with a picture icon,but the group is closed and has a brown icon. Click,then request to join. Hope to see you there!
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