How momentum is affecting your ability to see things through!

You know those times when you are really busting it out and doing your best. You’re being more positive. You’re working really hard to stay focused. You’re trying your hand at something new. And yet things aren’t still coming together?

It can easily feel like things aren’t working out and well, what’s the point?! But I want to tell you a little bit about momentum and lag time… and to encourage you to hang in there that little bit longer!

xx Jane


Managing Your State in Competition

When it comes to competing, or performing in high-pressure situations, being able to manage your emotional state is critical. In sport, the arousal state refers to the ability to manage your heart rate within a certain range- a range that ensures that we are performing both mentally and physically at our best. Obviously, the variability of this range changes depending on the sport in question, but what we do know is that we are always looking to keep our heart rate below 120 beats per minute.

I understand if this all seems a little specific (and possibly even a little boring if you aren’t into the nitty gritty of it all #geekalert) but whilst we may not be able to measure in the moment exactly what our heart rate is (or even want to for that matter), what we can all almost certainly appreciate is the result. Leaving our optimal zone has consequences on our brain function which yields some common signs and symptoms; loss of focus, clarity and the ability to make clear and rational decision to name a few! Not ideal when we are out there in the ring!

Whilst few of us are gifted with the kind of control that allows us to control our heart rate, what we do have control over is our breath. Your ability to control and regulate your breath then becomes your super power in exerting control over both your heart rate (the respiratory and cardiovascular system are intimately connected) as well as brain wave activity. It’s the most tangible tool that we have to manage our physiology and our emotions to ensure that we are in the optimal zone for training and competing.

One of my favourite breath techniques fit for purpose is the 1:2 breath ratio. It’s very simple to practice. Breathing to this ratio mean that if you means that if you have an inhalation of 4 counts, you want your exhalation to be 8 counts. If you have an inhalation of 6 counts, you want your exhalation to be 12 counts. You are doubling the length of your exhalation comparative to your inhalation.

This is a really easy, invisible and highly effective tool that you can use at any stage. You could use it when you are waiting for your turn in the competition arena, you could use it if you feel like you are getting a little disheveled and off centre in training; at any point that you feel as though your thought processes are getting a little “out of hand” in relationship with what you would like them to be, bring in this 1:2 count breath ratio and I guarantee you that you will start to turn things around.

xx Jane

Making It Count When It Counts

It’s funny how you can really, really love something that makes you feel at the same time like you might actually be sick. I think there are very few things in the world where I could safely pair those two qualities together with confidence. Love and an intense feeling of nausea. But when it came to riding in competition that is most definitely how I used to feel. I loved it, but the enjoyment was always something that came later, once the plaits had been taken out and my horse was peacefully munching his hay by the side of the truck. It was then, when I finally took a breath out, peeled off my jacket and plucked out the two million bobby pins that were required to keep my mountain of hair in some form of control under my helmet that I allowed myself to unravel. This usually happened at the same time as I was eating some sort of toxic looking sausage from the nearest food van, but details details. Enjoyment at competitions for me was like a mist; it was all around me but I couldn’t never quite grab hold of it.

It’s not that I didn’t experience success, or that I felt like I didn’t have what it took to make it happen. I did. I really did. I believed in my horse, I worked hard, put in the training, got the lessons. There was really no viable reason for me to feel so nervous- but that didn’t stop the fact that I did.

As I competed from an early age, I had a lot of time to think about this. And to notice the effect, not only on my enjoyment, but also on my ability to ride the way that I knew I was capable of. How could it be, I asked myself, that I could ride a test in the morning and a similar test on the same horse in the afternoon and experience a completely different result? What had changed (aside from the fact that I have possibly eaten another sausage) between those two periods? It most certainly wasn’t my skill level. And it wasn’t the ability of my horse. It finally dawned on me that the only thing that had changed from the test that I rode at 9.30 am and the test that I rode at 3 pm was my mindset.

Do a little experiment with yourself now. Think back to a time in your riding or in your competitive life where you were really on the money; a time when you were out there, wishing it was the Olympic qualifier you are so dang hot right now. Got that? Awesome.

Ok, now sorry to do this to you, but I want you to have a quick think about a time when things were perhaps not so hot. Perhaps you were feeling like nothing was going to plan, like your left leg may actually be detached from the central functioning unit of your brain because it was basically doing its own thing and as you rode down the centre line, or jumped the jump or rode the pattern, it was like you were doing so blindfolded, with something in your ear. I might have got a bit enthusiastic there but you get the picture.

These experiences can happen days or even hours apart, within spaces of time where the difference in the result that you are able to produce has nothing to do with your level of competency or your skill set as a rider and has everything to do with the mental and emotional framework that you are operating from. Your skill level hasn’t changed, it’s just that the outcome of that particular ride is compromised because your reactions will be dictated in the wrong emotional language for what is required; things will act and behave differently coming out of you and as a result, everything changes. You are not in a state where you were able to access the answers and produce the results that are required for the environment you were riding in.

Once I understood this- like really understood this- it was like hitting the jackpot. I knew that as long as I continued to put the hard yards in physically, if I continued to ignore the fact that my mental fitness was in fact the biggest impediment to my success, I was never going to get very far. In fact, I was going to be going round in circles.

The fact is if you are experiencing results that don’t reflect what you know yourself to be capable of- and it might even be that they are really good results but you know you can do better- then what needs to change is your mind. You need to take your mental training as seriously as you do your physical training.

Building the muscles of your mind works in precisely the same way you build the muscles of your body; with use and with practice. You wouldn’t rock up to compete at a 10km running race having only ever gone for a quick jog the night before. Or if you did, you would know your chances of producing a stellar result would be compromised. Yet this is the exact thing many of us do time and time again at competition. We know we feel a certain way competing. We experience it time and time again, and yet we continue to just hope things will magically get better. It’s bonkers.

In order to create a change in your experience, the first thing that has to change is you. Investing in your mental strength and developing focus, fortitude and mental power will infinitely accelerate your progress and ensure that you can consistently produce the results you are capable of. You will be in control of your state, and as a result, you can ask the right questions of yourself under pressure to produce the answers that you want on the day.

The beauty is the confidence, optimism, focus, fortitude- these are all skills, skills that can be easily learned with a little bit of dedication and practice. And the learning always starts with the decision to no longer tolerate the challenges that you are experiencing that you know are holding you back. In their place, we are then free to embrace new behaviors and rituals that will allow us to continually manage our mental and emotional framework and as a consequence showcase the skills of both our horses and ourselves when it matters to us most.

xx Jane

Lacking Motivation to Ride

Alex says:

I have no motivation! I still want to ride and think to myself every day “I am going to ride today and we are going to work on something specific”, and then when it comes down to it, my attitude changes to, “maybe tomorrow… it looks like it might rain… I have a headache coming on…” So many excuses! Is there anything I can do?

Hi Alex,

Thank you so much for your question. I know that a lack of consistent motivation is something that many riders struggle with. The reasons behind why this is the case is usually individually specific, and can also trace back to past experiences or negative beliefs and associations.

In this blog, however, I am going to keep it really practical and outline a few “likely culprits” for you in the hope that you will identify with one or a few of them and be able to create a much more inspired path forward!

1. Reconnect with your purpose

Lack of motivation can arise when we become disconnected from our purpose, when we have lost sight of why we are doing what we are doing in the first place. When we are divorced from our “why”, it is much harder to create the “what”, and we need both in order to create an effective, solid and uplifting strategy for the future.

Start first with your why; why do you ride? Why do you have horses? Why is it that you do what you do?

Reconnecting with why you ride in the first place will also give you something tangible to compare your current riding experiences against. For example, if you ride for the pure joy of it, but at the moment you aren’t having much fun at all, you are denying one of the basic values that motivated you to ride in the first place. If this is the case, all is not lost; quite the opposite! Instead, you now know what you need to adjust and alter in order to ensure that those core values or intrinsic drivers are present in your riding activities and relationships.

2. Keep it simple

In order to create momentum and ensure that you are aren’t feeling discouraged or overwhelmed at the thought of riding before you even get there, I would work to ensure that you have a really clear outcome for your ride that was achievable for you and your horse. You can stretch yourself if you feel the need, but for the moment concentrate of creating markers for yourself that are tangible and achievable targets. Essentially, set yourself up for success! The more “good” rides you have, the better you are going to feel about your riding experiences and capabilities. I’m not suggesting that you don’t aim higher in the future, but for the moment make your aim to create momentum; having enjoyable rides with successful outcomes is the best way to make that happen!

3. Have a talk to your future self

Usually, when we make a decision and create a strategy for the future of our riding, we do so from a very reasoned and intelligent position. We have looked at the facts, understand what is needed and are committed to following through with what is required. If we find, however, that the moment we step outside are are failing to put that plan in action, then we are allowing our current mood to override what it is that we ultimately want, and it is in this moment, in this moment of decision that our greatest power lies.

If you go outside to ride and you find you are talking yourself out of it, assess whether this is something that your future self if going to want and be proud of. We have made a decision to get out there and ride based on our dreams and aspirations, and we have an idea of what we want our future selves to look like or be capable of.

If in the moment you decide, uggh, I know, I know I should ride my horse but I really don’t feel like it, take stock of the moment and think intelligently. Think about what it was in the past that led you to decide that you need to ride in this moment and what that is going to create for you. Connect to something bigger than the present moment. Refuse to allow your mood to cast the ruling vote in a situation that ultimately you know you are going to regret later.

4. Make yourself accountable

Create a situation where you make a commitment to someone outside of yourself, and then arrange to report back to them once you have followed through. In many instances, it becomes easy for us to become a bit faffy because there is not immediate consequence to our actions; so no one will really see whether we ride or not, and maybe we even keep it to ourselves just in case we don’t actually ride when we say we will. Enough of that! It’s not about becoming militaristic, but it is about setting an intention and then developing the consistency of action that allows us to follow through. Tell someone your plans and then let them know once you’ve done it!

Let me know how you get on!

xx Jane

The Magic of Focus

Your focus determines your reality.

It might sound simplistic, but it’s true. The basis of it is this: whatever you choose to focus on you give meaning too, and as soon as you assign meaning you assign power. Experience only becomes positive or negative once you assign meaning, and the meaning that you assign is a direct result of your focus.  Meaning either lifts you up and drives you forward, or brings you down.

The real skill then, lies in your ability to continually control and direct your focus and to put every situation and event into an empowering context. 

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. If you are choosing on a regular basis to focus on what isn’t working in your riding or your life, then more of what isn’t working is going to appear. Why? One of the universal habits that we have as human beings is that we are creatures of deletion. Our unconscious mind is capable of processing so much information from our environment (it’s something crazy like 3 million pieces of information per second), that it would quite simple send us loopy if it all filtered through to our conscious awareness (which conversely can only manage 6 or 7).

As a consequence, we pick out only a handful of things to bring to the forefront of our minds, and what we pick out is based on two primary components; our focus and our underlying belief systems about who we are and what we are capable of. If we choose to direct our focus on all the areas of our riding where we feel lack, displeasure or discomfort, then all of the existing forces that would ordinarily naturally oppose this- ie the areas where things ARE working- seem to magically disappear. That don’t support the framework that we are choosing to operate under and as a result we delete them from our conscious awareness altogether.

That’s the power of focus.

Let’s talk about some ways that you can apply the Super Power that is Focus to your benefit and not to your demise!

1.     Focus on what it is that you want

Most riders that I work with are exceptionally gifted at articulating what it is that they don’t want and not so good at clarifying what it actually is that they do want. As a rule of thumb, think of constantly directing yourself towards that which you are looking to create or manifest, rather than moving away from something that you are wanting to avoid.

For example, if I was to ask you what it is that you are wanting from your horse at the upcoming competition, and your answer was that you didn’t want him to be tense or anxious, you have already formed a negative focus. What you are actually wanting is for him to be calm and relaxed. How you choose to phrase what you desire will determine your focus as well as the associated images that play over in your mind when you think about the event.

Move towards something rather than away. Focus on what it is you want.

2.     Focus on what’s happening right now

If you want to harness a super power, harness the power of being in the moment. If you focus is too much in the past, or projecting into the future, you can’t be offering forward the best version of yourself in the current moment.

Set your goals and work towards them with determination and dedication, but as soon as your bum hits the saddle, deal with what’s in front of you. Be the rider that your horse requires you to be from moment to moment, and focus on responding to their needs with leadership and compassion.

You can’t be two places at once. You can’t be here and there at the same time.

Always focus on the next right move for you and your horse.

3.     Train yourself to focus on the positive

This doesn’t mean becoming Mary Poppins (although, frankly, she had a lot of good things to say!). Positivity is not a fixed state, but rather continuous positive action. It’s the ability to draw on the resourcefulness that you have inside of you and the means to continually ask yourself empowering questions.

What do I need to do in this moment to move forward in the best manner possible?

How do I need to behave in this situation?

What resources can I draw on that will help me progress from where I am now to where I want to be?

Positivity. Self-belief married with consistent positive action.

In the thick of it- Dealing with Criticism

I’ve been trying to think of a specific example to share with you of times where I have been deflated by criticism- and there have been many times- but I couldn’t actually remember exact words or conversations. Instead, I remember feelings. That sensation in your gut when it gets all tight and you feel like you might be sick. The stinging disappointment of someone interpreting your well intentioned efforts the “wrong way”. The prickly heat in your cheeks when you have put yourself forward and experienced judgment or ridicule as a result. There’s no two ways about it; it really sucks.

For a while there, I thought that maybe I needed to develop a thicker skin. Toughen up. Care less. Maybe develop my own gang sign and say “whatever” a lot. But the reality is, that’s not who I am. And what’s more, it’s not what I want.


When people say to me, “I just need to toughen up” or “I need to get a thicker skin”, part of me yells no! We don’t need riders who are tough, uncaring, thick skinned and irreverent. It’s ok to care what other people think; it’s shows compassion, empathy, kindness, concern. All excellent qualities. The problems arise when we allow the thoughts and opinions of others to inform our decisions and our actions; the problem arises when we allow the dreams that we want for our riding to be unduly influenced by outside forces.

The reality is, as soon as you move outside of your comfort zone; as soon as you do anything that involves expanding yourself as a rider, competing, riding in front of others, taking lessons, you open yourself up to criticism. It’s the nature of the beast. Do more, experience more- the good, the bad and the ugly.

The funny thing is, there have been times where I have been the target of criticism and it has had very little effect. Water off a duck’s back. And there have been other times where I have wanted to go and hide in a cupboard. In a large box. On the back of the truck driving me far, far away. When I think about why this is, it usually has very little to do with the person doing the criticizing or the actual criticism itself; instead it taps into a part of my psyche that is already feeling a little bit fragile. It taps into the part of me that thought maybe I wasn’t… enough.

For instance, if you attend a competition or clinic and harbor thoughts that you are out of your league, don’t deserve to be there, or aren’t good enough, chances are any criticism that highlights this part of you is go to hurt. Why? Because it’s scratching up against an unhealthy thought process that you yourself have been nurturing and cultivating.

Criticism itself is not the problem; the problem is the negative, limiting and destructive beliefs that we hold. The criticism simply shines a light on the parts of ourselves we like to pretend isn’t there.

The solution is actually very simple and very challenging; to develop into the kind of rider who can deal effectively with criticism you have to feel good about yourself. If you can get to the point where you feel good about yourself, your intentions and your riding, criticism becomes like oil to water. You can see it, it’s distinct, and you can separate it out from the main body of liquid beneath. You can separate it from the core of who you are.

Originally, when I started writing this, I was going to give you some tips about dealing with criticism- and I am going to do that in a separate post now- but to really get to the stage where you aren’t derailed by the thoughts of others and still get to keep you softness, you have to dig deep. Find out what is really irking you. And then find a solution for it.

It can be helpful to separate yourself out from the immediacy of the situation; view yourself from the perspective of a third party. If you were giving advice to this person, dealing with this criticism, what would you tell them? What is it that they believe about this situation that is really causing the problem?

And what’s more, what could they do to move forward?

Be the guardian of your own mind. There is infinite strength in kindness and sometimes the person we forget to extend it to is ourselves.

xx Jane
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.87″ text_font_size=”19″ text_line_height=”1.8em” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” border_style=”solid”]PS. If you have read this and are thinking, well yes, that’s all well and good and I would LOVE to feel that way, then I can actually be of help. Lacking confidence, getting derailed easily by criticism, not enjoying riding or competing as much as you should be…. well, it gets pretty boring after a while. And it’s not like there isn’t anything you can do about it- there is! Don’t settle for ho-hum, come and join JoyRide. It’s only $30 USD per month and I will take you through a progressive, practical process that will get your head on straight so you can ride and feel the way you want.

You can check out JoyRide by clicking the button below!

The uncomfortableness of being outside your comfort zone…

Let’s have a chat about comfort zones. Here’s the thing… when you are about to do something that is uncomfortable or causes anxiety, it’s likely that in the initial stages doing “that thing” is also going to be uncomfortable or require a leap of faith.

For instance, if I am wanting to canter and cantering has been my main anxiety trigger for as long as I can remember, provided that I know that both my horse and myself are safe, and I have done the work (both mentally and physically) there comes a point where you have to have faith in yourself- faith that you can handle it, faith that you can do it, faith that you can deal with whatever comes up.

Going outside of your comfort zone is uncomfortable BECAUSE you are literally outside of your comfort zone. If you are totally comfortable, you aren’t outside it. The only way to expand it is to give it a little nudge.

I say this because many riders are operating under the assumption that they should be feeling like Captain Cool when it comes to extending themselves once they have put the necessary leg work in. If you are doing something that is taking you to that next level, moving you out of the comfortable and into the uncomfortable, then it’s normal that you would feel a little unsure. It’s normal that you might be nervous, or feel like you left hand is attached to your right ear lobe and things are falling apart a little bit. All of this is completely normal.

And what’s more, it’s kind of the point. You are learning something new, revisiting something that has scared you in the past, putting yourself out there; if you didn’t feel some sort of emotional change in response to that then is possible you should audition to be a stunt extra for Jackie Chan; he’s always on the lookout for people with those steely nerves.

For the rest of us though, we need to lighten up. Cut ourselves a bit of slack. And accept, that sometimes, things aren’t always going to feel “good”. In order to be comfortable again, we have to be willing to move through the uncomfortable-ness and come out the other side.

Another thing; feeling uncomfortable does not mean you are failing. It’s actually part of the growth process. I would go as far as to say that even ENTERTAINING the idea of what it is that worries you and searching for a solution is part of the growth process- it’s massaging the edges of your comfort zone and prepping it for change.

So if you find yourself in a situation where you want to do “the thing” that uncomfortabalises you the most (yes, that is a word- I just created it) ask yourself, what is the closest step I could take towards “that thing” without actually doing it?

What lets me brush my fingers close by?

It might be a bigger trot if you aim is to canter.

It might be putting your foot in the stirrup ready to get on if you goal is to get in the saddle- and then calling it a day there.

Tackling anything new or challenging is just like learning a new language. At first you don’t even know the alphabet; you can only say the most basic of words. It feels like you’re never going to be able to sustain any sort of reasonable conversation. But, after some consistent practice; after consistently reiterating the basics, you find yourself slowly picking it up. Before long, you are fluent in a whole new language.

This is what breaking out of your comfort zone feels like. In the beginning we’re flushed with emotions that are particularly uncomfortable (notice a theme here?). We can feel foolish; we can feel stupid; we can feel regretful. We can even feel as though we are going to make matters worse. But what you need to know is in the phase of adversity everyone feels like this.

And so many people are stopped at this point. Don’t stop. Keep going. You only ever have the deal with the next minute, so just deal with that.

Reframe uncomfortable emotions as a necessary part of your growth as a rider; as the catalyst for you to realize that you’re actually moving forward. Keep moving, keep taking action and soon you will break through the cloud of uncomfortable emotion and out the other side.

xx Jane

3 Tips for Happy Hacking!

The other day I went out for a ride on my beloved black pony and I thought I would share some of the things that came up for me on our ride that could be helpful for you also. I know hacking out or going out on the trail is challenge that some of you face confidence wise so let’s have a look at a few things we can do to keep ourselves in check when our pony steeds become a little distracted.

I will preface this by saying that before riding out, I have crossed my t’s and dotted my i’s. This post is based on the understanding that you equine of awesomeness is ready to be taken out on a hack on his or her lonesome.
I imagine the inlet where I ride must look like the Colosseum to my horse. It’s a huge, tidal amphitheatre that leads out to the ocean, and at low tide, it becomes a packed mud flat that you can conveniently ride on. The hills to the side makes the sound bounce around all over the place, and if I was thinking like a horse, I would think that it would be a place where I would be on high alert; predators from all sides must seem like a possibility. Which leads me to my first point… if you take your horse out on the trail, any responses that they have- if they “look” at something, balk at a suspect leaf, or a patch of dirt a slightly different colour- they are not “naughty” or “stupid”, they are just being a horse. And to the horse, they are thinking of two things: is that item endangering me in some way and do I need to flee?
The little dots you see in the photo are actually me and Morgen:

It’s really that simple. If you can wrap your brain cells around this, it’s incredibly liberating. It means that nothing your horse does in response to something they see, hear or feel is a personal attack on you, lest you make it so.

 Instead, it is your job to do the necessary behind the scenes work to keep your horse safe. To make them go, well, yes that thing I see does make me want to run for the hills, but if Jane says it’s ok, it must be ok. She’s never put me in harms way before. I guess we can rock this out.
That said, horses are not machines. Here are some things I put into practice as I went for a jaunt across the inlet. 

1. Me: Those are Cyclists. Morgen: I think that might be a bear {Don’t make their fixation your fixation}

If you horse spots something in the distance, make sure that their focus doesn’t become your focus. Your focus is them, and on dealing with what is in front of you.
In moments like these, make sure:
* You are focusing on what it is that you want {for example  focus, calm and relaxation}
* You are controlling your physical response {work with the breath, ensure you haven’t become physically tense also}
* You do whatever you need to to keep you both safe {If you can work with the energy in the saddle, do so. If you feel out of your depth, frightened or unsure, hop off and deal with it on the ground}

2. Don’t let one event permeate the entire ride {He’s now forgotten about the bear, I don’t need to keep returning to it in my mind}

 Morgen saw a bear. He got distracted and we brought the focus back and continued on. We can let it go now; I don’t have to continue riding on high alert, or reliving the moment endlessly in my mind. He’s not, so either will I. Just deal with what is in front of you. And what is in front of me now is a horse back to doing his job.

3. Focus on what went well after you have finished your ride

A tendency we all have as humans is to focus on the hiccups, or the things that didn’t go quite to plan, as opposed to the things that went well. If you are looking to build up your confidence with hacking out, then make sure you are creating a library of successful moments in your head, as opposed to fixating on the bits that didn’t go to plan.

For example: 

Option A
Husband: How was your ride?
Me: Oh he got really tense about the cyclists and had a bit of a moment
Outcome: I focus purely on the undesirable parts
Option B
Husband: How was your ride?
Me: Oh, we had some really great moments. For the most part he was really calm and relaxed and we enjoyed ourselves!
Outcome: I focus on the positive. This doesn’t mean I ignore what happened, but I can feed that into my strategy for the future without having to make it a conversation piece.
Try them out for yourself and let me know how you get on!
And to make sure you are super focused on the good stuff, I created a Happy Hacking Success Log Printable- you can download yours below!
xx Jane
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But what if I get it wrong? How to get over the fear of ruining your horse (+ free printable)

A little while ago, I posted on the Confident Rider Facebook page this quote:

Perfectionism gets in the way of success. Commit to daily, imperfect action rather than perfect inaction.

A few riders sent me messages discussing their concerns and challenges that they were facing, and a big one that stood out for me was the fear of ruining or somehow causing harm to their horse. This came up for a few different reasons specific to each individual but more than a handful of riders I spoke to felt stuck in one spot based on the mindset that potentially taking action in any direction could see them doing something wrong.

I get this, I really do. It really is a most lovely and compassionate thought- that somehow your skills won’t be up to scratch and your horse could suffer as a result- but the mere fact that you HAVE that thought tells me that you are exactly the sort of person who SHOULD be out there doing things with their horses. The kind of person who considers what it is they are doing and what the ramifications of their actions are. That said, staying in one spot is not going to help anyone (least of all you), so I’ve put together some quick and easy guidelines to success to get you out of that headspace and create some momentum to get you back to doing whatever it is you want to be doing with your horse!

Drum roll please…

1. A  plan please! Learn, learn and learn some more.

You don’t have to be a hero, but you do have to be intelligent. If you are worried that your skill level is not up to speed find someone that you respect and talk through the challenges or training issues that you are currently facing. Put a strategy or a plan in place that provides you with really clear goal posts and markers that you can hit along the way, and then use the resources that you have at your disposal to understand what it is you are doing and how to continue forward.

The things is, when we are learning anything new, sometimes things get a little… messy. They can even feel like they are falling apart! This doesn’t mean, however, that they actually ARE falling apart, it’s just the nature of learning a new skill or leaping outside of your comfort zone. Be prepared for things to not look pretty at first… it will be worth your time in the end!

 2. Re-evaluate what mistakes mean

The idea of “getting it wrong” or being afraid of “stuffing up your horse” is a huge, immobilising force and is a key ingredient in procrastination and the feeling of “stuck-ness”. Most learning happens from initiating a process– you can pre-plan as much as possible, but it’s only through experiencing both correct AND incorrect action that the real learning happens. If you can start to reframe the idea of mistakes and think of them as “solution finding” rather than “mistake doing”; often we only know what is right after we have experienced what is wrong. It’s really important that you put one foot in front of the other and start to initiate the kinds of processes that are moving you towards finding solutions.

 3. Reflect and assess

If you remain conscious of the process and sensitive to what is working and what isn’t working, it’s unlikely you would let things develop to the point where they are unworkable or irreparable. Keep reminding yourself that learning is a really cyclic process; if in doubt, just go back to point number one!

Now go out there and take some action!

xx Jane

Grab your free printable below to take you from stuck to on track! 

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How your attitude affects your confidence (and what you can do about it!)

Attitude and self-confidence seem to exist in a dynamic state of flux. They are involved in a cosy little relationship where they like to do pretty much everything together. If Self-Confidence fancies going for a ride, it asks Attitude how it feels about it. If Attitude is having a good day, chances are Self-Confidence will be feeling pretty perky also. They are basically co-dependents (let’s be honest).

The pesky problems arise when we base our attitude and our self-confidence on things that are outside of our control. Quite often, our self perception is based on a “ranking system”, where we judge ourselves and “how well we are doing” against a particular external event or circumstance. This means, that if we are “doing well” or we feel like we’re doing well in a particular activity or at particular challenge then our self-confidence is increased, and vice versa.

And herein lies the key; perception. In order for us to develop a consistently positive attitude and self-confidence, we have to develop new ways to talk to ourselves, to change our self-perception and to navigate through our riding challenges in a way that promotes and uplift us rather than denigrates and downgrade us.

Changing your attitude towards yourself is the key to building confidence that is not based on external markers and success.

Here are four things to work with to boost your attitude and your confidence!

1. Self talk.

Notice how you talk to yourself, especially when things aren’t going to plan. Self talk is so important because it highlights for you what you believe to be possible, and as a result of that belief system, how much potential you tap into.  Really be aware of how you’re talking to yourself; if you find you are talking to yourself in an overly critical way, recognise what is happening and actively choose to delete the negative voice.

What is useful at this point is to have a “personal mantra” or a one liner that inspires you that you can repeat to yourself; something that redirects your focus and reminds you of what it is you are working towards.

2. Practice a different response. 

If you’re used to being your own worst critic- for example if you conditioned yourself to react in a specific way in response to an event- then it can be a little bit hard to break out of that cycle and choose a different manner of thinking, a different way to respond- but that’s exactly what you have to put into practice. If you notice yourself being overly judgmental towards yourself, decide to choose a different thought. You do have the choice! Clarifying for yourself what it is that you want as opposed to what it is you are trying to avoid is an important part of this process; look to move towards something as opposed to away from something.

3. Choose to surround yourself with positive people.

The saying goes that you are the sum total of the five people that you spend most time with, so make sure they are quality people who think quality things and expect quality outcomes! It really is so important. If you feel like your self-confidence is something that needs to be nurtured make sure that you choose external circumstances and environments that support you- choose the people that you surround yourself with, choose environments that you put yourself in and really treat yourself as a work in progress that needs to be supported and uplifted.

4. Practice, practice, practice, practice practice, practice.

Everything that I’ve talked about- practicing self talk, practicing choosing a better response, practicing dropping critical self judgment- these are all practices, they are all skills that come with time and repetition. And the only way to gain those skills is to put them into practice. Don’t beat yourself up if it you forget or slip back into your “old ways” despite your best intentions. Press reset and practice again. Over time, your new, positive practices will become your default, and it will be easier and easier to pick yourself up in the face of challenge and keep moving forward in the direction you desire.

xx Jane


Want to work on your attitude? Grab your Winning Attitude Cheat Sheet!

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Rider Q&A: Riding outside of your comfort zone

Jessica Newtons asks:

“I am confident in an indoor arena, but outside on a trail or outdoor arena my confidence disappears. I am looking for things for my horse to spook at and waiting for him to spook…which means he is looking for things to spook at!”.

I discuss a plan of action for incrementally increasing your comfort zone in the video below. Thanks Jessica! 

xx Jane

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Rider Q&A: Fear of losing confidence after a break

It’s quite a common fear to be concerned that your riding mojo (and everything that goes along with it!) is going to leave the building if and when you need to take a break. On our Worry Wednesday thread, Sharon Bettany posted:

“I have made so much progress this year with my confidence levels and my horse’s skill levels. What worries me is that I am going to lose it over the summer break and I will be basically starting again when the break is over.”

Sounds like a plan of action is in order! Click the video below for tips on how to manage your mindset and pick up where you left off after a brief sabbatical from riding.

xx Jane

Let’s talk fear…

Let’s talk fear.

But first…

Let’s talk rabbits. Now rabbits are pretty much the same the world over; no matter where you are reading this from, rest assured that the behavior of the rabbit in the northern hemisphere, will be the same as that of the rabbit in the southern hemisphere.

And then do you know what happens?

He will come back.


Because the rabbit always returns to the last place he felt safe.

The story the rabbit is not dissimilar to how many of us lead our lives when we are governed by fear. It’s kind of like a loop- we bolt away from the perceived threat at a million miles per hour, and for a period of time, it really feels as though we are making headway! We are moving away from what it is that scares us. It might even feel as though we are winning the battle! But in reality, all we are doing is looping around… and eventually, we come back to the exact same spot, where scenery that looks remarkably familiar to the one that we just left.

Because it is the same place that we just left.

Essentially, this is the fear loop; we have a stimulus that causes a fear reaction, and as a result of that reaction, we flee. We may not even physically flee, but certainly, we leave the building mentally. Although it times it might make you feel like you are making progress, you are just hitting the boundaries of your loop, the boundaries of your safe place, your comfort zone.

And the reality is, you are afraid of what exists beyond these barriers, even though this is exactly where you know you need to go.

Fear is a deeply ancient emotion and one that is designed to keep us safe. With that in mind, we certainly don’t want to eradicate fear; contrary to what you think, we don’t want to become fearless, but what we do want to do is learn to dance alongside it, to learn to become a welcome and willing partner with fear.

What does that mean though, to become a welcome and willing partner with fear? It means that we learn to accept and recognize fear, but we don’t let it rule us to the point of paralysis, or allow it to stop us from doing things that we actually want to do.

And while we are at it, I will tell you why we don’t want to be without fear either. We don’t want to be without fear, because a life without fear would probably be out and out crazy, short and potentially idiotic. If you didn’t have some element of fear, you would jump on a totally unprepared horse with little thought to the consequences; you would ride a horse not good in traffic down the side of the expressway; you would ignore all the cues that indicated either horse or rider was unhappy in some way and go ahead with it anyway. I think you can see where I am heading with this.

You actually want fear to alert you of future dangers, and ultimately; it demands and deserves respect. However it has been programmed by evolution to automatically lead you to believe that any step into the unknown is going to end in your demise. And what’s more, it’s not particularly original. Fear isn’t really interesting in your expansion and growth. It’s not interested at all in you really charging forth and seeing what you are capable of. Quite frankly, its key interest is in keeping you… small. In boxing you in within the realms of what you already know. It likes your comfort zone. It’s what it knows. And so, frankly, it is going to try its hardest to stop you from permeating the periphery.

Fear might be something that we need, but it is certainly not something that we want to go basing our identity around. Fear is actually super boring. It does the same stuff all of the time. It never changes, never decides to mix things up. It never backs you in your decisions to expand, grow or try something different. It’s predictably and mind-numbingly boring.

If you want to choose a path, choose the path of the brave, but not of the fearless. Bravery means you get out there and you do something, even if it scares you. Fearlessness means that being scared does not even come into your reality.

Although you may not initially know how, the first rule in overcoming fear is to no longer allow it to have any authority in your life. You can make space for it. It can travel alongside you. But it is definitely not allowed any decision making powers; it doesn’t get to cast a vote or have a voice, no matter how loud you can hear it shouting in your ear.

You are absolutely the author of your own story, and your story will change the minute that your attitude does; the minute that your attitude and focus changes from what is happening in the future, to what is happening now. Right now.

Be mindful of when you are approaching things from a place of fear, or from a place of resourcefulness. It’s pretty easy to tell the difference. When you are operating from a place of fear, the little voice inside you shouts out, “Be careful! Don’t do that! What is going to happen to me?! I’m doomed!”.

The fearful voice is a voice of blanket generalizations and unqualified statements.

The reasoned voice may still be afraid, but it asks more resourceful questions. How can I make this work? What do I need to put in place to ensure the best outcome? You are in your body, connected, thinking things through whilst simultaneously holding the faith that you are going in the right direction.

Make the decision that from this moment forward, you will learn to travel comfortably with your fear. That you will respectfully decline to engage it in conversation, even if there are times when you hear its voice. That even if you feel as though fear has a strong presence at that time, even if you are unsure what to do, you will give yourself the space that you need, take the kind of actions that you need to take to keep you moving forward, however slowly, however incrementally. Forward, forward, forward.

Fear is not your excuse to keep returning back to the last place that you felt things were within your control. Instead, accept its presence and allow it to accompany you for the ride, no matter what it is that you achieve or accomplish.

And achieve and accomplish you will.

xx Jane

Have you heard about JoyRide? JoyRide is my new membership club designed specifically to give you the skills you need to ride with confidence and joy. For $30USD per month, you receive a new video tutorial, workbook + bonuses, plus ongoing support and assistance from me, a qualified and experiences mental skills and mindset coach, and the other riders in the JoyRide community sharing the journey with you. You don’t have to struggle along by yourself! Check it out here! xx