I was fortunate to be offered the opportunity to spend three months at the Horse Boy Foundation's headquarters in Texas, having been involved with Horse Boy camps and activities in the UK for three years. I run a therapeutic horsemanship centre in the UK where we work with disabled and disadvantaged people with horses, and as I became more involved with Horse Boy it became clear that I needed to improve my riding skills to be able to offer Horse Boy work to its full potential.
I had been struggling with my confidence around riding for a few years, and my anxiety around riding new horses, cantering and trail riding had reached a point where I knew I had to face my fears head on or I would never be able to ride to the level I needed to work effectively with my clients. I was honestly at the point where I was considering giving up altogether and my anxiety was having a hugely detrimental effect on my life.
When I arrived in Texas it became clear just how severe my anxiety was. I was nervous to canter in the arena on a very quiet horse, I had a complete meltdown the first time I went out for a trail ride, and at the age of 36, having not even thought about jumping for at least ten years, the thought of facing a fence again terrified me.
I began having lessons with Rupert and Iliane and it soon became clear to me that this was a once in a life time opportunity to develop my riding skills and learn a new perspective around training and riding with their beautiful horses. I was able to feel piaffe and passage on their schoolmasters, develop my seat on the lunge, experience airs above the ground and face my fear of trail riding and jumping in a supportive environment where I felt safe and understood.