July 2022 Newsletter

Hi Lovely people. 

It’s a little while since I sent out a newsletter to you all, so seeing it pouring with rain outside, here we go.  

Since My last Newsletter, I have had one trip to Darwin; I do love going up there. It’s almost like going home, and I will return at the month’s end. It’s also a great escape from the rain and cold. 

In June, I also managed to get back to Albany, and the weather was glorious; so fantastic to see the girls down there and catch up on how they were all doing. Some significant progress has been made, and I look forward to returning in September.  

Our clinic in Margaret River in June was postponed until 16th and 17th July due to the weather affecting the arena. The booking link is below at the bottom of this newsletter. 

Ongoing training and education for the forever student.

I managed to experience some excellent learning and self-education over 3 days in May with Sharon May Davies. 

Whenever I attend a horse dissection with her, she blows my mind. This is my third, and I still need to know more. Sharon has so much knowledge, compassion and a massive open heart to give you 100%

I always leave her humbled, deep in thought and wanting more.

I also feel it is crucial that every coach keeps learning and expanding their knowledge. You must never stop learning and looking for mentors to work with and expand your knowledge. All this knowledge and learning is passed on to my students. 

I must know what we are affecting and sitting on as riders. This more profound knowledge allows me to give my students more information and understanding of the horse. 

What is going on in The Sound System of Training?
We now have a theme each month for our gold members to follow.

Each month I recommend some audio lessons available in the library to work within the theme of the month.

We also try to tie this into the guest speaker so they can add more information and depth to the theme subject.

Andrew McLean gave us some fantastic insights into how horses think and learn, as this is a massive part of the Balance of the horse’s mind. This worked well as we delved into the Balance of the rider and horse in June. We added two facebook lives in June to nut out any issues or questions any of our members may be having and discuss the issue in detail; this provided some options and solutions for the problems.

Our theme this month is starting leg yield and shoulder-in.

I was thrilled to have Denise O Reilly as our guest speaker this week. She discussed the position of the rider and the influence the rider has on the horse; she covered the horse aspect of the movements.

Many of my students know Denise as I used to bring her over from the UK several years ago to do clinics here in Perth.

Denise has a vast knowledge of the Biomechanics of the rider; her teaching style is precise, with x-ray eyes and a wicked sense of humour that helps with the learning. As expected, the Zoom meeting had some great learning and laughter. 

Currently, the membership for the sound system of training is closed until spring, but if you would like to be on the waiting list, send me a message, and you will be the first to know when it opens up again.

The Trained helplessness of the rider or owner. 
There is much talk on the internet, including me discussing shut down horses or trained helplessness of horses. It’s something I think about, discuss with other colleagues, and experts and ponder a lot.

In the end, all horses are somewhat shut down in domestication; they have to, for us to ride them, place tack on, tighten the girth, use bits, applying leg aids or hand aids.

After talking to a few of my students over the past few weeks, I want to discuss the fact that so many riders and owners are in a trained helplessness state themselves. I understand this feeling, as I have experienced it often.

What is the trained helplessness of the rider/owner?
They’re doing everything within their means, knowledge, ability and financial budget to succeed but still keep getting told the same story of you haven’t got it right?

An example of this may be the coach saying, stop kicking your horse, keep your leg still; you are nagging your horse, your leg is white noise, and your horse is ignoring it. The messages of this issue may come in the form of different words, descriptions, and examples.

But the student is doing everything they know at this moment in time, to keep that leg still. The fact is, sometimes the rider lacks awareness that the leg is moving. It’s like they have lost sensory awareness of that part of the limb. The unwanted leg movement can come from many issues. If the rider knew HOW to keep it still, they would.

Every time you or your horse operates a movement pattern, you are wrapping the myelin sheath; this sheath is around the nerves it enables electrical impulses to be transmitted along with the nerve cells. The more you make that movement pattern, the more myelin is wrapped, and the movement is engraved. So if you are doing a brilliant movement pattern or a bad one, you are wrapping myelin to engrave that movement pattern.

So our naughty leg movement now has to be retrained into the beautiful still leg that gives a message only when needed.
This retraining can take time but is possible through conscious observation and rewiring to the desired movement.

Please remember this also applies to your horse. He isn’t doing irritating things to annoy you, and he also has myelin wrapped to the movement that will need to be corrected and retrained.

Another trained helplessness I see in riders is the welfare and care of their horses. This was highlighted last year in spring. As I see spring looming up for us again here in Western Australia, I know I will see it again.

I saw so many clients last year with lame horses. The owners consult with experts to be told what they already know. Your horse is too fat and is laminitic, so they lock the horse up, but some horses can seriously live on next to nothing. The owners watch their beloved horses locked up in reduced areas with no grass, just limited hay, digging in the dirt for food. (Let’s not talk about sand colic due to this situation)

When an owner loves their horse with their heart and soul, it’s a harrowing journey.

Putting on a muzzle is an option but can seem cruel to the owner, and keeping it on and in place is another whole issue.

There can be so many opinions given; to work the horse, put shoes on, take shoes off, give pain meds, special diets, use hoof boots. But in the end, the owner feels at the end of the tether, and the trained helplessness of the owner begins.

I have felt it. I have experienced it and still do.

My way of dealing with it is to stick with the people I know will support me. They know I’m doing my best, they listen to my despair, and they encourage me to keep going.

I DO NOT need anyone to keep telling me what I already know. It’s like salt into the wound.

I need them to speak to me as I would talk to my own clients with respect and care. I need to feel like part of the team, not just the owner. As part of the team, I am also allowed an opinion and input. Choose your team wisely.

Saying all that in my ramblings, I also see trained helplessness in many professionals, especially vets, who are doing their best with the time limits, work pressure and knowledge they have.

As a coach, I feel I am part of the team for my students. I am always there to listen and support. Being a coach is more than that lesson time. It’s also part of the welfare of the student and their horse.

This is why I called myself “The Mindful Rider” each of my lessons is done mindfully. This gives the horse and rider a chance to create a clear understanding and start the journey of perfecting movement patterns for both horse and rider. I love having the privilege of being part of my student’s support team.

How many of you have felt at the end of the tether and in a trained helpless state?

Coaching insurance and price increases from 1st July for lessons and clinics.
Having coaching insurance is a necessary part of being a coach. The coaching insurance aims to protect both the student and the coach.

Many students have told me “Oh, I have my own insurance, and I would never sue you”, but that would not protect me if a situation arose (I hope it never does) of a rider being seriously injured and ending up in a wheelchair, or worse. That rider may be in a situation of having no option and getting money to support themselves into the future. They may need to draw on any options available to survive.  

This is why coaches have insurance to cover that situation. Of cause, there are some coaches that choose to not have insurance as it is so expensive. Coaches have to do a lot of lessons just to cover the coaching insurance.

You need to consider if you want to take that risk when you choose a coach with no insurance. These coaches can offer cheaper lessons as the overheads are less, but the risk is higher.  

Unfortunately, I am having to increase my prices, the cost of fuel, and now my coaching insurance has gone up radically. I have held off as long as I can but can’t carry it any longer. I hope you understand. 

What’s coming up in the future 

16-17th  July. Margaret River ( Metricup) Mindful Rider Clinic. 

Here is the link to book your place: 

28-29th and 30-31 July  Darwin RWYM and Mindful Rider Clinic. 

To book your place contact Alison Osborne 0438 855 736 or email alisonaosborne@gmail.com 
These clinics are full, but if you are interested, contact Alison to be added to the waiting list. 

13th & 14th August. Margaret River ( Metricup) Mindful Rider Clinic. 

Here is the link to book your place: 

9th,10th &11th September, Nurturing weekend for horse and rider.  

Here is the link to book your place: 

Already places have been sold on this very popular weekend getaway. 


Happy riding everyone 

Love Ann