How can RWYM™ improve my riding ?

A coach with RWYM ™ training can help you “emulate the processes used by talented riders, who perceive what happens between themselves and their horses, discover what works and what does not, and choose to do the things which work.”

They will use video to help you see what they are seeing, and how the adjustments they’re making to your body instantly affect your body and your horse’s way of going.

They will physically position your limbs where they are required to be for bio-mechanical efficiency, and give you mental exercises to help them stay there.  They will use powerful imagery to enable you to feel what they are attempting to explain, and build your skills, one element at a time, in a relaxed, supportive environment.

A RWYM ™ coach can help you break through barriers which have previously been curbing your growth and progress as a rider, because of limiting factors in your position and state of mind.

The Basics of Ride With Your Mind™” General Information

What is RWYM™ ?

Ride With Your Mind™ is a method of learning and teaching created by  Mary Wanless in the UK.

“The ‘Ride With Your Mind’ approach is a tremendous advance in teaching and learning. It shows any rider how to organize her mind and body in the same way as the riders we call ‘talented’. This enables each person to learn the same feels and to achieve the same results.

Our coaching techniques are very streamlined. By increasing each rider’s body awareness and using innovative imaging techniques, Mary helps riders understand both what to do and how to do it. The bottom line is that improvements in concentration, body awareness, and core muscle strength create incredible improvements both in the rider’s seat, and in her horse’s response to her body. These can be obtained in a very short time, defying traditional expectations. Learning then becomes satisfying, exciting, and fun!

This system of coaching utilises elements of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), and the Alexander and Feldenkrais systems of bodywork. It is highly interactive, with rider and coach acting as equals as they combine their perceptions to unravel the puzzle of how the rider affects the horse and the horse affects the rider. Learning always takes place in a calm, safe, supportive, and appropriately challenging environment, with no raised voices and no impossible demands.

Learning through this method does not take talent, it simply takes learning how to notice. Mary has pioneered coaching methods that ‘get through’ to people, creating those ‘Aha!’ moments where ‘the light bulb goes on’. We then build on those moments as new skills become ingrained.”

How does RWYM™ work ?

30 years ago, when Mary was frustrated with her limited progress as a pupil, she set out to discover how talented riders do what they do. Her guiding question was ‘What is presupposed by a trainer when she makes a specific statement to a pupil?’ So when a rider is told, for instance, to ‘Get the horse on the bit?’ , what is the trainer presupposing? That the rider already has these skills (but somehow forgot, or just didn’t bother to impliment them?!) Or that she ought to be able to do it because it’s easy?

Any co-ordination that is easy (and therefore a ‘bite size chunk’) for the trainer is not necessarily a ‘bite size chunk’ for the pupil. When the trainer says ‘Do X’ she is assuming that the pupil can do ‘A,B,C,D,’ etc. just as she can ! But that may not be the case. The reality is that most trainers teach the pupil as if they were teaching themselves. The skill of coaching lies in the coach’s/trainer’s ability to cross that skill-gap, and show the pupil her own personallised next steps, that will move her on from her current starting point.

Mary’s knowledge has evolved from the early years of this project, which were spent ‘unpacking’ the skills that are really needed to ‘get the horse on the bit’. The intervening years have been the most phenomenal learning journey, spent developing her own riding skills, learning from some of the world’s best riders, and honing her coaching skills by learning about learning. She has also invested many hours in writing books, doing lecture-demonstrations, and training other coaches.

“The World’s best riders may have implicit knowledge or ‘know-how’, but they cannot put this knowledge into words.  This is because physical skills and verbal descriptions come from different parts of the brain.  The resulting dislocation between expertise and explanation makes it hard for skilled riders to ‘clone’ themselves – indeed, what they do and what they say they do can be poles apart.”

Mary discovered that their skills have an underlying structure, and knowing this explicitly enables her to communicate it to others. She clarifies the ‘how’ of riding, making its biomechanics explicit and learnable whilst avoiding the ‘oughts’ and ‘shoulds’ that stifle learning.

“The result is a phenomenally effective way of helping riders develop both feel and influence. Talent really can be taught ! “

What can a RWYM™ Level 2 coach do ?

How can a RWYM coach help me ?

A RWYM™ Level 2 coach has been assessed as being able to:

“Assess basic biomechanical patterns, to gain rapport with pupils, to set realistic goals for them, and to teach the mechanics of:


-Bearing down

-Supporting their own body weight

-‘Plugging in’ in walk

-Using the lower leg

-Rising trot mechanism

-Walk/halt transitions

This enables the novice rider to become a ‘benign passenger’, and the more experienced rider to undo negative patterns and establish correct basics. The coach must promote a philosophy in which the rider is perceived as cause and the horse as effect.”

They will also be able to:

“Assess how the rider is affecting the horse and how the horse is affecting the rider, finding interventions which take the rider from being ‘part of the problem’ to being ‘part of the solution’.

They must have the observational skills to diagnose weak fronts, weak backs, weak thighs and weak calves, bringing tone and strength into the rider’s alignment, whilst ensuring that her joints remain free. Coaches must be able to determine the precise positioning and attitude of the rider which will bring the horse into carriage. Coaches must return to basic biomechanics as necessary, and promote a classical philosophy of training.”