Meet Jane, our Ride with your Mind columnist and Equestrian Mindset Coach at My Equi Coach!
When did you start riding horses?
Prior to walking! I have a very horsey mother, so not riding was never going to be an option! We were lucky enough to be surrounded by farmland in Australia, so I spent any free time galloping round the hills with my sister and mum, and in the very early days, holding on for dear life while mum led my pony, Captain, off her horse. Mum was quite adventurous!
What riding disciplines do you take part in?
Originally showing- my whole family was involved- but dressage is my main love now. I’m fascinated by so many disciplines, both English and Western. I have so much respect for any horsey partnerships that endeavor to master their craft.
What is your proudest moment with horses?
There are a few from my “Showie” past- winning at The Sydney Royal Easter Show in a class of 84 was a highlight, as well as an Intermediate Rider of the Year Title, being a state representative at the Nationals- but to be honest, the biggest highlights for me have been in training. I love the feeling of satisfaction and achievement of working hard to not only improve the partnership between me and my horse, but of taking our training up to the next level. It all sounds very cliché, but my current horsey love displayed a high level of anxiety in his work when we started out together which was manifesting in some undesirable ways! The first ride where we really achieved relaxation was so exciting- you would have thought that we had won gold at the Olympics based on my excitement level! Best feeling ever.
What do you do in your spare time?
My family, my horses and my work are my all consuming and much loved interests, but I am also a total book worm and love yoga and walking.
What gave you the idea to launch My EquiCoach?
Having grown up competing, and with parents who were both competitive athletes, the importance of mindset and the psychological component of happiness and performance was something that I was always aware of and intrigued by. I had been working overseas teaching performance psychology among other things, but always had the seed within me to exclusively focus on psychology and equestrian sports- it was the perfect marriage of both of my passions! That aside, however, I recognized that the psychological element was often not attended to or given the validation that it deserved when it came to riding and training- it really seemed to be the missing link. Providing a service where riders can learn to optimize their mindset, overcome their fears and anxieties and give them the tools to be the best riders and horsepeople they can be is such a gift and something I am really passionate about.
What are your qualifications?
I’m a Board Approved Coach with the American and New Zealand Board of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and TLT (Time Line Therapy), but I draw on so many different influences in my work. I’m constantly reading, updating and learning new techniques and philosophies that I seek to bring into my work wherever possible.
Tell us about your family and your newest addition.
My family are my super heroes! My husband, Giles, also rides and is a director and cameraman (amongst other talents) making Wildlife documentaries locally and overseas. We have amazing boys- Flynn, who is 4 years old, and Tommy, who is just about to hit the 4 week mark! Flynn is a keen rider, he explores the back paddocks on his pony Tango, who is 9hh (but with the mindset of something closer to 16.2!
What is your favourite piece of riding advice?
I have a few favourites! The first is more a realisation, and that is that relaxation- both mental and physical- is everything. If you can achieve relaxation in your horse, everything else is just gymnastics. This is the biggest lesson I have learned from horseman I admire.
Don’t touch the rein unless you want something and don’t ever forget you are holding it was a powerful statement I heard from Warwick Schiller. A beautiful reminder to use the reins as a means of communication instead of a means of control! But I think Buck Brannaman’s quote captures what so many rider’s chase after they get a taste of a sublime moment on horseback: “You might look like one mind and body. If you’ve got a taste of what I am talking about you couldn’t get enough. You’d rather do that than eat. You may spend your whole life chasing that, and that’s possible, but it’s a good thing to chase.”