Thursday, 30 July 2015

IWMT 2015: Meet Elizabeth Hough, one of our fabulous sponsors

Elizabeth Hough is a professional neurolinguistic programming (NLP) Practitioner who coaches people to help them achieve their goals in equestrianism, sport, life in general, or work. Elizabeth runs her own coaching consultancy, Your Great Mind, and has generously sponsored the Ian White Memorial Trophy (IWMT) at Smiths Lawn Horse Trials for a couple of years now by donating a 1-2-1 coaching session. Here, she tells us how she became involved in NLP, and how it has helped her to realise her own riding ambitions.

How and why did you become interested in NLP?
When I was an event groom I noticed how the mindset of the rider affected their performance and that of their horse. At this point I hadn't heard of NLP and coaching of the mind was not commonplace. Some years later, I was looking for ways to improve my performance in dressage tests. I was particularly impressed with how top riders across all the disciplines seemed to be able to focus their mind when competing, and not be distracted. Wanting this ability for myself, I investigated different methods of mind coaching, and found great affinity with NLP. So, I went on a course to learn more.

During my  training I witnessed and experienced the creation of positive mindsets and behaviours through the elimination of unhelpful and restricting thoughts and beliefs. Experiencing these changes made me realise that my career path lay in becoming a coach and helping others.

Tell us about your company, Your Great Mind
At Your Great Mind we pride ourselves on our reputation, professionalism, honesty, ethics and client satisfaction.  We are passionate about what we do - facilitating changes in our clients. We coach our clients by listening and really understanding what they want to achieve. We understand where the individual is at that particular point in time, and know what steps they need to take to achieve their goal. In fact, focusing on the steps can be more powerful than focusing on the end result, and by completing the steps, you will achieve your goal by default. We set tasks for our clients along the way. We also take an interest in what happens at home and in general life between coaching, not just what happens in the coaching session itself. I get such satisfaction and pleasure from helping our clients realise their ambitions.

Clipping from Bucks Herald of Immerdor at Futurity
Do you have horses of your own?
Yes, I have three: a gelding (Vigby), a mare (Jazzability) and a 2-year old gelding (Immerdor). They are all KWPN. Vigby is working at medium level in dressage at home and has established his changes and lateral work. He enjoys jumping too over coloured and cross-country fences. We started Jazzability last year so she is making her competition debut this year and I have high hopes for her. Immerdor was awarded a higher first at Futurity last year, so I am aiming higher next time. Since all three have unique characters,  I find NLP is helpful for changing my mindset with each one. The only thing they have in common is four legs and tail when I get on board!
Another member of the team!

You help others achieve their riding ambitions, but what are yours?
To be the best I can be! I believe learning is a constant throughout life, and I enjoy training with some inspirational teachers. My ultimate goal is to be in tune with my horses, to have happy horses, and to ride at Prix St George level in dressage. My NLP and sports coaching skills are being put to good use!

Why do you get involved with IWMT?
Eventing is one of my greatest passions in life, so I'm thrilled for Your Great Mind to get involved in IWMT. Furthermore, I admire Kathryn for keeping the memory of Ian alive through this event, which  promotes awareness of brain tumors and raises funds for The Brain Tumour Charity as well as Sue Ryder Hospice Care. Not only that, but the competition supports amateur riders. It's a brilliant   opportunity for me to help a fellow rider's performance improve through my prize donation.

You can make a donation to the Brain Tumour Charity's Ian White Fund here or to the Sue Ryder Hospice at Nettlebed, who cared for Ian, here.  

Kathryn White is owner and director of Cathean Ltd Medical and Copy Writing Services. She is a published medical, copy and equestrian writer with a passion for creating compelling text in collaboration with her clients. Her customers include pharmaceutical, healthcare and equestrian businesses across the world. 

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Mole diaries: so the training begins

Since Mole joined our little clan, we've been having regular 121 training sessions with Sophie Langston, to learn basic skills. Last night we attended our first puppy training class, also with Sophie. In these blogs I will keep you up-to-date with Mole's progress and share what I've learned as a new (and slightly anxious!) puppy owner.

Mole in action!

Like a lot of new dog owners, my biggest challenge is being brave enough to let Mole off the lead when out on walks. This, and my worries over toilet training (yup, the perfectionist had to be well and truly quashed for that one) were two of the main reasons I asked for Sophie's help. I also enjoy learning something new, and training a dog is unexplored territory for me. So, over the past month, Mole and I have been meeting up with Sophie. It has been great fun and Mole seems to enjoy the exercises we do - as he gets lots of praise and treats, who can blame him?
Our class friends practising their skills
The training class was a brilliant opportunity to practise what we've learned at home in the company
of other puppies, and with all the distractions that provides. Last night, Sophie introduced the basics of clicker training and we used it to reward our puppies when they reacted to their name being called. Other exercises included meeting another dog on the lead so that it doesn't become such a big deal and luring with treats as the foundation to walking on the lead.

And guess who found his voice at the class? Mr Mole! Not the same shy and retiring puppy who went to socialisation classes a few weeks ago!

Kathryn White is owner and director of Cathean Ltd Medical and Copy Writing Services. She is a published medical, copy and equestrian writer with a passion for creating compelling text in collaboration with her clients. Her customers include pharmaceutical, healthcare and equestrian businesses across the world. 

Monday, 13 July 2015

In at the deep end - event groom, Crisy, travels to Samur

I’ve now officially groomed at my first event and although it turned out to be more relaxed than I expected, there’s nothing like being thrown in at the deep end! We set off for Saumur 3* in France with one of Sarah’s top horses, Lilly Corinne.

We arrived in Dover ready for the 2.20 am ferry to Calais. On board, Sarah told me I had to experience a ‘truckers breakfast’ (a full English at any time of the day). My body clock was too confused to protest to the food so luckily it stayed down even though I forgot my travel sickness tablets! From Calais, it was then 7-hour drive to our destination and I really don’t know how Sarah stayed awake. Given I dozed on and off in the passenger seat, I really didn’t do a good job of helping her!

Lilly settled in her stable while I unloaded the lorry and tried to make sure I knew what was going on. Luckily I had a few days to get used to everything, and practise things like plaiting and quarter marks ready for the trot up. The other grooms were really friendly and helpful which calmed my nerves, and by the time the dressage came I felt fully prepared. Unfortunately, Lilly didn’t get a score that we felt represented her test. She scored 50.7 despite performing a good test with no mistakes, and only slightly more tension than she had whilst warming up.

Photos kindly supplied by Sally Dundas
Cross country day was a challenge as I knew I needed some help to ensure all the tack and boots were put on perfectly. Thankfully, Sarah was more than happy to help and show me how things needed to be. Sarah and Lilly looked fantastic in the warm up and set off full of excitement. Hearing over the loudspeakers that she had a refusal at Fence 4 was gutting as Brett (Sarah’s husband) had explained she would retire if she had any problems to save Lilly for Bramham in a few weeks. Brett took a bucket of water and set off to meet her whilst I stayed at the finish with the rest of our things. I then heard that she was clear at Fence 9 and going strong! At this point I had no idea what to do as Brett was no longer there, so decided I would just stand and see what happened. Luckily Brett reappeared, also looking confused. Shortly afterwards, Sarah and Lilly finished, flying over the last fence and looking incredible. They finished 10 seconds within the optimum time even with that refusal. In the madness of cooling Lilly down we were told that there was some confusion over whether the refusal had happened – apparently, Lilly had jolted slightly coming into water but then caught sight of the next fence and jumped as normal. Yogi Breisner and Brett’s’ parents went to Fence 4 to look for themselves and see if they could find any video footage or a witness so they could appeal. Sadly, no luck, that was the only fence on the whole course without a camera and despite appealing the decision, the 20 penalties remained.

Sarah and Lilly Corinne in action
The next day, Lilly had a great show jumping round, only knocking one pole. Sarah was really pleased with their performance. Without the 20 penalties they would have finished on a fantastic 54.7 leaving them in around 7th place, but their score was 74.7 which left them 22nd out of 26 and not the result we’d hoped for. However it was still an incredible run for them with many things to come away pleased with (except for the lack of prize money!).

Overall I had  a bloody amazing time!!! I loved the extremes of calm and quiet to absolute madness and felt proud to be part of such a great team. The journey home was just as tiring and we arrived Monday morning at 5.30am. After putting Lilly to bed, I went to bed for 3 hours sleep before getting up to start all over again. You certainly do need to love your job to do things like that.
My ‘slap around the face’ moment from the whole experience was going out for dinner with Sarah and Brett and being joined by eventers, Sam Watson and Paul Tapner, their wives, and the owners of one of Paul’s rides called Up In the Air. I felt like I had won some sort of VIP package to meet all these top names! 
Kathryn White is owner and director of Cathean Ltd Medical and Copy Writing Services. She is a published medical, copy and equestrian writer with a passion for creating compelling text in collaboration with her clients. Her customers include pharmaceutical, healthcare and equestrian businesses across the world.