Guest blog: Sophie Green, Evergreen Coaching

19. OCT, 2020

The equine industry has come a long way, but it still has a long way to go to address the issue of bullying as well as mental health. Having been bullied myself whilst working in the industry, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to write this blog.

After school and throughout university, I spent most days grooming for various riders and different yards to earn enough money to support myself financially. On the whole, the people I worked for were very fair and looked after me incredibly well. On the other hand, one in particular really messed with my mental health, but also with my confidence and feelings of self-worth. I also went on to drive horseboxes for a well-known company and that is where the worst of the bullying happened. I was told by the owner that I was a ‘stupid little girl’ among many other things.

I felt so alone during this battle with this particular employer. I was lucky to have some support but I really thought it was my fault this had happened to me. After this happened, I realised that so many people were going through similar things, much worse in fact and much more often. So many grooms and others working in this industry were underpaid, bullied and thought that poor mental health was just the norm.

The trouble is, when someone makes you feel worthless or stupid, this doesn’t just impact how you feel as a rider or groom, this will impact every little piece of your life. Other people’s beliefs or comments often form our own beliefs, even if we are not consciously aware of it. A common one is being told by your parents that ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’. They mean it in the nicest possible way – they want you to understand you’re going to have to work hard for your money. What this doesn’t mean is that you work seven days a week, twenty hours a day, on minimum wage (if that!) just because your employer thinks that is acceptable; you’re so willing to please and you need the money so you don’t object. You believe that there is no easier way to earn enough money to live the lifestyle you’ve dreamt of since a child.

This, combined with the lack of confidence I struggled with as a child, is why I set up Evergreen Coaching. There are so many riders out there who are on the verge of giving up, they lack in confidence, are overwhelmed by nerves, or they are so worried about what other people think that they stop pursuing their dreams. That was me – physically sick on the way to events because I was so nervous, never posting pictures of me and my horse in case someone thought my leg was too far back or my hands were too high and feeling like I should probably just give up riding because I’d never be as good as my friends.

To look back at that old me breaks my heart; I even sold one horse because I doubted my own ability so much. I regret selling him every day, and I wish someone had been there to support me and help me realise that there is nothing special about the people who are out there doing so well, they just work on their mindset and they don’t give up.

That’s why I’m here – to support riders across all different disciplines, from happy hackers to professionals, to achieve THEIR version of success, LOVE what they do and achieve their ultimate dreams. When I finish with a client, I always ask how the coaching has impacted them, and the overwhelming response I get is that it has changed their lives. That’s not because I’m magic, but because mindset affects every single part of your life, every single day. Life and success is 80% mindset and 20% everything else. So even if you have the best instructor, the best saddle, the best horse, the most supportive and loving partner, your dream job - if you have a poor mindset, you are still only 20% of the way to achieving your dreams; whether that’s to get on a horse for the first time since an accident or to win Badminton.

So where should you start with mindset? My top tip for you as a rider starting out on your mindset journey is to write a ‘success list’. Ten (or more!) things you have achieved in your life that you are proud of. It might feel challenging at first, but it will be worth it. When you are having a day where you feel a bit negative and you’re doubting your ability, take a look at that list and remember just how far you’ve come already. You might not have achieved your version of success yet, but you’re a lot closer now than when you started out.

A lot of people see the gap between where they are now and where they want to be and find it so overwhelming that they just give up. Did you know that 95% of the population never reach their dreams? It’s not because they are not able to or don’t have the opportunity, it’s because they felt like it was impossible to reach, they weren’t willing to put the effort in to make changes and they hoped that one day the universe might just give them everything they ever wanted.

So are you going to be part of that majority? Or are you going to join the 5% who took that first step, looked at the distance they’ve still got to go and remained confident that it is possible to reach their dream? If you’re not happy with being mediocre, or perhaps your lack of confidence is really affecting your happiness in life, get in touch and see how a mindset coach could help you with your individual challenges.

With Evergreen Coaching, Sophie works to support riders across all disciplines master their mindset to overcome challenges, achieve success and accomplish their dreams. You can find her on Instagram at @evergreencoaching_ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/evergreenmindsetcoaching.

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