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Sat, 31 Jul


Selwyn Equestrian Centre

Resolving Fear - Skills for Riders

Learn how to work effectively with fear, anxiety, and other challenging emotions, so you can really enjoy your horse and your riding.

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Resolving Fear - Skills for Riders
Resolving Fear - Skills for Riders

Time & Location

31 Jul 2021, 9:00 am NZST – 01 Aug 2021, 4:30 pm NZST

Selwyn Equestrian Centre, 126 Kivers Road, Burnham 7677, New Zealand

About the event

“Bravery” is highly valued in the equestrian world. "Gutsy" riders who push through fear, anxiety or resistance - theirs or their horse's - are held up as examples to follow, and people who want to do things differently can find themselves on the receiving end of criticism, judgement or downright bullying. 

Anyone can have an accident, or even a near miss, and lose confidence. And being criticised, judged or bullied can be just as damaging to our confidence, judgement, and relationship with our horse, as a bad fall or an accident on the ground. These experiences can get etched into our nervous system through our body’s natural trauma response - and once that happens they don’t simply fade away over time, even when there is “no reason” to be afraid.

Fear can affect our riding in a whole range of ways. It can be obvious, like being afraid of cantering or spooking.

But it can also show up in more insidious forms, such as:

  • Always “fixing” the horse, through body work, supplements, more/different training, etc
  • Constantly having reasons not to ride, or compete
  • Avoiding judgement - not competing or riding in front of friends
  • Ignoring your own judgement when friends tell you to do something you know is dangerous
  • Clinic hopping -  never quite feeling like you know enough
  • Criticising yourself but admiring others in an unbalanced way
  • Becoming a technical expert
  • Being reluctant to ask anything of your horse

When you’re not riding as much as you want to, for any reason, there is probably fear involved that is affecting the way you are with your horse, and also how he or she is showing up.

Just “pushing through” fear or anxiety doesn’t work - for us or our horses. There are very good neurobiological reasons for our reactions to accidents, scares, bullying or criticism - and unless we can process these experiences effectively, trauma symptoms and unhelpful coping mechanisms tend to get worse, not better, over time. They shape how we're being whenever we're with our horse, often undermining what we think we're communicating.

The good news is that there are practical, proven ways to reset our relationship with past experiences, and our expectations of how things will play out in the future. This clinic will teach you how to work with your brain and nervous system to come back into balance, so you can acknowledge your feelings without getting stuck in them, respond appropriately to challenging situations, and most importantly, deepen your relationship with your horse and really enjoy your riding.

Note that this clinic is for skill development, not deep personal therapy/emotional processing.

Who is this clinic for?

Anyone who:

  • has internal blocks to progress in their riding - or to riding at all;
  • has lost confidence after an accident or fright - either riding or on the ground; 
  • has anxiety about being judged/criticised for how they work with their horse;
  • is self-critical about how they work with their horse;
  • has a sense of tension or anxiety about any aspect of working with their horse, either generally or about a specific activity such as cantering or competing.

If you would like to attend but can't bring your own horse, please let us know: we have some options.


All participants - whether you bring your own horse or not - will learn tools for processing fear and anxiety that you can work with yourself on a day-to-day basis, to shift how you perceive yourself and your horse, and get back to enjoying your time together.

Clinic format

The clinic will be highly experiential as it is intended to be transformational, not an intellectual data sharing exercise. We aim to create a safe, supportive and fun environment for shared learning, and to make sure everyone has as much horse time as possible. 

We will introduce key concepts on the first morning and then spend the rest of the day learning tools and putting them into practice in hands-on sessions with the horses (either from the ground or under saddle). This will be in a small group format (2-3 people and horses at a time). The second day will be similar, with a recap session in the morning followed by more horse sessions, and a final discussion session to consolidate learning.

Clinic leaders

Ingrid Gunby

Ingrid has an equine-assisted psychotherapy and coaching practice based in Loburn, North Canterbury. She specialises in supporting people to resolve trauma - including early developmental and other relational trauma - by working with how it shows up in the present, using a gentle, body-based approach that is grounded in the latest research into the neurobiology of trauma and healing.

Margaret Pickering

Margaret has been a riding coach for over 30 years, continuously learning, and adapting and refining her approach to horses and humans, both at a technical and psychological level.  She has discovered that every rider has far more ability than they credit themselves for, and is somewhat obsessed with helping riders unravel the blocks to reaching their full potential, so they can do the same for their horses.


Clinic will be limited to 8 people, and everyone will be an active participant - no auditors.


The approach we will be teaching in this clinic is new: we are still refining it! This means that we are charging a discounted rate of $345.00 incl GST.


  • Resolving Fear Registration

    Tax: GST included
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