Hi everyone and welcome to my new column!

I want to motivate and inspire you; to educate you and to make you realise that you are not alone in feeling inadequate or hopeless or unconfident!

We all feel like that sooner or later when working with horses. Sometimes I think we focus too much on how “wonderful” other riders look and how “lucky” they are to have the perfect horse…. the perfect position…. the perfect stables.

We forget that the most important thing is that YOU love YOUR HORSE. He may not be ever going to the Olympics but he actually doesn’t care about stuff like that. He cares that you look after him and feed him. He cares that you give him confidence and leadership. He cares that you are consistent and fair in your demands of him.

And your trainers should respect that. A good trainer will find out your goals and dreams and work within the horse’s capability to achieve them. Having the most fashionable rolled sheepskin saddle blanket won’t make you do dressage any better and a good trainer will know this!

I do dressage amongst “other things” and a few years ago a very well known trainer was down here to give lessons. Unfortunately, the arena the organiser had booked was unavailable so they asked if they could use mine and as a thankyou I would get a free lesson. Of I agreed as this trainer is very well known and it was an awesome opportunity.

I put down the phone and then it hit me. NO NO NO! The “other things” I do are games and fun stuff with my horses. The kids I teach had spent the day playing groundwork games with my horses including painting my dressage horse with glitter! He had very bright purple glitter hooves, a gold ear and green stripes on his legs, a gold glitter saddle area and a few flower shapes!

That stuff does not come off! I scrubbed and washed and even tried using sandpaper on his hooves but nope he was still looking like the most unprofessional dressage horse ever!

I was devastated. How could I have a dressage lesson with my horse looking like he belonged to a 5 year old? But I was desperate to learn from this trainer so I rocked up and tried to look like this was normal. Some of the other riders gave me horrified looks and I felt dreadful.

He silently watched me warm up. No expression on his face, just his eyes darting from one glittery patch to another. I was mortified.

Then he beckoned me over and said, “ so you do dressage??” . “Yes” I replied.  I was expecting him to say he wouldn’t teach me .

“Get off” he said. I was almost in tears.

“ I have never ridden a dressage horse with purple glitter feet and I want to!”

So Bill Noble got on my purple and gold glittery Clydesdale/Arab cross and rode him!

*This article was originally published on Equine Online