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  • Writer's picturekmbleekman

Sue's Coaching Journey

I want to tell you a story about one of my clients, let’s call her Sue. She came to me to feel fitter, stronger & more in control of her body to make sure her physical weaknesses were no longer affecting her horse's progress & results.


Following an injury & health complications she had lost a huge amount of strength & fitness & also her confidence & motivation had gone to rock bottom. Following the injury she wasn't able to ride to the ability she previously had been & was finding that seriously de-motivating & it was leading her to doubt her riding with both of her horses.


Before joining me on the coaching progamme she was thinking about having to go down the route of para riding to be able to continue to ride & had got to the stage where she thought that was going to be the new normal for her because of how bad her physical pain was especially in her knees


She had stopped jumping the horses because her knee pain was just too excruciating & had completely changed the way she was riding & living. 


She needed help to accept the setbacks she had faced & find a way of re-building her strength & fitness around the horses & accepting the fact that physically she was back at square 1. It was having a huge knock-on effect on her mental wellbeing & she'd had enough of feeling weak, overweight and knew her current state was impacting her horses in a negative way because of the loss of her own fitness. 


During her 6 month recovery period as she had been recuperating & taking things easy she had gained weight which wasn’t helping her knee pain or her self-esteem & all she wanted was to be fitter & stronger & to lose the weight she had gained and regain her confidence and have better self-esteem in herself.


She had got to the stage where she couldn’t ride with strirrups because of how sore her knees were so had resorted to just riding without. When I heard what she was doing to ride I was honestly shocked. But I totally understood it as our ponies are our passion & she just wanted to be back on riding, enjoying the horses & feeling good in herself again. Not being able to ride properly was having a really negative impact on how she felt in herself & all she wanted to do was get back to riding & enjoying it without feeling in pain. 



So off to work we went! Working as a nurse, doing part-time hours at a yard, having a partner, dogs & 2 horses she committed to 3 sessions a week from home as she felt that was do-able.


Initially alot of her programme was focusing on just getting her moving more, getting out for walks more regularly & she was desperate to start running again but didn’t dare as she knew it would hurt her knees. Having previously struggled with knee pain when running she didn’t know how to get herself stronger safely & get back to being able to run & ride.


We added in regular mobility sessions twice a week & slowly started introducing strength work using her bodyweight & resistance bands to begin with. Quite quickly she started to notice she was feeling better, had more energy & was making good progress in her strength & we started adding in weighted work as she got stronger. A big focus was also on her nutrition & making sure she was giving her body all the right minerals & vitamins it needed through good quality foods & plenty of protein to support her muscle recovery after the injury and her training. 


The weight loss side of things came secondary but as she started to make small changes to her diet, introduced more protein & better quality carbs & fats she noticed her energy levels started to improve, the weight started to come down & she felt better all round!


Being busy & working shift patterns at the hospital as well as extra hours on the yard we got her into the habit of meal planning for the week & prepping her breakfast & lunch meals so she had good options for when she was on the go at work & on her feet all day & that was a game-changer for her & allowed her to eat well even on her busiest days.


As she made progress she got to the point where she felt like she was ready to do a bit more aerobic work so we slowly introduced running & got her cycling too. Quite quickly she noticed her knees felt better than ever before & wasn’t struggling with pain anymore running so decided to do a 5km race with a group of friends which she smashed!


Every week we checked in to make sure her programme was working for her, she could keep consistent to the schedule we were setting & it was realistic for her life & the time she had. If she had any flare ups we adapted the schedule & her training routine to make sure it was do-able for her body & allowed her to keep making progress & moving forwards. Having weekly check ins also meant she had accountability with me as her coach & that meant she could follow through & actually stick to the programme.


Within the programme there were also education modules on all things fitness, movement, lifestyle & really highlighting how important things like sleep & her stress levels were which helped her to understand she had to keep things balanced around training & riding to allow her body time to recover, especially with her busy work schedule. A big part of this journey was working on her mindset to get her thinking in a new & more positive way & also realising it’s ok to have setbacks.


However big or small we celebrated her wins & successes every week & this just re-inforced the progress she was making & served as a really strong motivator.


In the space of 9 months she totally transformed her life & riding & took her body to a pain-free place where she was happy & finally able to enjoy the horses again.


She got back jumping as well & was riding with her stirrups without pain. In her words this is how her riding improved;





There were bumps along the way here & there of course but she committed to the programme 100% & promised herself she was going to make a change & did. Much of her success was because we focused on her daily habits & started implementing good habits that supported her fitness & nutrition better one at a time so she was making small steps in the right direction & quite quickly those small steps all added up to a completely different lifestyle, way of moving & thinking and allowed her to gain incredible results.


Are you fed up of feeling sore 24/7 & frustrated like Sue was & want to know the method I use to get my rider's results?


Then send me an email to katie@eventriderfitness & let’s speak. 


Riders shouldn't just put up with being in pain & this is proof you can change & regain your c’est la vie for riding & life! Well done girl you crushed it. 


Katie

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