You may already know me a little but if we haven't met, let me introduce myself...
I'm Caroline, creator of Rhythm In Beads, part-time teacher of art/textiles, mum to 3 sons; (only 1 now at home) owner of cheeky piebald coblet Jasmine and cute CavaJack Jade, wife, and now also grandma :)
I've ridden and owned, mostly chunky po's: an assortment of Welshies, Highlands & cobs for most of my life but I've never been what I'd call brave.
As a child, I learnt to ride at 7 but it didn't come easily & I always allowed my thoughts to run away and play the 'what if' game! I had a bad experience right at the beginning, lesson 2, when I was somehow thrown off into the barrier; where I broke the planks!
So although I loved riding; when I felt I was on the 'right' pony, I'd go into a panic if I was put on a pony I considered too unreliable.
I can still remember the smell of the riding school office, which was also the tack room - all the bookings were written in a big book; the butterflies as you waited to learn which pony you were on - and whether the next hour was going to be enjoyable, or not!
After 4 years of lessons I persuaded my dad to get me my own, despite the riding school owner saying I wasn't ready!
The pony search began for real and my choice was a Shetland x named Billy, who was docile and super experienced but my dad knew I'd outgrow him fast (although I was tiny!) And so we found Monnow Gamble; a beautiful golden dun Welsh A, who to us - first time buyers, seemed like a dream! (we weren't to know that Monnow was lunged for 20 mins before all our visits!)
I vividly remember my first ride on him once we got him settled into his new home: he bit me on the knee, whilst trying to tack him up, which hurt & I had to pretend they were tears of joy to my mum, ( who wasn't keen horses/riding, or anything else that involved risk!)
We then went flying off down the lane, across the village green at full gallop, until Monnow decided that it was time to eat and I needed to learn to 'dismount quickly' ie: over his head!
Just think Thelwell and that was us!
It didn't help that Monnow was a very naughty pony, who regularly bucked me; and quite a few other people, off! He was an expert and loved showing up anyone who thought they could master him! He really was the cheekiest pony and I have many, many happy memeories of him, which always make me smile! It wasn't until I'd had him for about 4 years that I felt confident enough to go out on my own with him.
But I got braver and looking back, I m quite proud of how I persevered; not necessarily overcoming my fears but learning to manage them. I remember riding 5 miles back from a show on my own in a thunderstorm, i was terrified by the storm and lost all sense of direction, fortunately my pony hadn't and he took us home.
Fast forward to now: my riding journey has led me to Jasmine, who although not a rescue, has been through quite a few changes of homes, in quick succession, which has impacted on her and resulted in anxiety, which she hides quite well, mostly!
Her anxiety comes out when she is worried by change & then she has a tendency to be flighty & unpredictable.
It was through Jasmine that I discovered rhythm beads.
I was researching ways of dealing with this anxiety, and was interested in the sound of rhythm beads; I was drawn to the idea that she could be calmed without resorting to drugs. I prefer to keep things natural and non-invasive. And I liked the spiritual, earthy vibe of them, that spoke to me!
The rhythm beads worked well for both Jasmine and me, calming our nerves and helping us feel a better connection. I made them for friends and they too found their horses responded well, listening more and generally being calmer.
And so RIB began and I would say that the feedback I receive is one of the most uplifting and wonderful aspects of my little side-hustle! I get so much out of helping others enjoy they riding and horses more.
I still have ongoing issues with my confidence; I always will but I have strategies for dealing with it now.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today. Please feel welcome to get in touch to discuss anything; whether it's anxiety around horses/riding/confidence issues, spooky horses, or anything else - I'm always here!
You can reply in the comments, find me on Facebook & Instagram, email or give me a call: 07447425165
Talk soon, Caroline