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Jane Savoie's Freedom From Fear Series

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  • Jane Savoie's Freedom From Fear Series


    I am interested in purchasing this series. I think it may be of great use to me; at least, I am hopeful.
    I'd like to ask if anyone has used it, your opinion of the series, and did it help you?
    Just like a little feedback before I drop a nice chunk of change....

    thanks, in advance.
    My lovely girls:
    Cloud Chaser H (Europia x Silver Lining EA, by Fame VF) and
    BW Jodilee (DBM Silladdinn x Hana of Nizzor, by Lewisfield Nizzor)

  • #2
    I have no information to share about the series, but you might find some information in her books about dealing with fear. I wish her marketing wasn't so smarmy, but I can't get past it to try any of her videos, although I know people like them.

    Anyway, years ago I had a very bad fall (multiple falls, actually) and went from loving riding to being scared to jump, then being scared to canter, then being scared to trot, and the only thing I would do was walk. I was determined to get over my fear and on my own came up with the following approaches (which are probably de rigueur for dealing with fear but I had to figure it out on my own).

    Breathing is a big tool to help you with fear. To prepare before a ride, sit some place quietly (in your car, or in the tack room where you won't be disturbed), close your eyes, and focus on your breath.

    First, notice *where* you are breathing - are you breathing into your chest only? Are you breathing tension into your shoulders? Notice *how* you are breathing. As you inhale, does your body expand or contract? A lot of people breathe backward - inhaling and sucking the belly in and exhaling and pushing the belly out.

    Now focus on your belly. Hold your hand on your belly and as you inhale, feel your belly expand and push your hand away; as you exhale, feel your belly contract as your hand moves in toward your spine. Focus on belly breathing so you can really get a good feel for it. [Side note - a lot of time when we're riding and we're scared, we're breathing into our chest, not our belly, and our breathing is shallow. If you can become conscious of your breathing and change it so that you breathe deeply and into the belly, you'll lower your center of gravity, your shoulders will relax, your arms will relax, and you can sink into the saddle and transmit a message of calmness to your horse. Easier said than done but with practice, you can be mindful and change your breath.]

    Now that you've got your belly breathing down, focus on the length of your breath. Doing a breath retention exercise will help you release tension and calm your nerves. Inhale for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 4. Exhale slowly for a count of 8 so that when you get to 8 you've pushed all the air out of your lungs. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

    You should feel calmer and more relaxed after this breathing exercise. From this place of calm, do some affirmations to help get your mind in the right place. Pick some words that embody what you want in your ride - NOT what you don't want. Your brain isn't good at "don't" and instead will pick up whatever word is after "don't". For example, if you tell yourself "don't be nervous" or "I'm not nervous," your brain will hear "be nervous" or "I am nervous." Instead of using a "don't" modifier, find a different and positive word to tell yourself. "I am calm" or "I am confident" or "I am strong" or whatever. I've used affirmations like this with great success. Inhale and say "I am calm"; exhale and say "I am confident" or something like that - remember your belly breath.

    Finally, do some gentle stretches to get your body to release tension. Lunges, side bends, hamstring stretches, shoulder rolls are all easy to do and can take you only 5 minutes or so.

    It sounds like a lot to do before you ride, but I will say that a program of doing this consistently helped me overcome great fear. Once you get the hang of it, doing this will only take 15 minutes or so and will put your body and mind in the right space for having a positive ride. I definitely notice a difference in when I do this vs. when I don't do this. I went from someone who had a very bad fall and was afraid to do much more than walk to someone who is calm (mostly!) and confident and enjoys riding. I gallop out on the trails, I do dressage, I jump, and I'm happy in my riding.

    Good luck!
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


    • #3
      Best cure for fear after a bad fall

      please, please please -- I know it sounds counter-intuitive -- but contact The Complete Equestrian in Bedford, MA and ask for their Bareback Dressage Kit. It has complete instructions on how to use the very unique bareback pad, and side reins, etc. And has back stories and testimonials from those who have overcome long-deep seated fears by letting their horse "teach" them how to find their balance. Almost all the falls I have observed (short of a fall after a fence) have been from riders losing their balance, pitching forward while pulling on the reins, gripping with thighs and knees, and pushing their feet forward against the saddle. All this triggers lots of bad things in their horses. I have started probably 50 beginners and/or "fear-based" people using the elements in this kit. I was fortunate enough to have a trained-but-gentle FEI-level Arab cross to help fill in when the rider's horse needed some training to meet them half-way. But I was fascinated to learn that many of the handicapped riding programs use bareback pads to help their riders find their BALANCE...which is what keeps you on the horse (never strength), and also helps the horse tell you when he is tense BEFORE something happens. EVery single one of my riders, all of whom expressed dismay at starting without a saddle, ALL SAY THE SAME THING when i put the saddle back on..."do we HAVE to put the saddle on? It's so much more comfortable bareback!"

      PS - Jane is a delightful, very upbeat and fun instructor, unique in that she has patience and understanding for all levels of riders and all types of horses. But she is a marketing maven, which may put some people off. I highly recommend all her stuff, as she is just uplifting and fun as well as knowledgeable. I have known her for a long time. And I continually forward her tips to those who ride with me.

      But, having been in this business a long, long time, I can truthfully say that nothing BEATS letting your horse teach you how to find the balance and connect with his or her back. After your horse becomes your primary teacher, you can use all the input you can get....from Jane and anyone else who "speaks" to you...through your horse.


      • #4
        Thanks for the kind words, Candy!
        jane savoie
        dressage mentor


        • #5
          Originally posted by candaceclemens View Post

          PS - Jane is a delightful, very upbeat and fun instructor, unique in that she has patience and understanding for all levels of riders and all types of horses. But she is a marketing maven, which may put some people off. I highly recommend all her stuff, as she is just uplifting and fun as well as knowledgeable. I have known her for a long time. And I continually forward her tips to those who ride with me.

          Sure there are coaches who have lots of info to relate, but Jane relates it. Her expertise is available and much of it is available free on Youtube. So what if she makes money from some of it? No one would pay for it, and keep paying for it, if they did not think it was worthwhile.

          I didn't buy the "Freedom from Fear" series because, thanks to two of her earlier publications and the support of her DressageMentor, I was able to restore the confidence another well known clinician totally destroyed.
          I wasn't always a Smurf
          Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
          "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
          The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


          • #6
            And also!

            To candace: I believe the OP was looking for comments on Jane's series, NOT to have someone jump in the market their own product.

            As for the "damning by faint praise" comments......Snort!!

            I have always envied Jane's ability to concisely explain the components of basic movements, in print. She always gets things in the correct order, and leaves nothing out. I'm always skipping things in an explanation and then having to back-peddle.
            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


            • #7
              Marketing is ok at our stores, and on the tv... What resteraunt do you go to that has no marketing? Which workout equipment do you use that has none?

              But in horses... Sniff sniff...

              Incredible the judgement against a working party in our sport that is pumping sponsorship money and relevance into it.

              Watching Jane I remember or learn something most times in addition to my excellent trainers I get to use.
              ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~


              • #8
                Have you ever thought "Gee I wish I could have a clinic with......"? or "I wonder how ....does that"? Sure some of the top riders give an occasional clinic or symposium or magazine article or have written one book but in many cases they don't share their knowledge all that widely.

                Have you ever wished "There's a super clinic only a few hours away, sure wish I could go" but the time or budget just wasn't there? I know I've got to block out about 5 hours just for a lesson....a clinic is pretty much out of the question. (Not to mention that Sophie is neither reliably sound or reliably training level )

                So all that "marketing" gives me access to info that otherwise I wouldn't have.
                I wasn't always a Smurf
                Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                • #9
                  Freedom from Fear

                  I have this and I really think it has helped me a great deal. There is one CD in particular that she describes several visualization and relaxation techniques that I have found very useful. I have heard people talk about techniques but never describe them in detail like she does. The only part of the series that I did not find useful was the clicker training stuff - just seems misplaced to me. I have not been an easy person to work with regarding my fear because I really freeze when I am in that place. It has been great to have the actual techniques to get me through. It has been worth the $$$ to me and I am a fan of JS.


                  • #10
                    Jane - please consider making your materials available via itunes. If I could watch some of you series on my ipad, I'd buy.
                    Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.

                    Collecting Thoroughbreds - tales of a re-rider and some TBs


                    • #11
                      Freedom from Fear

                      I have the series as well. I found it very helpful and it has worked for me. I go back and use it often when I am at a "sticky point" in my training... I can almost hear Jane's voice in my mind when I am at a less than comfortable place.

                      The great thing about the series is that there are so many options, so one might work for you at a particular point in your journey and then another may suit you at a later point! Well worth the money!!!!!!
                      We do not have an overpopulation of dogs, we have an under population of responsible dog owners!!!