10 Ways to be a more confident rider

Posted on May 19, 2015 by Categories: News
  1. Your mind can be described as having a conscious part and an unconscious part. The two minds need to be in agreement for your riding to improve. A disagreement in the minds affects your mental state and, hence, your ridden ability. Your conscious mind is logical and very rational. The unconscious mind is very different. Approximately 95% of the mind’s functioning is unconscious, including control of bodily function, storage of memories, emotions and habits. The unconscious mind is not one of analysis and words. This means that talking yourself into doing something that frightens you is unlikely to succeed. The unconscious mind much prefers pictures and metaphors. This is why successful sports people visualise the perfect tournament or competition, they train their unconscious mind to translate their vision into what they want. This demonstrates an important premise of NLP and hypnotherapy; using carefully constructed images and metaphors, we can open a gateway to the unconscious mind. Importantly, we engage the unconscious mind in a manner that it understands readily. For those who suffer from riding nerves, it is the change at the unconscious level that assists in changing attitudes and behaviours.


  1. Be kind to your unconscious mind! Often, we chatter in our heads about our riding. In most cases, we’re negative and overly critical, we use harsh words and punish ourselves mentally for the slightest mistake. The unconscious mind listens and takes all of this to heart. Start to alter your internal dialogue, because talking to your unconscious self is rather like talking to a child; be positive, work on your mistakes by learning from them and seeing them as opportunities to progress. Being excessively unforgiving with yourself suggests to your unconscious mind that riding is not for you, the exact opposite of what you desire! Treat yourself like you would your (inner) child, don’t destroy their love for the sport.


  1. Don’t use negatives in your self-talk! The unconscious mind does not hear ‘not’ or ‘never’ or ‘no’. When you tell yourself, “I must not fall off at that jump,” or, “I hope I don’t forget my dressage test,” your unconscious hears the sentence without the ‘not’! As a part of the mind that strives to do its best for you, it will try to grant your wishes! Be careful of your language, be considerate and sympathetic to yourself.


  1. Peripheral vision technique. Great for more visual riders, who can see in their minds eye the problem being visually pushed away and eliminated. For more information see https://www.traceycolenlp.com/peripheral-vision-the-ideal-state/


  1. Use of incongruent music i.e., mismatching the music and your feelings of anxiety. Think of a time, a specific time when you were confident in something that you were doing. Do you have a picture of that time? Close your eyes and see what you saw, hear what you heard and really enjoy those deep feelings of confidence; now as your confident feeling surges, start playing your music. As the feelings subside, turn the music off. Use upbeat music or music that makes you feel more than usually confident (I love the theme from ‘Black Beauty’). Play it on your phone whilst riding and as you tack up. (Care! Don’t use earphones whilst riding.). Hum that tune as you think about calm, confident riding. Get that song in your head – and your confidence follows!


  1. Anchor your happy, confident feeling using a visual cue. Use the technique above, but when the confident feeling rises to a crescendo, look at a visual stimulus. As the feelings decrease, look away from the dot. I like to use those sticky coloured dots you can buy from stationers. Choose 1 colour and place a dot on your phone, your fridge on the reins or back of the brow band. Anywhere you will see it to remember and recapture that confidence.


  1. Try walking, riding or flying along your timeline! This is the basis of the fun, yet powerful technique of Time Line Therapy™. We remove all negative emotions, without having to delve into old memories. This makes Time Line Therapy™ perfect for anyone who wants to overcome the trauma of an accident or injury, as well as riders harbouring a mixture of negative emotions: fear, anger, frustration, guilt, sadness, disappointment etc. We use a combination of specialised language and active imagination to gain access to the unconscious mind. We communicate with the unconscious mind using imagery, making real changes and removing obstructions. It is an extremely profound technique, everyone who experiences it is surprised and delighted by the results! For more information see https://www.traceycolenlp.com/timeline-therapy/time-line-therapy-for-equestrians/


  1. Do you have beliefs that limit your certainty of yourself as a rider? Sometimes, deep down, we have troublesome, unhelpful thoughts about our abilities. These limiting beliefs are held at the unconscious level and can be quite persistent and stubborn. Time Line Therapy™ is a gentle and effective means of removing limiting beliefs. For more information see https://www.traceycolenlp.com/timeline-therapy/time-line-therapy-for-equestrians/


  1. Self-hypnosis. All hypnosis is actually self-hypnosis, the depth of relaxation depends upon you, not the hypnotherapist. You are always in control. Hypnosis provides an altered day-dream like state and as such allows us to gain passage into the unconscious mind. For more information, see https://www.traceycolenlp.com/hypnosis/


  1. Personalised hypnosis. Hypnosis works best when your unconscious mind hears something that it recognises as familar. Having your hypnosis prepared especially for you helps to create wonderful pathways into your unconscious mind and paves the way for lasting changes. For more information, see https://www.traceycolenlp.com/new-personalised-hypnotherapy-recordings-2/