Help for the nervous rider: 5 tips for riding instructors, coaches and trainers

Posted on June 27, 2017 by Categories: News

(1) Instead of saying what you don’t want the student to do…..

Say what you do want them to do

Why? The unconscious mind, the part of the mind that stores our memories, habits and emotions, as well as out learning strategies, does not process the word ‘not’. In fact it simply ignores it! If you say, don’t lean forward, the unconscious mind hears: lean forward. And the student leans forward without thinking!


(2) Instead of saying, “You should…..”

Say, “This is an even easier way to …….”

Why? It’s far gentler and more acceptable to someone who is already worried about their riding


(3) Instead of saying, “You can do it!”

Say, “If I could do this, so can you!”

Why? Again, it’s far more accepting to the unconscious mind as a softer approach, shows an empathy with the student’s current challenges.


(4) Instead of saying, “I think you’re ready to do X now.”

Say, “You don’t have to do X until you’re ready.”

Why? Use of the word until is a great way to take pressure off. Many nervous riders will feel extreme pressure to do exceptionally well during a lesson or training session. This lessens the pressure that they already feel to perform well.


(5) Instead of saying, “we’re going to X today.”

Say, “I wondering if you could do X today.”

Why? Read the sentence above and emphasise the words in italics. The unconscious mind cuts through the waffle and hears the command, “Do X today.” Although we aren’t aware that we’ve been given a command, the unconscious mind knows what’s required now. Once more, it’s a softening technique, that slips through our logical, analytical conscious mind, yet beomes embedded in our unconscious mind.

One more thing to note, the unconscious mind is said to be our ‘goal getter’. Tell the unconscious mind what you want and it will strive to get you there. Hence, using language with volition and due care can help nervous riders accomplish their goals more easily and more comfortably.


If you’d like to learn more about use of language, the unconscious mind techniques for enhancing confidence and promoting performance, join us for our Equestrian NLP Practitioner training (21st -27th October 2017). You’ll walk away with an advanced toolkit of the most up to date mental strategies, helping you to help yourself and others. Registration and our early bird pricing is now open!


For a brochure and more information, click here