Are you holding in your minds eye exactly how you DO want your ride to go when you're in the saddle? 💭🐴
Working with so many riders who struggle with fear - and having been a 'nervous nelly' rider myself for many years, I know that something nervous and fearful riders have in common is that they are imagining what they DON'T want to happen in their ride!
They see opportunities where they might fall off, or where their horse might spook, and scan about themselves looking for 'danger'. They keep picturing things that they don't want to happen. And in seeing these things, your mind (not being able to distinguish between real and imaginary fear) starts to feed your body with the feelings of REAL danger, even though its IMAGINED danger, and in-fact nothing bad might EVER actually happen to you.
Confident riders picture in their minds how they DO want their ride to go! They picture their horse bravely going into that corner and maintaining its rhythm and bend through the corner and bravely coming out of the corner in greater balance than they went into it.
They imagine how much fun it's going to be to pop into canter, and how much joy they get from riding and bonding with their horse! And if their horse gets a mild spook or has a moment of imbalance, they often don't even notice! They are so focused on how much they LOVE riding their horse, and what a positive experience it is and because their body isn't already adrenalised the ride continues to be a positive, wonderful and not at all a frightening experience! 🐎
And the CRAZY thing is - both of these riders could be having the EXACT SAME RIDE, but coming away with a completely different EXPERIENCE! 😯
And it is in YOUR POWER to choose which experience you would like to have.
It can take practice moving from imagining the negative 'what if's' to picturing the things that you DO want to experience and create in your riding, as you work towards becoming becoming the confident and calm rider that you have been dreaming of.
But you can start changing your thinking even before you get in the saddle. Practice imagining a WHOLE positive ride right from imagining catching your horse (and imagining how relaxed and calm he is) to grooming and tacking up, to hopping on and visualising an entire relaxed, happy, on the aids and wonderful ride - all from the comfort of your couch! TOP TIP: This is most powerful when you view this from the perspective of actually being in the picture (not looking at it from afar).
Then when you are really good at picturing these whole and lovely rides, it's time to take it to the stables and practice it with your horse!
Anytime you catch yourself imagining something going wrong STOP, rewind, reset!! Quickly switch your thought habit, and imagine instead what you DO want! Maybe that's how brave your horse is now that is has a wonderful confident rider, whatever it is, make sure you see yourself positively completing that movement, or transition or regaining your horses attention, and you will be so much better able to make it happen, free of the adrenaline and over reaction from your body!
Happy visualisation and riding! You've GOT THIS!!
Hello, I'm Stef Winwood, and I love to help riders regain their riding confidence and ditch fear and nerves in the saddle, for good!
As a rider, breeder, coach and ex 'nervous nelly' myself,I know how debilitating and frustrating fear and nerves can be, especially when they are robbing us of enjoying our pride and joy - our magnificent horses!
After a life changing accident in 2014, I was suffering from PTSD, and this was negatively effecting all areas my life, from my work to my relationships and my riding. And then my life was forever changed by NLP, or neuro linguistic programming, where suddenly I was in control of my mind like never before, and my fear was all gone. Read More