• Positive about riding and horses!
  • NLP Sports Psychology
  • Working With Us
  • NLP for Riders
  • Books & Resources
  • Archives
  • Categories
  • Archive for the ‘Building Confidence’ Category

    Jump with confidence

    2011 - 03.11

    Jumping with confidence is a block for many riders at some part in their riding career, and luckily it is an area where NLP coaching can make a significant difference.  It is particularly important to work with an experienced coach with a good understanding of horses and training as part of working together is to develop new behaviours.  The following true story is about an experienced rider and demonstrates how NLP can be built into riding lessons.  

    Breaking a cycle of lost confidence in horse and rider

    Jenny used to love jumping, but a series of incidents had left both her and her mare nervous at the thought of jumping. The horse would sweat and start napping, if they went near the jumps in their schooling field. Of course this made Jenny tense and nervous too and the cycle just escalated.

    It was important to break the cycle with a change of states – for once the rider has changed her emotional state from fear to confidence, the horse will quickly follow.  This is a key part of  why an instructor can ride their pupil’s horse better than they can!

    In our first session together I asked Jenny to remember a time when she had really enjoyed jumping – a magic moment. She described it to me and by asking questions about it we intensified the memory. Then we ‘anchored’ it so that whenever she pressed her thumb onto her forefinger the memory and the feeling would come back. It was easy to see it had by the way her posture changed and her face lit up!

    By using it during the lesson she was able to keep the good memory as she came to the jump. The horse, of course, picked up Jenny’s new found confidence and relaxation, so she also calmed down and relaxed significantly and we were able to work over trot and canter poles.

    As we moved to small jumps, Jenny admitted that she was seeing a horrible image of crashing among poles, which was interfering with the good anchor we had set up. 5 minutes later the ‘collapse anchor’ technique to shift it left Jenny incredulous! ‘I can’t believe it, it’s just gone’ she said! Try as she would, she couldn’t get it back either…..  They finished that session with some low jumps approached in trot and canter, a huge smile on both their faces!

    Note :

    This example summarises just one aspect of the relationship between instructor and rider. NLP techniques need to be used in context and with regard for horse and rider safety.  My pre-assessment ensured that the issue with jumping was not due to back soreness, poor fitting tack or other issue with the horse.   I was able to assess the rider’s competence and balance.  Therefore, in this situation as an experienced instructor I  knew that the jumping would be safe, enjoyable and appropriate for the horse and rider at their stage of training.  Please beware of working with these techniques with people who are not qualified – or insured - to train riders and their horses.

    Keep learning – UK workshops & clinics

    2011 - 02.26

    Any top rider will tell you that they are still learning – so we are helping to build a website of open workshops and clinics for riders, instructors and horse lovers – all over the UK.

    This is because in her work as a sports psychologist for riders, Liz Morrison has found that a focus on self awareness and learning  is a great way to build confidence and work towards goals. It also helps to build the humility and openness that horses need from their riders. 

    The new website will be open to genuine equestrian specialists and organisations to publicise their workshops and clinics – Please ask your instructor or riding club leader to send us details by emailing us here.  It is being optimised to make it very easy to search by county and topic.  Please let us know the sorts of courses you are interested in attending too by registering with us here – we will email you when courses are added.  (more…)

    Blocks about jumping just vanish…

    2011 - 02.11

    Visualisation coupled with working with metaphor is a powerful combination of techniques for understanding how our pre-existing beliefs are blocking us from doing what we want.  For professionals in the horse industry this can have a significant knock on effect on their work and can spiral out of control.  The following example illustrates how intervention with a coach who understands the issues can have an immediate effect. 

    Working with visualisation & metaphor

    Mel loved working with horses and had set herself the objective of taking her British Horse Society exams with a view to becoming a BHS Assistant Instructor (equivalent to level one International Instructor). The problem was, when she came to jump, or even think about it, even the smallest fence would look like a huge brick wall. And it was definitely not jumpable!  On one hand she wanted to jump, but then she would just panic and pull up the horse.

    She came along to one of our one day courses, and volunteered to work with Liz  Morrison to demonstrate how NLP helps change such unwanted behaviours. We started with Mel describing the imaginary fence, and went into some detail about how high it was and the colour of the bricks. This was about developing the visual imagination. We made it higher and wider and then put it back to its original size – This gently loosens up the ‘stuck’ thinking - for the imagination is a wonderfully quick at making such changes!

    Liz then asked Mel to look more closely and she realise that in fact the bricks were so perfect in their repeating pattern that they had to be wallpaper. With the earlier stretching of the jump to being bigger and wider, she had brought the image to conscious attention and therefore in her control. So what would she do with the wall now?

    We considered whether she should just burn it down, jump through it like the police horse demonstrations or trample it down or whatever. She decided that she would dowse it with water until it became a soggy mass.  With the jump dissolved, she was able to think about jumping in a really positive manner and there and then she  happily booked a lesson for the next day!  Everyone in the room could see that she meant it, she was so happy; her old fear really had gone in the space of 10 minutes!

     She rang Liz the next day to say how well the lesson had gone, how the old brick wall had never even appeared and how much she had enjoyed being able to jump again. A few weeks later she passed her Stage 2 and several months later rang to say that she had just passed her Stage 3 – she was well on track for her goal again.


    By bringing the issue to her conscious attention , Mel had asserted her control over it and such was her motivation that it just took this simple intervention to get her back to where she wanted to be.  Other parts of the one day workshop included further coaching to ensure that the changes being made are congruent and build motivation.


    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

    Join other followers: