Everyone, at one point in their life has lost confidence in some way whilst riding.
This may be attributed to having had an accident, a fall or alternatively having been present when someone else had a bad experience.
For the adults amongst us, some of us can all remember as teenagers, being fearless. No horse too fast, no jump to big...
However nowadays, we are now more diligent in everyday life, knowing only too well the consequences of falling off our horse or having an accident.
Some of us conquer these restricting thoughts and can still enjoy our favourite pastime.
However, others often find it hard to let go of these negative thoughts and feelings in certain circumstances. These negative thoughts often stem back to an event that may have happened many years before.
The tension and anguish they experience impacts, firstly on their riding ability and secondly on their enjoyment. An event may trigger these thoughts.
A fall from their horse whilst jumping, regardless of how long ago, can often trigger this response.
The person who had fallen off can be transported back to the exact moment, where they re-live the event all over again but this time in their head. This can be triggered by someone bringing poles or jump stands into the arena. When this happens the rider transmits this tension and anguish to their horse.
The rider may even regress back to the actual event and run a video in their head of the event from start to finish. As they connect with these feelings, the horse also becomes aware of the riders nervousness.
The horse will pick up on these negative feelings and in turn start to become edgy about the whole jumping experience.
When we grow up and travel through life we naturally have good experiences and memories of events in our life. This is fantastic and allows us to look at back at these times.
If we have a bad experience, why do we keep replaying the images of the event?
Thereafter, every time we encounter an event that is similar in life, we pull up our map of this previous bad experience. This is not useful and serves no purpose to us as adults. The bad experience may have happened in childhood and is no longer true. However we continue to hang on to it?
This belief system just needs to be updated. I would now like to talk about being in rapport with your horse.
In life when we are in rapport with a person or indeed horse, we are as it says in the dictionary in “a relationship of mutual understanding and agreement” this statement fits perfectly with our working relationship with our horse. I’m sure we have all experienced what it is like to be in rapport. An initial meeting with someone we have never met before?
We just seem to bond immediately with that person as if they have been our friends for years.
There is no friction or one-upmanship between them and they enjoy one another’s company. If we studied the relationship, we would agree the two people are in rapport with each other. This can also be true of some horse/rider combinations.
Have you ever sat on a horse, to find that you just needed to think of something and your horse has already done it?
This is called being in rapport with your horse. The horse and rider working as one. However, when we are not in rapport with our horse this can throw up its own set of problems. Instead, all the signals and aids you are giving your horse are not working. The horse can become nappy and disobedient, making the riding experience more demanding.
Often riders get annoyed with their horse for not doing as they ask, when however, they have been giving feeble instructions that aren’t clear. Instead of the horse being thought of as disobedient, what if he just didn’t understand what was being asked?
It would be like us only saying every third word in a conversation with our friend. They might pick up the vague meaning of the conversation, but they would be confused to say the least. Who would be at fault here? You or your friend?
We couldn’t really blame our friend, as they weren’t receiving the correct information to make of sense of this conversation.
Have you ever had a battle with your horse when trying to get him on the bit or to canter on the correct lead?
This battle only serving to make the situation even worse. Getting more and more irritated by the horse for not doing as you asked. What if, just like your friend, he didn’t receive clear enough signals of what you wanted to communicate to him. This would leave you both exasperated by each other, when all that is really needed is to communicate your instructions more clearly and also give him time to absorb these instructions.
We now move onto the matter of performance in relation to competition or alternatively exams.
Many people become nervous before an exam or competition but somehow manage to channel these nerves and use them to benefit the situation. Whereas, there are some people who perform perfectly at home prior to the competition but fall to pieces on the day. Their nerves literally get the better of them and they come away from the event demoralized and annoyed with their reaction once again.
Sometimes the pressure is external and is caused by parents of peers.
However, often it’s the persons themselves who is causing this situation. What if the rider could learn new tools to change their thought process prior to the event. By using these tools, their bad, nervous feeling could be replaced by new more relaxed thoughts.
Do you think this change could change the whole outcome of the event or exam ? We all have the ability to say things like “When I get on my horse I’ll be scared for the first 5 minutes!” Who told them that? At one point in the past, the rider must have felt nervous and so THEY decided that every time they rode that we would be nervous, for 5 minutes!!
I could never win a competition? I will never be able to jump?
These are called limiting belief’s which serve no purpose in our life but we insist on keeping them, whether this decision is conscious or unconscious.
These examples can be easily rectified and the outcomes changed. This process is much easier than everyone thinks.
Equi-Core involves not only the use of Core body strength but also the Core of the mind.
We must use both mind and body to communicate with our horse and become more than just a passenger but a successful partnership.
Anyone wishing to discuss this further. Please contact me using the form below.