I have a great instructor although I’m still fearful or nervous of X– what difference would a confidence coach make?
This is a question I often answer and it’s a great one too! Most horse riders have some form of instructor, trainer, coach, knowledgeable friend who teaches, or whatever you want to call them. That’s fantastic! They can teach you the mechanics of riding and are normally very good at improving your skills and sometimes therefore your confidence. Some instructors are even good at understanding the mind and how it affects your horse, but do they know how to help you change your thinking for good?
Confidence is about far more than just skills. So many people say “I used to jump 1.20m” or “I never thought anything about just going hacking out” but (insert horror story) happened and now I can’t even think about it. Or “each time I have a lesson I have to go back to square one and work back up to where I last left off, so I don’t feel I am really progressing”. Sometimes actually nothing has happened they just feel they are slowly losing the positivity they once had, “I can get really great dressage moves at home but put me in a warm up and all I see is how much better the other riders are”. Clearly these riders have the skills, so what is stopping them?? That’s where a Confidence Coach comes in…
As a certified NLP Practitioner and Equine Assisted Coach I have a whole toolbox full of techniques that we use to help you to essentially rewire your brain and translate your positive thinking to your horse. This allows you to think the way you want to about the things you want to do and to give the past experiences far less power over your actions (or lack of). Once your brain is behaving, so can your body and then you get the results with your horse (and your instructor will love your new way of thinking too)!
What is NLP??
It stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. Sounds scary?! Its definitely not, in fact it’s quite the opposite. It can quite literally be described as the study of success.
Neuro refers to how the mind and body interact
Linguistic refers to the insights into a person’s thinking that can be obtained by careful attention to their use of language
Programming refers, not to the activity of programming, but to the study of the thinking and behavioural patterns or ‘programmes’ which people use in their daily lives.
Using these successful techniques we literally change your thinking so that past negative experiences don’t come straight to mind when you think of what you want to do. We also create new ways of positive thinking that slowly but surely teach the brain to behave differently and get your where you want to be.
The Pathway to Success
I talk about it as a pathway to a front door. The front door is the thing you want to achieve. The brick pathway is the positive way of getting there (and the way your instructor wants you to use). However the shortcut that your brain has started to make cuts across the front lawn to the door and has created a muddy path that you don’t want. But it’s so well worn and quick to use that it’s hard to get it to use the lovely brick pathway that you do want. When you can understand how to use the brick pathway and use the muddy one less often, you find that the grass starts to grow and the muddy pathway eventually disappears. This is NLP and the pathways are your neurons in the brain. Humans can create them very easily and are doing all the time at an unconscious level! Amazingly, just making our pathways conscious changes the way we think and means we achieve the results we really want.
So an instructor may be getting you to physically do the task, but unless you address the muddy pathway they will find it very hard to get you over that blocker and use the brick pathway, which they know how to use, to get the result you want.
Equine Assisted Coaching adds another layer that makes the recipe all come together into a beautiful cake of achieving your goals, filled with the jam of confidence…
Equine Assisted Coaching works with your mind and explores just how much it does affect your horse. I combine NLP and horse work in hand and see what your horse has to say about your thinking. This is when we often get the most profound results! Your horse is always reading your mind even if you are trying to disguise it. They can see straight through the act. So we get to the heart of the matter and ensure you are being truthful with your horse. Then we find out if there are any more things we need to work on or if what we have done so far is accepted by your horse. Once you change your thinking you will really see how your horse reacts in a far more positive way. This work not only helps your confidence but your horses’ too and it can really depend your relationship, which is a massive bonus for your both!
Once you then move onto the ridden work you really feel the difference that your thinking makes to your body and what your horse is picking up on. Once you catch that moment of uncertainty that makes your horse back off the jump you can catch it and ask you horse to keep going. Or understand that thinking about all of the possible horrible outcomes of going past the plastic bag out hacking is translating to your horse and you can support them. Maybe you now get why looking at all the other competitors in the warm up and deciding they are better is actually not helping your riding and supporting horse to perform at their best too.
So my Confidence Coaching goes beyond the physical skills and into the deeper realms of your mind and body connection, with your horse too. Just think about all the things you could achieve if you changed your way of thinking about them and how much your instructor will appreciate that lovely brick pathway they can use to get to your front door quickly and without getting muddy!!