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Improve Your Horse Riding And Your Horse Riding Confidence With Self-hypnosis

Written by Anne Gage for The Rider There’s a skill that elite and profes-

sional athletes use regularly to improve their skill and confidence - mental im- agery which is also known as self-hyp- nosis.

You may not be aware that you al-

ready use hypnosis and regularly hypno- tise yourself every day. But, instead of using it to improve your riding and con- fidence, you might be using it to keep yourself feeling anxious and not meeting your riding goals. You can learn to use self-hypnosis to

feel calm and confident and be successful with whatever it is you want to be and do as a horse rider.

What is hypnosis and how are you

Karen Dallimore, OAC ‘85 Great Beginnings

Horse Basics is a coaching service for horses and their handlers based in Orton, Ontario. Call me to find out how I can help you with

handling and husbandry, goal setting, Extreme Cowboy obstacle work, recreational riding or just plain enjoying your horse. For more infor-

mation visit my website at or find me on FB at Horse Basics.

Sweet Grass Farm, Orton, Ontario

519-855-1127 • • @horsebackwriter

already doing it every day without being aware of it? Hypnosis is a natural state of deep relaxation that we all use everyday. It’s also known as a trance state or being in a trance. So, you’re doing hypnosis anytime

you’re: • Daydreaming • turning your mental focus inwards • Really tuned into a movie or book • using your imagination (whether that’s in a good way or a not so helpful way) • doing a visualisation or mental re- hearsal Anytime we focus on a particular

experience whether in the past or in the future becomes a form of hypnosis. And when you experience a strong emotional response to something that’s happening in the present moment, you go into a hyp-

notic state. So we can scare ourselves and con-

vince our minds that horse riding is dan- gerous when we imagine something bad happening in the future or recall a bad ex- perience from our past. And it is really effective when you

put yourself into that situation in your mind. You evoke strong emotional re- sponses like fear or anxiety. And you add the physical sensations of what you would see, hear, smell, and feel. Whatever you focus on for long

enough and often enough, your uncon- scious mind believes to be true. Because your unconscious mind cannot differen- tiate between reality and imagination. You’re training your unconscious

mind that the appropriate response to rid- ing is anxiety. So, when you’re in that sit- uation you will feel anxious.

How to stop scaring yourself.

What do you do when you notice your- self imagining a bad outcome in the fu- ture or replaying a past negative situation? 1/ Stop those thoughts and images by hearing the word stop or seeing a large stop sign or traffic light. 2/ Replace the thoughts or images with positive ones.

How to use self-hypnosis to pre-

pare for an upcoming event or im- prove your performance. First, get into a relaxed, calm state. The more relaxed and calm, the better your self-hypnosis will work. Your eyes can be closed or open and staring off into space.

Once you’re relaxed, use your imag-

ination to get a sense of yourself doing the activity or being in a particular situa- tion. The stronger the sensations and emotions, the more effective it will be. You need to believe it, feel it and see

it as if you’re experiencing it in the pres- ent moment. It’s really important that you: • Are in a really calm mental state as you begin that process • imagine the event in a positive way; • feel the emotions strongly; • See it through your own eyes as if you are doing it; • Repeat often By practicing in your imagination in

a hypnotic state, you can improve your confidence as well as your riding skills. *If you’ve had a traumatic past ex-

perience, self-hypnosis may not be enough. You may need help from a hyp- notherapist to release the negative emo- tions from the memory

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