One of the questions I received about confidence was from a very worried woman who had tried confidence coaching – and it hadn’t worked for her.
A bit of background: she had ridden horses as a child, then worked, had her own family, and was now at 45, able to fulfil her dream of owning her own horse — but it had all gone wrong. She found the perfect horse and was hacking out and riding in the school at the livery yard and all was going well. However, she noticed that over time, she was becoming more and more anxious about riding her horse. She couldn’t think of any reason for this, and told herself not to be so silly — but it got worse.
First, she stopped hacking out alone, then she stopped riding out in company — when she realised she was scared and shaking when she went to ride her horse in the arena — she got help.
She did confidence courses, had NLP sessions — bought confident rider CDs — they all worked for a few days, but then the anxiety and fear came back.
When she got in touch with me, she was in a very unhappy place, her dream of owning her own horse and riding had fallen apart and she couldn’t understand why.
Interestingly, the rest of her life was still as solid as ever, so it didn’t look as if it was displaced anxiety — this really seemed to be about her and her horse.
So what would you be thinking at this stage?
Remember I said in one of the earliest posts on here, that fear is your unconscious mind’s way of keeping you safe? of stopping you from doing things it considers dangerous?
And that for a lot of us, the unconscious is being overprotective, keeping us safe when in fact there is little to actually fear in reality and as soon as we have strategies to prove we can be trusted, the fear goes away?
Well let me ask YOU a question — what if your unconscious is actually RIGHT?
What if you AREN’T safe to ride your horse?
What if your unconscious KNOWS that you really, truly do not understand how to ride, how to stay safe on your horse — and that your survival and success so far is more down to luck than any knowledge and skill?
That was what was happening here.
This particular client, although she had ridden as a child — had never “learned” to ride — had always just got on and stayed on and picked up a few techniques here and there
She had no understanding of WHY different riding techniques worked or didn’t.
In fact, when I set her a few “tests” in the school (eg ride your horse through that L pattern made from jump poles, tell me what your horse is thinking of this exercise..) she discovered that she did not know HOW to actually ride — or READ her horse!
Her image of herself as a child, being a confident rider, was probably a true one — many of us are confident as children despite not really knowing what we are doing LOL
However, when, as an adult, she bought her own horse and started riding — she realised at some level that she was not as sure as she thought but her conscious mind hid that away. After all, who out of any of us would like to admit that we “can’t ride”??? Especially after achieving our lifelong dream of having our own horse….
No wonder the “confidence coaching” didn’t work — because confidence wasn’t the issue — knowing how to ride was the issue….
We spent some time working on horse psychology and why certain body and rein movements cause a horse to move in certain ways – she was thrilled to learn WHY things worked, and equally excited to discover that she could “read” her horse’s emotions and keep herself and her horse safe.
As a result of our session, this woman is now following a natural horsemanship course which she is thoroughly enjoying, and is happily hacking her horse out alone and in company — only now, she knows what she is doing!
An interesting example of how our unconscious can sometimes be right!!
So if you have tried confidence coaching, and it hasn’t worked for you — maybe its time to stop and ask yourself: what do I really understand about my horse, myself and our partnership?
yours in confidence,