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NLP and Hypnotherapy for Equestrians

Equestrians, like other sportspeople, need a robust mindset. I think riding horses is about 70-80% mindset, especially if competing is involved.

Riders achieve more and enjoy their sport more when their unconscious mind is able to support them, allowing them to get into the zone, enabling them to ride worry-free and focus on their ideal outcome.

However, unlike other sports, equestrianism has the added challenge of a 1000lb/500kg semi-wild animal to deal with. And this is where some riders can flounder – their mind is simply so full of anxieties that they freeze, panic or playback worse case scenarios in their minds. 

Hypnotherapy and NLP are perfect for riders of any level, to aid them in releasing negative thoughts, beliefs and emotions and to harness the power of a positive mindset.

Why Ride, If It Scares You?


Equestrians the world over ride despite their fear...facing their fear through gritted teeth and feeling far better when they dismount than they ever feel while riding.

Add into the mix peer pressure from others at the barn or yard, an unhealthy dose of non-expert opinions on social media to "just get on with it", and the utter disappointment and frustration of the nerves taking over when you get on a horse. 

With all of that, if you’re not horsey, you may think that it’s madness to own and/or ride when it scares you silly. Yet, riders tend to be stoic characters who will plough on, despite setbacks.

So there does come a time when even the most pragmatic of personalities realize that they need help with their mindset, as their hobby is ruining their life!

Professional riders are not immune. Following a fall or a lackluster season, they may be subject to self-doubt, self-limiting beliefs, even a crisis of confidence and imposter syndrome. Riders at this level also have to train themselves to become business people, run a thriving yard and please the horses’ owners – this is often a set of pressures that they had not envisaged.

How NLP and Hypnotherapy Can Help

This is where NLP and hypnotherapy come into the picture. Not only are the techniques relatively quick, easy and fun, but riders can self-maintain by practicing the mind exercises or listening to a personalized hypnosis recording.

For a rider, the advantages are clear:

  • Be resilient in the face of the people who criticize
  • Lose the self-doubt and inner critic
  • Improve motivation and drive
  • Set compelling goals
  • Enhance performance and ability to enter a flow state
  • Increase confidence in a safe manner
  • Eliminate panic attacks
  • Learn to focus on what’s important 
  • Alleviate the symptoms and remove the emotions of a trauma or accident
  • Release repressed emotions that tie up their energies
  • Stop the disaster movies that run through the mind
  • Decipher what’s holding them back and eliminate it
  • Learn powerful and innovative mind tools
  • Fulfil their potential and learn how to win the mind game and compete successfully

By improving their mindset just a fraction, riders can see and feel a benefit in their riding and enjoyment. This is a powerful convincer to continue to explore how their mind could work to help them and their partnership with their horse.


Horses are prey animals and very sensitive to predator (e.g., human) emotions and actions. They can detect a human heartbeat about 4 feet / 1.2 metres away and they sense tension in a person’s movement.

As such, a nervous rider makes for a nervous horse. This is not a good combination, yet the more the riders try to calm themselves, the worse it becomes if they fail to do so.

Armed with a calmer and more focused mind, a rider will begin to notice changes in their horses too. They often report having a better bond with their horse or working more in harmony. 

It usually takes 1-2 sessions for a rider to begin to change how they feel when riding. When you think about how riding improves mindfulness, mental health and allows us to be around these very special equines, having a mindset session or two has a bigger impact than you may expect for an equestrian.

About the author

Tracey Cole

Tracey Cole is an IHA member and IHA Approved Course Provider. You can find out more about her work with NLP, hypnotherapy, and horses at https://traceycolenlp.com/

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Posted in Member Articles on June 10, 2024 by  Tracey Cole 0