We all get into situations where we feel rather uncomfortable and unsure, doubting our ability and worrying that we are not capable of doing what is expected of us.
It can be something fairly simple like catching our horse and tying it up to things more advanced like putting the horse on the float and competing. Nerves get in the way and then it is easy to concentrate on all the things that can go wrong instead of focusing on what is going well.
As human beings we have the ability to predict what might happen in advanced and it is this ability that can become a bit of a problem, mainly if we keep predicting all the negatives.
That movie can play in our mind for hours or even days and the more we play that movie the more we start to feel that way.
Anchoring is a great tool to help us press the pause button and to get us back to a more positive and powerful thinking. An Anchor is like a trigger. By anchoring a positive experience it automatically triggers the brain to remember that particular experience.
Firstly, decide on a physical anchor movement. For example: Imagine you are holding your reins, making a fist with your thumb pointing to the top. Now your physical anchor could be pressing your thumb on to your index finger.
Secondly, think of a positive experience that you would like to anchor. For example: The last competition you went to and rode a brilliant dressage test. Now the key is to remember as much of the details that you can, like:
- Which horse did you ride?
- Where was the venue?
- What was the weather like?
- What were you wearing at the time?
- Was there any sounds like music, chatter, cars....?
- Did you have a caller and who was it?
- How did you feel?
- What were you thinking?
- How did your horse feel?
All these details are important because they help you to remember the experience and the more we remember about the experience the more we remember how we felt and as a result we are starting to feel the same way again.
Horses sense the way we feel and they will respond accordingly. If we feel tense, stressed, nervous or fearful this will show up in your physical body and the way you sit on a horse. For example, the areas of the rider that tense up first are generally the shoulders and the groin. Horses react to that tension by resisting the rider either through the neck and shoulder or in the back.
For the Anchor to be more powerful the rider should think of THREE different positive competition experiences and anchor all of them by pressing both thumbs onto the index fingers.
This will trigger the brain to vividly remember the experiences and the body will begin to feel the way it did when the actual experience happened.
This is a very effective tool to help any rider to feel more calm and relaxed have a better riding experience.