|PART 2| How you can change you riding without getting on your horse

Where do thought patterns come from?

Thought patterns come from memories and past experiences.

Your brain is already wired in a certain way and you’ll do everything to prove yourself right. That’s what we call selective hearing. You only hear what feels congruent with your subconscious beliefs—and if I would come to you and tell you how fantastic and talented you are, you would find thousands of reasons to make me wrong, simply because it does not fit your belief of ‘who you are’. 

Our personality is formed during childhood and our beliefs come from what we hear our parents, teachers and peers say about us. We not only copy what our parents do, we also take on what our parents say and how our parents feel about themselves. This is one of the reasons why personality traits tend to follow one generation to the next.

If you are lacking in self belief and you are told over and over by riding instructors and friends that you need to improve on this and learn to do that—even though they mean it in an honest, loving way and not as a criticism at all—you can easily form the conclusion that you are not good enough. Or, sometimes people tell us straight out that we are hopeless and we take this on as truth. We tell ourselves we are hopeless over and over until the neurological connections form a negative pattern.

Then someone very innocently gives us constructive feedback and due to our old experience we can only see the criticism in the feedback because it matches up with our already-formed belief.

We are already focusing on the things we subconsciously want to hear, instead of listening independently to the words.

I had a woman in a lesson who, when I told her that she was doing a fantastic job in sitting to the trot, turned and said, “You are just saying this because you want me to come back for more lessons.” It was so out of her reality, she simply couldn’t accept the compliment.

It’s not until we become conscious that we can make changes.

We’ve learned that our neurological pathways need to be used in order to stay connected. If we do the same things over and over again, we use the same pathways and maintain the same connections—and that leads to the same results.

Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome.


Change only comes when we do something different. 

How do we make changes?

  1. Become aware of your thoughts. Pay attention to your own inner chatter and scan it for ‘key’ words. If you say “I don’t want to fall off” your brain only hears the fall off part. 
  1. Begin ‘consciously’ thinking about and focusing on the things you ‘really’ want to achieve; like, having a great lesson, improving your riding or getting placed at an upcoming competition.
  1. Be prepared to do what feels uncomfortable. Doing the same old thing makes us feel comfortable but also gives you the same old result. Constantly putting yourself down or focusing on everything that can go wrong might seem right to you because we are used to it but it doesn’t help to change a habit. When what you are doing feels unnerving, strange and unfamiliar, it is because you are doing something different and are out of your ‘comfort’ zone—and that’s what will get you a different result.

The greatest athletes stick with what works and change what doesn’t!

Not many athletes are successful at changing their mindset alone—that’s why they have a coach.