How to get rid of limiting beliefs (that prevent you from being a confident horse owner)

Here is a test to see how much you know about horses and horse training. Take a moment to get a pen and paper to write down your answers.

Simply complete these 10 sentences as fast as possible.

Don’t think, just write down first thing that comes up in your mind. This is super easy for horse people as well as novice riders. We all know the answers.

[EXERCISE] Complete these sentences

1. If a horse bucks you off, you have to get …

2. Don’t let him be the …

3. Stallions are very …

4. Never let a horse … !

5. Training horses is only for …

6. Mares are …

7. Chestnuts mares are …

8. When your horse walks away from you during at liberty, you have to …

9. Trailer loading is …

10. Horse owners are …

Take a look at your answers. Do you think there are limiting beliefs there?

There are some traditional answers. Have you heard these?

1. If a horse bucks you off, you have to get …  back on right away
2. Don’t let him be the … boss
3. Stallions are very … dangerous
4. Never let a horse … win!
5. Training horses is only for … professionals
6. Mares are … difficult
7. Chestnuts mares are … opinionated 
8. When your horse walks away from you during at liberty, you have to … show him who’s in change
9. Trailer loading is … hard
10. Horse owners are … rich

Apples can be great reinforcers for clicker trainersThe human mind is wired to recognize patterns. Not all apples look alike. You have small ones, red ones, yellow ones, green ones and so on. They look different and even taste different but you have learned to recognize and categorize it as an ‘apple’.

Your brain categorizes in order to make quicker discussions and keep you safe. If you have to test every apple you see in order to find out if it is ‘food’ or ‘poison’ you can die of starvation in the process. If it looks like an apple it probably is an apple, so you can eat it.

Categorizing can also do the opposite and hold you back, keep you in a certain behaviour pattern and keep you from trying new ideas. ‘Apples are food, so I don’t have to find other fruits to eat’. That causes you to get stuck and stay stuck. If you only eat apples you miss out on lots of other flavors and experiences.

If you believe Never let the horse win, your limiting yourself to the 2 categories: ‘winning’ and ‘loosing’ in riding. If you fall off of your horse and you consider that as a ‘win’ for your horse,  you probably feel like a looser. Or at least a ‘bad’ or ‘inexperienced’ rider. You probably want to get back on right away to ‘proof’ the opposite. Can you see how this limits you in your solutions? And how this kind of thinking limits your feelings and experiences?

If you think out of the box, you can find other points of view. I have never heard an instructor say this when something didn’t go as planned: ‘It’s a tie!‘. Nope, it is win or loose. How to get rid of this limiting belief?

What about letting go of the whole concept of winning and losing in horse training and riding? What would happen? How would you feel or react if you could stick to the facts instead. Let’s try this…

Fact: my horse suddenly started cantering
Fact: My horse bucked
Fact: I lost my balance
Fact: I fell off my horse

Consider the fact that your horse started to canter suddenly and bucked unexpectedly as ‘information’ it will be easier to choose to react differently.

It will be easier to investigate what made the horse run away and bolt: did something scared him? Or did he react to what you were doing? Or what else could have triggered the horse to spook?

When you find an answer, you can find a way to prevent this situation in the future. Now your mind is open to find ways to make your horse calm and confident. The more solutions you can think of the bigger your own confidence grows! If you want to become more confident, you can contact me.

Another piece of information can be that you lost your balance. You can ask yourself: How can I keep my balance so I don’t fall off my horse?

Break the Vicious Circle

When you think in terms of win and lose, you keep yourself in a vicious circle. If you are the one that is losing, it will provoke negative feelings (feeling like a looser causes shame, feeling inadequate or even despair).  You might want to have ‘revenge’. ‘Getting back’ at the horse for ‘throwing you off’ will not contribute to a relation based on trust.

(Even if you ‘win’ all the time, that means your horse is the looser. Where is the fun in that? Isn’t he suppose to be your friend?)

Think outside the box!

Letting go of a limiting belief creates freedom. That freedom can also be scary.

I dare you to try and find a way to get rid on at least one limiting belief you have so you can have the freedom to find better solutions and grow as a horse trainer.

Think out of the box! There is more out there than you can imagine!Think out of the Box! Be creative in horse training and get results

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” ~ Albert Einstein

What limiting belief did you free yourself from? What did it brought you? 

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Happy Horse training!

Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
I help horse owners get results in training they really, really want. Getting results with ease and lots of fun for both horse and human is important to me. Win-win!
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