Have you ever really thought about how your mind works? The principles of NLP consider there to be two different parts to our minds; the conscious mind, i.e. the logical and rational part, and the unconscious mind, i.e. emotional, contains deeply held beliefs, and controls 97% of our behaviour.

I see many riders trying to solve problems with their logical and rational minds, only to find that their unconscious mind stops them. Have you ever thought or said, “Why can’t I just do it?”, or “I just need to get on with it!”. Sound familiar? Logically, we often know the instructions to achieve a certain movement, or jump a course of fences, however if you don’t fundamentally believe that you can do something, your unconscious mind will step in and try to keep you safe.

So how can we resolve this challenge? Ultimately we’re aiming for congruency between the conscious and unconscious minds, and there any many different psychological techniques to help develop this. However a really simple way to improve the chances of congruency is to visualise or imagine what you want to happen. The unconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what is imagined, so if you can use your creative imagination to see, hear and feel an event going really well, then your unconscious mind will take this as how it should be, and will direct your behaviour to make it happen.

Equally, the more you visualise the worst case scenario, the more likely it is to happen!

So my challenge to you is that when you feel those negative thoughts or visions appear in your mind’s eye, take a moment to reset, imagine exactly the outcome that you want, i.e. the very best it could be, and visualise what you want to see, hear and feel. You can do this while you’re on your horse, or away from the yard, it really doesn’t matter. The more you practise imagining in great detail what you WANT to happen, the more your unconscious mind will get onside and help you achieve it.