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10.06.2014
If you’ve been struggling with building your confidence and feeling less anxious when handling or riding your horse, you may wonder why it is so difficult. Have you noticed how much easier it is to remember negative experiences than positive ones?
Even if you have more positive experiences than negative ones, unless you consciously focus on those positive ones long enough to move them into our long term memory you will remember the negative experiences more easily. It is possible to balance against this negative bias by making positive experiences stickier than negative ones.
According to Psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentimihalyi, unless your brain is occupied with other thoughts, it’s default is to worry.
Writing down good experiences can help keep you in a positive mind set for longer periods of time. Ever wonder why there is so much negative news in the media (and that includes social media)?
To keep you safe from harm, your brain would rather have you perceive something as more dangerous than it actually is. There are lots more practical and in depth tips on improving your Confidence and your Partnership with your horse in my book “Confident Rider, Confident Horse: Build Your Confidence While Improving Your Partnership with Your Horse from the Ground to the Saddle”. Anne Gage started Confident Horsemanship in 2002 after suffering the loss of her confidence for riding.
Working with Anne Gage is filled with 'Ah ha' moments as you begin to communicate in a way that the horse can understand and start developing a relationship that is mutually respectful. That’s because that prehistoric part of our brains called the Amygdala uses about two thirds of its neurons to detect negative experiences and potential threats. Because they lived in a time when threats to their lives were everywhere (hello sabre toothed tiger), they needed that constant vigilance. And that affects your ability to build your confidence and feel less anxious around your horse.


To retain positive experiences you need to really stay with the experience for at least 10-20 seconds. Keep a gratitude journal and every day write in it 3 good things that happened in the past 24 hours. Because negative stories attract a bigger audience … and makes more money for the news industry.
The ideas you shared have been hot topics of conversation between us all with many examples popping up with the horses and in life in general.
We incorporate all aspects of the horse from being safe around them, how to care for them, including grooming, ground training and riding. So, our brains evolved to detect and remember dangerous, and potentially dangerous, events. When something good happens, focus on your emotions and physical sensations to really absorb the experience. Do your best to take the emotions out of the situation so that you can be accurate and objective in your interpretation of the event. But, by using the 5 techniques to apply conscious awareness (mindfulness) you can amplify the positive while diminishing the negative.
Instead of just letting those moments slide by, be mindfully aware of them and allow them to positively affect you.
This technique is particularly useful when you’re future thinking or visualizing a negative outcome of something you have yet to do.
They usually run around all over the place on the lead but I would bring them back, have them calm down drop heads, square feet and once relaxed I would gently spray again.
But, positive experiences must be held in our conscious awareness for more than 12 seconds in order to move from our short term to our long term memory.
If, for example, you’ve been invited to go for a trail ride with a riding friend and you start to feel anxious because you imagine your horse spooking.


And so we easily recall that 1 negative experience despite having had many positive experiences. Some of these goals may include but are not limited to making friends, being accepted, overcoming depression, suicidal tendencies,working through ADHD, increasing attention span, have a place to belong, build confidence, experience respite, becoming more responsible, to learn and practice leadership and discover who God is.A  In everything we do, our mission is to help each student reach their goals through working with horses and by experiencing God's love, grace and hope.
Our horses.A  Our horses often times can reach to the souls of the students where others are not allowed to go.
Taking this time to be mindful of the experience – even if it only lasts a short while – helps strengthen the memory so it’s easier for you to recall.
Horses break the ice, create a common bond between the students andA  can often drop walls that have been securely locked allowing growth and healing to take place. Horses accept students unconditionally and challenges them to face who they are and to strive towards becoming a better person.A  Students often feel a rise in self-esteem and confidence as they learn the tools to work around and ride a horse that they then apply to areas in their own lives. Each student has a chance to choose who they want to be regardless of the labels they may have outside of here. Everyone is treated as equals and students work together to take care of the horses and facility as a team. It teaches all aspects of riding and covers basic horse care, natural horsemanship, and fundamentals in dressage (English) riding. Sessions can be private or they can be with other children depending on the needs and skill level of the student.A There are three basic curriculum levels. The Green series is all about the basics and will take a student who has never been around horses through three levels and teach them the fundamentals of horsemanship up through solo at the walk.



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