A new study has found that just one session of hypnosis could significantly improve rider’s confidence, according to research conducted by Sherree Russell Ginger, a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Riding Instructor.
“Our findings showed that confidence can be increased by up to 51% with just one session of hypnosis,” said Sherree.
To date, there has been very little scientific research specifically into horse riding confidence, so the primary aims of this study were to examine the effects on riders, of a single hypnosis session, designed to increase sporting confidence.
21 female volunteers, aged from 20 to 62, from novice to professional riders, took part in this study.
Participants were randomly assigned to two groups. One group received a single session of group hypnosis. The other group were given an educational presentation about fear, anxiety and confidence.
Data was collected from questionnaires completed by the volunteers before, and 2 weeks after their interventions.
The results demonstrate that ten of the eleven participants in the Hypnosis Group reported an increase in their confidence score, the average increase of the group was 16%, with one rider reporting an increase of 51%.
It was also interesting to note, that the educational presentation, also had the effect of increasing the sporting confidence score of seven of the ten participants in the group, the average increase of the group was 5%. As one participant commented ...“I understand why I get scared now, which is a massive help”.
After the study all volunteers were given the opportunity to experience the other intervention, and they completed the questionnaire again. The participants then reported an additional increase in confidence of the group of between 7 to 11%.
Sherree explained ... “The majority of riders will experience a loss of confidence, or increased performance anxiety at some time in their riding career, and our horses are acutely aware of their rider’s emotional state. We constantly transmit our feelings to them via our unconscious muscular responses, sensory, chemical and energetic messages.
The results of this research are clearly relevant to any sports psychologists, riding instructor and coach, and also suggest that as sporting confidence has been linked in many previous studies to sporting performance, hypnosis has the potential to help increase the performance of our competition riders.”
Hypnosis has been described as a completely natural, altered state of consciousness and awareness, where the mind is relaxed, but focused and receptive to suggestion. During hypnosis, specialised techniques are used to help the client communication with their unconscious mind in order to make the desired changes in their behaviours and emotions.
These results appear to support Sherree’s experience that the use of both interventions, such as in a workshop training, is a very effective way of improving riding confidence and performance.
The project was submitted in partial fulfilment of the Bachelor of Sciences degree in Clinical Hypnosis, May 2012 to St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham,
by Sherree Russell Ginger