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talk with Sharon Shinwell - An experienced horsewoman, Sharon Shinwell (DP Couns DIP HP (NC) NRHP), 50, is a qualified hypno-psychotherapist and counsellor. She has combined her knowledge of the human psyche with her experience of hypnotherapy, to produce a range of self-hypnosis CDs aimed at the rider. Sharon lives near Manchester England.

Confidence in yourself and your horse and the ability to stay relaxed in any situation is the key to becoming a competent and successful rider, whether you compete regularly or you simply enjoy hacking out at the weekends. Frustratingly, these are two extremely difficult feelings to master, as nervousness and tension can creep up at the most inopportune moments. The traditional advice is to ‘ride through it’ in the hope the problem will go away. But now many riders are taking matters into their own hands and turning to hypnotherapy to help boost their confidence and control their emotions when riding.

It’s the nature of our sport that at some point in our lives, most of us will experience a confidence crisis, be it hacking out, schooling, jumping or competing. There have been times in the past when I have lost my confidence as a rider, so I’m familiar with that nervous, sick feeling which you have no control over,” confesses Sharon.

With 25 years experience of owning, riding and competing horses, hypno-psychotherapist Sharon Shinwell is only too aware of how easy it is to lose your nerve.

”As a hypnotherapist, I understand how useful hypnosis is to combat negative feelings. The technique has been successfully used to treat psychological problems, such as panic attacks, depression and general anxiety for years and is even regularly used in hospitals.”

Hypnotherapy has many proven uses and it really can help you become a better and more confident rider. It is also used with stopping smoking, losing weight, pain control, a cure for phobias, even a source of TV entertainment. Hypnosis is a method of speaking directly to the subconscious mind, the place where not only our memory bank is stored, but also the source of most of our worries and fears.

A one to one session with a qualified practitioner is the most intense method of hypnotherapy, but Sharon believes self-hypnosis is sufficient for the problems most riders experience. Self hypnosis differs in that you induce the hypnotic trance yourself, by listening to the practitioners recorded voice in a quiet, darkened room.

However, Sharon warns, “If there is a deep-rooted psychological cause for the rider’s nervousness and lack of confidence, possibly stemming from her past or another area of her life, I would strongly recommend individual sessions, combined with counselling”.

”For most riders the CDs offer a boost and sets them on the right track,” she says. “It is very common to magnify problems when we are riding. Often being fearful of something on a hack, or thinking our horse may do something, when there is no danger there. Self hypnosis prevents the mind playing tricks on us and allows us to see situations as they really are.” Initially Sharon recorded individual tapes on request, but soon found she was making very similar recordings, particularly for people who were nervous about hacking. She therefore decided to record generic CDs to cover the main areas she was being asked about. Hacking with Confidence is by far the best selling CD, but Sharon also sells recordings to improve confidence while show jumping and competing in dressage tests.

While you listen to the CD, which is about 50 minutes long, Sharon takes you through the four stages of the hypnotic process:

  1. The Induction clears the mind, and relaxes both body and mind in preparation for the process ahead. The hypnotherapist helps you relax each part of your body, starting from your head. The state of hypnosis is usually deeper each time you go through the induction.
  2. The Deepener takes you on a journey of your own imagination, and deepens the hypnotic state. You are asked to imagine you are in a place where you feel safe and comfortable.
  3. Therapeutic dialogue: The hypnotherapist talks directly to your subconscious mind, changing how you feel and think about certain situations. You are encouraged to visualise you are on a hack, show jumping or competing in a dressage test. The hypnotherapist eradicates any negative thought patterns, and in replace offers positive thoughts and new sensations to the subconscious. In the waking state, this can be transferred to the conscious mind.
    To help this connection, 'anchor words' are offered to remind the conscious mind of what it has learnt, and to enable the rider to take control of any situation that may still concern them.
  4. The Termination: The hypnotic state is brought to an end with a countdown from three to one. This allows the listener to bring all the thoughts and ideas they want into the waking world, leaving them feeling alert, wide-awake, yet very relaxed.

Once you are in control of your inner thoughts, ideas and feelings, you can use this positive, relaxed state of mind to overcome your nervousness and anxiety when riding. Hypno Therapy for Riding CDs

There are 7 CDs in the series.

    1.Hacking with confidence
    2.Jumping with confidence
    3.Cross country jumping with confidence
    4.Roadwork with confidence
    5.Flatworks schooling with confidence
    6.Showing with confidence
    7.Dressage with confidence

The CDs cost 13.95 (Approx $24 AUD) each, excluding postage

We are a UK based business and can post our CDs anywhere

[Ed. comment - One CD I received took less than a week].

For lots more information or to order online, please visit the Confident Rider website or email the Confident Rider at 

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