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CASE STUDY: From FEAR to CLEAR - how hypnotherapy helps with competition nerves

Updated: Jan 11

Competitions can drive anxiety at any level. Whether it be a local event with your riding club through to large BE events. And that anxiety, fear and nervousness can come at different stages, as you enter the ring or the day before as you are loading up your equipment in preparation.

Eitherway, those feelings can take the fun and joy away from the day. For some this may mean you are being snappy with your friends at your yard, or you simply shut down and don’t end up going.

This is a problem I have faced with a number of clients. Ultimately they do enjoy competing and love the challenge and community that comes with it, so they are desperate to get over these negative thoughts and feelings and help reignite the joy.

hypnotherapy competition nerves

So when Client K came to me she had developed a phobia of competing.She shared that if things weren’t lined up just right, she would withdraw. A new venue, a new jump combination or bad weather! Her horse had also developed a stop at jumps when he knew she wasn’t 100% committed which further increased her nervousness at the competition. Finally she feared failure i.e elimination or an embarrassing fall. She strived for things to be just right, but we all know that’s not how it works when it comes to horses!

Together we identified the major trigger was the course walk. Seeing the jump combinations would kick start anxiety and panic for the course ahead and would typically result in her withdrawing.

In 3 sessions, together we helped set goals for an upcoming competition and identified how she would like to approach the day. Calmness and confidence featured highly in her target mindset, replacing the fear and nervousness. She wanted to do the course walk and the subsequent round feeling in control and like she had a plan. She wanted to ride with purpose and ultimately a smile on her face! We used CBT techniques and hypnotherapy to embed and practice those more positive feelings with great success.

“Highly recommend Kerry. Really enjoyed the sessions to help overcome my equestrian competition phobia. It's made a huge difference.”

She wanted to regain the buzz, adrenaline and excitement she used to get from competing. The exhilaration but also total trust with her horse.

I am thrilled to say that after just 3 sessions she left with a totally new mindset. She competed at a local arena eventing class and left absolutely buzzing. Not only did she go to the event (rather than choose to withdraw) she had a great time and went clear!

“Just wanted to say thank you for all your help. It's made a massive difference. It was such an amazing feeling to go out and enjoy competing! I went to course walk the day before and walked it 3 times to make sure I knew it and had a plan. Having a plan and deciding how to ride it really helped. I was buzzing to go clear!”

hypnotherapy horse competition nerves

To get feedback like below is incredibly rewarding, knowing I have made a real difference to someone and truly impacted their life. And I think the smile in the pics says it all!

If you're struggling with competition nerves or other anxieties due to your personal and sporting life, get in touch for an obligation free chat to see if hypnotherapy can help.

UPDATE 6th Jan 2024

3 months after I originally met Client K, I was thrilled to receive this email:

"I just wanted to say thanks again. I went out to another arena eventing today and was able to just enjoy it without the fear! The sessions with you made such a massive difference, I really appreciate it."

Not only did we help the client achieve her immediate goal of getting to competitions, she was also enjoying and succeeding at them months afterwards. This demonstrates the long lasting impact the CBH model can have.

If you are stuck in negative behaviours or negative thought patterns, and want long lasting results, get in touch to find out more.


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