Build yourself a belief wall

Jane Brindley from Horse Riding with Confidence Scotland shares some practical tools that you can use to help to build your self-belief.

Jane Brindley from Horse Riding with Confidence Scotland shares some practical tools that you can use to help to build your self-belief.

Many of us have been thinking about self-belief recently, particularly after reading the amazing post from Team Oakden and the EquiTeam podcast, following Austin O’Connor’s win in his first five star event at Maryland.

Self-doubt is incredibly common and so terribly self-limiting at times. Our beliefs about ourselves come from our past experiences and from the stories we tell ourselves based on those experiences. 

We unconsciously take on board comments others have made to us, criticisms aimed at us and even throwaway remarks meant in jest. With our natural negative bias we tend to focus on a small number of negative comments rather than many more helpful ones and these become self-limiting beliefs which can have an enormous effect on our behaviour and on our ability to fulfil our goals.

Friends, family and coaches are likely to repeatedly tell you that you’ve got what it takes or that you CAN achieve your dreams when you work for them, BUT until you truly take that belief onboard it’s likely that you will continue to have that lingering doubt in your abilities.

Some examples of self-limiting beliefs might be:

  • I have to be perfect all the time
  • I’ll never be able to achieve my goals
  • I’m not “good enough”
  • I have to be in control at all times
  • I’m unlucky
  • Everyone else is better than me

Do you recognise any of these in yourself? 

Become aware of the stories that you are telling yourself so that you can begin the process of challenging them and starting to think in a much more helpful way which will support you as you work towards your goals.

So what can you do about it?

One of my favourite exercises is to build a belief wall.  It’s a seemingly very simple exercise but when done well, it can really help you to prove to yourself that you CAN achieve difficult things and therefore help you to let go of the anchor chains you’ve been unconsciously holding onto for so long.


1.  Things I have achieved

These are things which there is NO DOUBT that you have done.  They can be equestrian related but don’t have to be. Think of something that you may have a certificate for or an activity that you have done e.g., jumped a course of obstacles, completed a one-day event, been to camp. You choose your ‘thing’.

2. Things I am proud of

Looking at your answers to number 1 what is it about that achievement that you are proud of?

An example would be….. ‘I’m proud that I completed a ODE because I worked really hard to get there and it took a lot of time and effort’ 

Or…. ‘I’m proud that I went to camp because I was worried about what would be expected of me but nevertheless, I went and joined in’.

3. My personal strengths

What strengths did you draw on to achieve your ‘thing’ at number 1?  Perhaps you have a strength that when you set your mind on something you work hard to do it?  Maybe your strength is that you can recognise that you need help and support and aren’t afraid to ask?  Or do you have a strength that you are willing to learn?

Spend some time thinking about the personal attributes that you have, that you draw on when you need them and which help you – these are your strengths.

4. My values 

Why are the things that you choose to do, or want to work towards important to you?  What do they say about you as a person? Why do you love being around horses?  Why do you ride?  What does your attitude to your riding say about you as a person? – these are your values.

Carry out this exercise for a few different achievements and write it down somewhere that you can keep and refer back to if you’re experiencing doubt.

Some people find this exercise easy and others find it quite a challenge. If you would like some support to work through it and some help to build yourself a BELIEF WALL then please do reach out. You can contact Jane at or find her on Facebook and Instagram 

Photo credit: Action Replay 

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