The Art of Science of Visualization

We all process information and experiences differently. Some of us love to listen to information. Others are visual. And then a percentage of us are mostly tuned into touch.

I’m more auditory. I love to see things, too, but I know I process more readily by listening.

So, for me, visualizing has always been something I’ve had to practice consistently. But it’s well worth it because research has shown that visualization facilitates and improves performance incredibly.

And it’s like a muscle. It takes practice over time to build visualization strength.

Here are some ideas for how to do just that:

  • Go over the entire ride in your mind before you even step on your horse. The more often, the better.
  • Visualize exactly how you want a sequence to unfold just before the maneuver begins. With consistent practice, in moments, you can see a complicated series of maneuvers play out beautifully in your head. With practice, this happens in a moment.
  • Review potential challenges and demanding situations that might come up and how you would respond to each one.
  • Be consistent! Morning and evening practice are ideal.
  • The more you add emotion and touch to your visualizations, the more impactful they become. Experience what you are about to do with every part of your being. Feel the sweat on your horse’s neck. Smell the fly spray and mane detangler. Breathe. Project yourself in every way into each ride segment, so much so that where you will be and the energy of what you’re doing feel like they’re actually happening.

You can do it! The first time I made the NCHA Futurity Finals was after I visualized morning and evening and saw myself riding in Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth. And when I rode to the herd, it was like I had been there hundreds of times before – because I had.

And make them fun! You can do anything you like in your mind!

Please leave a comment for me.

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6 Comments on The Art of Science of Visualization

  1. Kelly on Sun, 24th Sep 2023 1:57 pm
  2. Thanks Barb for the visualization piece.

    It is always good to have a constant reminder on what makes you a good team with your horse.

    Have a wonderful time in Oregon.!

  3. Sherri Wagerman on Sun, 24th Sep 2023 7:05 pm
  4. I really want to practice this as I’m not very good at it. I know it works, I saw it work for a friend at a horse show this weekend. The class played out exactly as she visualized it! I did well (a first and three seconds) but in reining I forgot the pattern. Reining is a class I’m not crazy about and not good at. But I know I can get better.

  5. Candis Molde on Sun, 24th Sep 2023 9:51 pm
  6. This is so good ! I can’t wait to practice it .
    Many thanks !!!!

  7. Carol MacGregor on Sun, 24th Sep 2023 11:39 pm
  8. Hi Barb, I do love the concept/idea that visualization CAN really help my rides, and in general, other areas of my life. Your example of making the Cutting Horse Futurity Finals after practicing this activity is very encouraging. Thank You 🙂

  9. Morgan Moreno on Tue, 26th Sep 2023 5:22 pm
  10. “And when I rode to the herd, it was like I had been there hundreds of times before – because I had.”
    This!! 👏🏼 Nerves come from uncertainty and unpreparedness. Practicing my visualization before the Futurity, coming very soon!

  11. Anne on Fri, 29th Sep 2023 6:42 pm
  12. Great stuff, Barb! I did this once playing barefoot bowls – something I didn’t intend taking up but a fun social night. I’d never played before but visualised the arc of the ball and ended up in the semifinals against seasoned players!! So it works, and this is a wonderful reminder of how to do it, thank you.

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