My first horse was a birthday present in my twenties. That led to a home in the country where we had four horses — some more spirited than my first mare, but being thrown occasionally was part of the game, and with youthful enthusiasm I thought nothing of brushing myself off and jumping right back on.

In my thirties I found myself without horses. Life became more serious, and I became city-bound. Life as a cowgirl became merely fond memories.

A few years ago when I saw the movie Seabiscuit, I said to Frank, “Gosh, I sure miss horses.”

Then I saw the movie, Open Range, and I said to him, “I’d really like to have another horse.”

Ten minutes into Hidalgo I clutched Frank’s arm and frantically whispered, “I NEED A HORSE!”

First he bought me boots. Tony Lama. I traipsed about in them for a few weeks and yup, they felt fine.. Then he bought me a hat. Stetson. Yup, that felt good too.

When I told Frank about Zoo Therapy and how it would enhance our established therapy programs, he bought me the horse, tack, and a little pick up truck for trips to the ranch where Brandi is boarded.

I looked the part and felt like a cowgirl again, but the truth is, the self-confidence of my youth had been replaced with something very similar to — common sense. I knew if I hit the dirt at 60-something I wouldn’t bounce back the way I did when I was 20-somethig. I also knew my horse would have no more confidence in me than I had in myself, and without trust, we would not form the special bond that keeps both a horse and a rider relatively safe.

So yes, I used hypnotherapy to help me get back into the saddle with a feeling of belonging there. And yes, hypnotherapy can help you do the same, if you feel yourself hesitant to commit fully to the equine experience. Even minor anxieties are easily sensed by your horse. The smarter your horse, the quicker it will pick up on tiny nuances that give you away. To perform at its best for you, your horse must feel certain that it is good hands (yours). Hypnotherapy may be the leg up that you need.

Our free Horsing Around Thanks to Hypnotherapy CD will reinforce your session. The suggestions on it are what I used myself, and track two contains subliminal suggestions that I still use driving to and from the ranch, to keep myself centered in my cowgirl mode.