Jan 06, 2019

2019 Worth the Trust Sports Psychology Scholarship Winner: Krista Wilson

The Worth the Trust Educational Scholarships are awarded annually to one Adult Amateur and one Young Adult Amateur to help amateurs master the ever-challenging mental side of the sport. Below is the winning essay of the 2019 Worth the Trust Sports Psychology Scholarship. Congratulations to Krista Wilson and best of luck in the future!

Sports Psychology – what is that? When I looked it up on the internet, I found: “Sports Psychology is the study of how psychology influences sports, athletic performance, exercise, and physical activity. Some sports psychologists work with professional athletes and coaches to improve performance and increase motivation.”

Wow! I could certainly use a dose of that! As an amateur eventing rider for the past 14 years, I always had a problem with confidence. It’s something that I would like to get help with from a sports psychologist. I would use the funds to work with a sports psychologist for overcoming my fear of riding dressage tests. I am not a natural dressage rider. I came to eventing from the hunter-jumper world and so dressage has helped my riding, but I still struggle with getting the horse on the bit and feel. I really try to do what my dressage trainer says, but if I am let to myself, it often does not come out the way it does when she is there. When I ride dressage tests, often, I forget the test near the end and go off course. The past two tests I rode had two points deducted for going off course. I have tried many strategies to help we with the performance anxiety. For example, I have the pad where you practice drawing the test and I use it. I watch videos of other people’s tests and I practice the test at home before I go to the show.

I find dressage a very intimidating sport, and of all the phases, this is where I struggle the most. Jumping is very fun for me, but when it comes to dressage, I feel like it’s a mental thing that keeps me from getting the most out of my lessons. As for the financial need, I do not have the funds to pay for a sports psychologist. I am a teacher and we do not get paid a high salary here in Florida where I work. In fact, Florida just achieved another milestone-we are the fifth lowest salary in the nation. The legislature here has decimated the education budget, but that is happening all over the country. Between working as a teacher and riding horses and competing, I do not have extra funds for a sports psychologist.

In summary, this scholarship is important to me to help me improve my connection with my horses on the flat, specifically when I practice the art of dressage with them. If I was selected for this scholarship, I would use the money to see an equine sports psychologist regarding my issues with dressage. I would also keep a journal of the experiences and submit them to the USEA.

Applications for the 2020 Worth the Trust Educational and Sports Psychology Scholarships will be available soon and are due on October 7, 2019. For more information, please contact Nancy Knight, (703) 669-9997.

About the Worth the Trust Scholarship

Dean Graham Photo.

Since 2000, the Worth the Trust Scholarships has provided financial assistance for young adult amateurs and adult amateurs for the purpose of pursuing continued education in eventing. These scholarships is provided by Joan Iversen Goswell in honor of her horse, Worth the Trust, a 15.3 hand Thoroughbred gelding (Wind and Wuthering x Stop Over Station), who competed successfully for many years, including winning the Kentucky Three-Day Event in 1997 with Karen O'Connor. In 2017, to continue to offer a helping hand, Goswell created the Worth the Trust Sports Psychology Scholarships to help amateurs master the ever-challenging mental side of the sport. Click here to read the story of Worth the Trust's 1997 Kentucky Three-Day Event win.

Interested in learning more about sports psychology and how it can help improve your riding? Click here and here to read articles from Horse and Hound.

"During the morning, Carl [Hester] was asked two other unusual questions. The first [was] about his mental preparation for competitions . . . Carl said that he didn’t need additional help with his mental preparation as what he already did worked for him. A ‘no stone unturned’ preparation combined with a ‘just another day at the office’ attitude and a supportive team. However, he said that the regular use of a sports psychologist was a valuable tool for Charlotte [Dujardin] and he could tell by her riding if she had recently had a session. At a competition Charlotte needed her own space, [Hester explained;] ‘She needs to hide in a darkened lorry while other students need to have constant positive support. In most cases, mental problems are about a lack of confidence, so we do what each rider needs as an individual to maintain confidence.’" – William Micklem

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