If you’re like most people there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to make a New Year's resolution this year . . . and if you’re like most people there’s also a pretty good chance you’re going to have a really hard time hanging onto it past the beginning of February!
Keeping your mind focused on what’s productive (like transitions between dressage movements or fences) instead of what’s destructive (like worrying about the crowd) is one of the most important skills any rider can learn. While it’s a skill that can require a bit of practice, it’s one that can be learned quite quickly - as long as you know a trick. The good news is that there is a trick, and that trick is called question suggestion.
One day you’re going to do everything right and it’ll still go wrong. You’ll give 100 percent but come up short. You’ll do your best, but your best won’t be good enough.
Any day with a horse is a good day because - as you already know - each and every one of those days is chock-full of wonderful opportunities. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be a bit tricky to see those opportunities for what they really are - or even worse - mistakenly view them as obligations, and it can all begin with something as simple as a few innocent words that you unintentionally say to yourself.
Use sports psychology and cross-training to prepare your brain and body for success! Treat and train yourself like an athlete by learning a series of rider-specific fitness exercises that’ll improve your strength, stamina, and suppleness using everything from medicine and stability balls to agility ladders and speed ropes. Then, bring the mind and body together with tips to up your game by improving your mental focus.
There are four certainties in riding: you’re going to fall down, you’re going to get up, you’re going to succeed, you’re going to mess up. As long as you’re okay with this you’ll be okay. But if you’re afraid of failing, falling, getting up, or messing up, well there’s a pretty good chance you might feel a little less than okay.
You're a mirror. I’m a mirror. We’re all mirrors, but not in the normal “who’s the fairest of them all” kind of way. In sport psychology, mirroring refers to the tendency for people to reflect - or copy - the actions, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of those around them.
One of my favorite sayings is, “Riders don’t make mistakes, mistakes make equestrians!” Mistakes make us bigger, bolder, brighter, and braver, but only if we have the courage to own, accept, and learn from them.
One of the most rewarding things about riding is that it provides you with years of endless, amazing memories. From the crazy times spent with your horses to the comical times spent with your trainers and mates, there’s no shortage of wonderful things to remember.
When you arrive at the barn, you arrive at a place that's more than just fences, fields, and fillies. You arrive at your happy place - the place you go to when you need a little distraction from the craziness of a life that can often leave you feeling a bit frazzled, fried, and frustrated.
Becoming a confident equestrian requires learning an endless array of important skills, but learning those skills isn’t always easy and can sometimes leave you feeling a bit discouraged, disappointed, defeated, and disheartened (did I mention disqualified?). To ensure you manage the expectation and emotional ups and downs that can occur with learning new skills, it’s important that you become mindful of the many different emotions you're likely to experience when moving through the stages of learning.