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30 Ways An Equestrian Mindset Or Mental Performance Coach Can Improve Your Riding

Most of us are fully aware that equestrianism is hugely dependent on a sound mindset. How else would we be able to ride several hundred kilos of semi-wild animal??

It’s that X-factor that can be the difference between succeeding, progressing, feeling happy with your riding or even having the edge over a competitor.

Does riding follow the 80-20 rule: 80% mental and 20% physical effort? Sometimes it seems so! I’d say it was at least 60% mental and 40% physical, depending on your activity at the time. Riding competitively or pushing yourself to learn new things or start with a new horse, definitely tips the balance in favour of mindset!

Coming out of lockdown

Mindset sessions aren’t yet as commonplace as physical riding lessons, yet the tide is definitely turning. More and more equestrian instructors are training as professional mindset coaches or have at least some mental fitness training as part of their qualifications. Coming out of lockdown has also created an abundance of riders wanting to get back in the saddle, and get back up to their pre-lockdown standard, quickly. Some riders have also benefitted from having anxiety-busting coaching after such an unusual way of living in the last few months.

Why are riders seeing mindset as part of their training now?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of riding instructors that I’ve spoken to, whose riders are enjoying mindset sessions alongside their lessons. I asked why a rider might substitute a riding lesson for some mental training. The answer was simple. The riders are seeing better and faster results.

That’s the beauty of having a riding mindset or mental preparation session or set of sessions, you see and feel a change in your progress, but you also see and feel a change in your physical way of riding. The mental and physical aspects dovetail. There’s an obvious additional bonus, your motivation soars too!

As a rider, however, you may not know the diversity of areas certified mindset coaches can help you in. True, mindset issues are often associated with a lack of confidence, but mindset coaching can support your riding in so many other ways too.

33 ways a mindset coach could help you

1. Removing doubts – doubting yourself, doubting you’re good enough, doubting your training
2. Removing the idea that you can’t do something, when your instructor knows you can!
3. Removing doubts, fears and negative emotions concerning accidents and injuries
4. Help in overcoming trauma and PTSD
5. Removing all limiting thoughts, ideas and beliefs
6. Removing negative emotions – fear, anxiety, disappointment, guilt, frustration, anger etc.
7. Eliminating negative ‘what ifs'
8. Anger management
9. Helping you to switch off, relax and sleep better
10. Alleviating insomnia
11. Eliminating panic attacks
12. Removing bad habits and installing helpful ones – this may be anything from smoking to not wanting to let go of your right rein!
13. Removing any lack of confidence, no matter the level you ride at or the discipline
14. Removing nerves and anxiety, no matter the trigger
15. Removing internal conflicts – on the one hand thinking you can, on the other hand thinking you can’t
16. Removing any phobias
17. Overcome a fear of failure
18. Overcome a fear of success
19. Finding out your unconscious priorities – do they align with what you think you want? If not, you’ll struggle to achieve your goal
20. Developing resilience
21. Maintaining emotional control
22. Alleviating depression
23. Alleviating symptoms of hay-fever
24. Gaining motivation
25. Getting you out of imposter syndrome
26. Helping you to gain clarity on what you really want
27. Learning a dressage test or show-jumping/cross-country course more easily
28. Coaching you to a growth mindset and learning to embrace being out of your comfort zone
29. Getting a team to work together to achieve success, improving team cohesion
30. Knowing how to prepare mentally for riding or competing – using mental rehearsal
31. Goal setting to work towards something more successfully
32. Weight loss!
33. Alleviating some types of pain – back or neck pain can develop due to unresolved negative emotions

Are some of those surprising to you? Which ones weren’t you expecting?

Having a session or two to boost your riding or having an on-going coaching relationship, as you would with a riding instructor, whether once a week or once a month, can really reap benefits, in your mental approach to riding and to life! The by-products are fascinating and far-reaching – very often eliminating a fear of riding may eliminate anxieties at work or at home too!

If you’d like to know more about mindset coaching or training to be a coach, have a look at www.traceycolenlp.com. If you’d like to know how hypnotherapy as a mindset technique could play a role in your riding, see my article 'Could Hypnosis Help You Canter?'

Dr Tracey Cole
Horsemart Content Contributor
Published on 10-08-2020
Dr Tracey Cole is one of the UK’s leading mindset experts helping, supporting and training equestrians. She is passionate about working with riders to improve their mindset and mental strength and thus, enhance their performance and enjoyment. Tracey trains equestrians of all levels, as well as riding coaches, to become Empowered Equestrian™ Coaches. This is the world’s only accredited 4 certification training specifically designed for equestrians. Riders are trained in NLP (neurolinguistic programming), Time Line Therapy®, NLP Coaching and Hypnosis. She is also a keen equestrian, being the proud owner of Lottie, a chestnut warmblood.