The Magazine May 2018

Get ahead of the game

Posted 11th October 2019

Take some time to regroup, refocus and review with clinical psychologist Dr Hannah Butler-Coyne

Rider and coach

When contemplating progress and improvement, many people channel their energy into improving their horse’s behaviour and their own riding. Frequently, this translates into changes of instructor, more lessons, adapting their horse’s feeding or fitness regimes or buying new tack or equipment. While these are all important and sensible points to consider, they neglect one vital area – rider mindset.

Brain games

Consider your psychological approach as a triangle with three points. Begin to consider the triangle after your next competition or lesson – the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see some improvement.

Psychological approach diagram

Regroup and reset

Allow yourself to have a break – consider this as hitting the reset button. Although taking time out sounds easy to do, it can be difficult to achieve as it so often slips down the list of priorities.

To make it a little easier, consider the things you truly enjoy doing that help you relax. They don’t need to be huge or expensive – you don’t have to book a holiday for it to count as relaxing!

Regular me-time scheduled into your diary will give you space to breathe. Going out with friends, having a bath or watching your favourite movie are all good examples of giving yourself a little time to relax.

What now?

Once you’ve pressed the reset button, a process that’s likely to be required several times, your focus will be better positioned to consider your motivation.

What drives you to improve your riding? Is it…

  • personal achievement?
  • fun?
  • status?
  • improving your horse?

Top tip – Write your goals down somewhere accessible, such as in a diary. This will act as both a reminder and a way to keep you focused on your target

Start achieving your goals with the help of December Horse&Rider, on sale 17 October.

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