The confidence coach: Are you in or out?

This month, confidence coach Sandie explains how to improve your focus at competitions. 

In the last six weeks, I've certainly clocked up the air miles, travelling to work with clients in places likes Vienna, Dubai, Madrid and Belfast.


One thing that has struck me is that, no matter where I am or who I'm working with, there seems to be a reoccurring theme.

As I spoke with one of my riders at the Longines final in Dubai, they told me how they found the noise of the crowd distracting and how it stopped them from focussing on their horse.

I'll then speak to other riders that are so focussed on what they're doing, they become utterly obvious to the outside world. 

There seem to be two types of people - those who are in, and those who are out. 

Which are you?

In stressful situations, do you find yourself being distracted by everything around you? Every squawking child with a balloon or barking dog? 

Or are you oblivious to everything going on in the outside world - including the things you should be paying the most attention to (including other riders in the warm up)? You might find you hear a negative voice inside your head every time you make a mistake. 

For those of you distracted by the world around you, here my three top tips that I use with my international clients that really work.

  1. Choose just one thing to work on with your horse. Riding the perfect corner perhaps, or concentrating on balance or rhythm. It's important to make it just one thing.
  2. Focus on your breathing and choose a part of your body beneath your chest that you would like your breath to travel to.
  3. Allow yourself to focus on one point in the arena, make your self notice each and every time you pass it when you warm up.
    This will soon become boring and a chore so your mind will gladly give it up and focus on the job in hand.

For those too focussed internally... 

  1. Place the tip of your tongue against the back of your top teeth for one minute at a time. This disables the brains capacity to make words so it bring a beautifully calm sensation with it.
  2. Create your own mantra and repeat it over and over as your riding round. Nick Skelton’s was “Balance, rhythm and line gets it right every time”
  3. Head up, chest up and look around you. Challenge yourself to notice things of the same colour, or a dog of the same breed in the crowd. This helps open our awareness and helps to silence any negative thoughts. 

Offer: boost your confidence with Sandie

Lots of you told me that time management was a large factor holding you back from achieving your riding dreams. 

As a full-time working/riding mum and wife myself, I get just how crazy life gets.

With this in mind, I've worked really hard to design a confidence course that you can do in your own time to make you feel more confident than ever. 

During the eight-week week course, I'll share with you the same techniques that I use with my international riders. 

For the next few days there's an early-bird discount at, so don't miss out!

Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products available on shop shelves, on sale now. Find out what’s in the latest issue here.