You might have spoken about your riding plans with various people — your instructor or your friend, perhaps — and have a number of goals in mind for you and your horse.
It could be anything from a clear showjumping round to hacking out alone. But how do you go about making them come true? Equestrian mindset coach Sophie Green explains three techniques to help you get started.
1 Manifesting: be aware of your thoughts
You might be familiar with the term ‘manifesting’, but do you know what it means and, more importantly, how to manifest? To manifest is to ‘become apparent’. According to the Law of Attraction, you can manifest your thoughts into reality. So a positive approach really does help. Therefore, it is important to be aware of our thoughts, and also to understand how we can use that to our benefit.
In order to manifest your goals into reality, you not only need to think about them when you set them, but you need to be thinking about them all of the time. As soon as you wake up in the morning, imagine achieving that goal today. Thoughts are powerful and you put out a certain energy with positive and negative thoughts.
The most powerful way to manifest is to attach emotion to those thoughts.
- How would it make you feel to achieve that goal?
- What emotions would you have? Joy? Excitement? Relief? Pride?
- What would achieving that goal mean to you?
- Would it mean that you could be selected for a team, or does it mean you could actually enjoy your horse more and go for hacks with your friends.
Close your eyes and visualise achieving that goal. What can you hear? What can you see, smell and feel? What do others say to you in congratulation when you tell them you achieved it?
2 Chunking: steps on a ladder
Big, ambitious goals can feel overwhelming. Long-term goals can feel so far away that they seem almost unachievable. However, if you’re focusing only on smaller, short-term goals, it can feel like you’re working so hard, but you forget what it’s all for. When this happens, it’s easy to lose motivation.
‘Chunking’ is essentially breaking down a big goal or scaling up small goals. Here’s how to do it:
- Imagine yourself on a ladder, standing on the first rung.
- As you look up to the top of the ladder, you can see your big, ambitious, long-term goals.
- At the bottom, where you are now, is your current ‘mini’ goal.
- Each of the rungs on the ladder represents the steps or smaller goals that you need to achieve to hit your bigger goal.
- At some stage during your day, you might find yourself staring at the top of the ladder, unable to see any of the rungs between you and the top. It might feel exciting and ambitious, but it might also feel scary and overwhelming.
- Or you might find yourself staring straight at the next rung of the ladder, unable to look up. You feel like you’re working really hard, perhaps completing menial tasks and for what? You’re possibly losing sight of that end goal.
When the small goals feel too frustrating or menial, chunk them up. What do the next four, five or six small goals add up to? What’s the bigger picture? When the big goal feels too big, chunk down. Don’t forget your overall goal, but also remember the smaller, more manageable steps you need to take in order to achieve it.
3 Visualisation: turn dreams into reality
Use visualisation regularly to help you turn your dream into reality. The best times to do this are first thing in the morning and just before you go to sleep. This can be a useful technique for when you are at competitions.
Once you’ve walked the course or learnt your test, close your eyes and imagine going over the jump or through the movement.
Imagine looking between your horse’s ears and clearing a fence or feeling that perfect movement.
Visualise the whole thing, to the finish line or salute.
Did you know that the May issue of Your Horse was a confidence special? Check it out here.