Crippled by nerves on competition day, or prone to suddenly going blank and unable to perform as well as you do at home? You need to declutter your mind, explains mental skills coach Jane Pike.

  • Creating your own definition of success will allow you to ride within a framework that is considerate of your own personal aspirations with your horse and takes into account the stage you’re at in your training.
  • It will hold you in alignment with your own values.
  • Success for you might look like a horse who’s attentive and relaxed.
  • Or, success might be focusing on your own horse and not allowing yourself to be concerned with what other people think.
  • However you choose to define success, make sure it doesn’t rely on other people’s opinions, and holds you to a standard you have set for yourself.

Empower your brain

One way to instantly turn your self-talk around is to become aware of the questions you are asking yourself. Empowering questions give you instant ammunition to blow any deflating or demoralising thoughts out of your brain space and channel them in a more useful direction.

Empowering questions are questions that are solution-focused. They create a sense of resourcefulness and lead to constructive action. For example:

  • What does my horse need from me in this moment?
  • What do I need to focus on right now to move me forward?
  • What is it that I can control about this situation?

Attempting to simply stamp out unwanted thoughts is often ineffective and akin to running in endless mental circles.

Instead, get into the habit of replacing unhelpful thought patterns with questions that create forward momentum and support positive and constructive action.

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