Focus is one of my favourite things! It offers motivation, removes distractions and increases awareness in any given moment. Many riders who lack confidence have their focus trained on the wrong things, often external factors that simply can’t be controlled!
When you’re riding, consider the difference between these two states:
State A – While I’m riding, I’m focussing on:
- The wind and how it’s making my horse tense and spooky, he’ll spin & I’ll fall off
- That flapping plastic bag in the hedge, he’s bound to leap in the air
- Those cows in the next field, who look like they’re going to run over to us, what am I going to do?
- That side of the arena always makes my horse spook, I’m sure there’s something hiding in there, I hate this arena
- Something is going to make my horse explode any minute now, I’m so scared
- There are so many people at this show, they’ll all be watching me make a fool of myself
- I’ll never get my horse over that jump
State B – While I’m riding, I’m focussing on:
- I’m focussing on my breathing, keeping is slow and steady, and in rhythm with my horse’s stride
- I’m monitoring whether I have equal weight in both stirrups and in my seat bones
- I’m assessing whether I have an equal feel in both reins
- My horse is a little tense, so I’m focussing on keeping my leg in contact with his sides and riding plenty of transitions to keep him with me
- My horse is anxious on that side of the arena, so I will gradually ride closer and closer to it as I warm up, so he can begin to settle
- My horse sometimes tries to buck when I ride in this field, so I’m going to communicate with my friend so that we can stay in walk and reduce the risk of silliness
- I’m feeling nervous about jumping this course, but I have done plenty of training and preparation over the last few weeks/months, and my coach says I’m ready, so I’m going to focus on riding a positive rhythm and making use of my space
Which state is the most effective? Which state is going to make you a more proactive, positive rider? Where is the focus different in each state?
So, how can will you change your focus today to improve your confidence?
To take a deeper dive into building a positive, resilient mindset and creating long-lasting confidence in your riding, click the link below: