Do you ever think ‘what if’ when you’re riding or about to get on board? What normally follows ‘what if? Well, depending on your perspective, common phrases include: 

  • ‘What if I fall off?’ 
  • ‘What if he bucks?’ 
  • ‘What if he takes off with me?’ 
  • ‘What if I look like a fool?” 
  • ‘What if he spooks at that plastic bag?’ 
  • [Insert your What it here!] 

Most riders think ‘what if’ on a regular basis, and it can really undermine your confidence. By thinking ‘what if’, we’re directing our focus onto possible negative events. This does two things; firstly it makes us feel rubbish, incompetent, a victim to circumstances, and secondly, it stops us from focussing on things we can actually control. 

One of the ways to manage ‘what if’ thinking is to flip it, so instead of ‘what if he stops at that fence’, flip it to ‘I’m going to ride positively and effectively into each and every fence on the course, I’ll keep my whip in my left hand as he tends to run out that way, and I’ll keep my eye line up and to the end of the line I’m riding’.  

Flip the ‘what it’ into a practical, positive thought of how you will prevent/manage/overcome that initial negative nelly ‘what if’. 

At first you might need to write your most common ‘what ifs’ down, and counter them with positive written statements. As you get better and more practiced at this technique, you’ll be able to flip your negative nelly ‘what ifs’ in your mind, as you notice them. 

 So, how could you flip your ‘what if’ to a more useful, positive statement?

If you’d like to learn practical, step-by-step strategies to build your riding confidence and create a positive mindset, click the button below to find out how…