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what is mental athletics

what is

Mental Athletics

Mental Athletics is a worldwide mental mindset training program created specifically to enable equestrian riders to reach their peak ability in the show pen - where it really counts! 

Mental Athletics provides face-to-face and web-based programs for developing a “Peak Performance Mindset” for competitive horse riders.

gilead friedman

Hi, I'm Gilead (Gil) Friedman and I chose to live a competitive life. The decision was to be an equestrian sports showman, training horses and riders in the pursuit of success and winning titles – and I LOVE it!
Living this way of life taught me one major Rule:


The ability to become a Winner starts in the Mind,

and results in our Performance!

Our vision is for mental mindset training to become an integral part of equestrian sports worldwide so that riders may continually improve performance while maximizing the quality of competitive life for themselves and their horses.


Why is mental training important for riders?

The key to living a competitive life is the rider’s mindset, which has a direct influence on their technical performance and their well-being. Competitive riders need to train their minds as well as their bodies and their horses.

Our Method athletics: 

Peak Performance Mindset (PPM)

​The “Peak Performance Mindset” (“PPM”) is a unique method for training the mind for success in the competitive world. It provides ideas, techniques, and exercises that nurture mental mindset toughness. It enables riders to achieve their competitive goals while at the same time gaining greater pleasure and satisfaction from the competitive life.

mental mindset
Mindset affects performance

The Origins of the Method

The “Peak Performance Mindset” emerged from years of training and observing competitive riders and designing specific mental training techniques for improving performance.  These techniques have been refined and perfected together with hundreds of riders worldwide who tested them out in practice.

select your Service 

Mental Athletics offers an array of services to competitive riders at all levels 
from beginners to elite riders  
clemerson barhbalo - usa - Mental athletics

Choose your 


We offer three types of personal coaching with riders.

equestrian mental coaching

Personal Coaching

Choose your 

Personalized Training:


 We offer three types of personal coaching with riders

peak performance

Peak Performance Mindset 

Peak Performance

Mindset Workshop

Exploring the mental foundations of the equestrian sports

reining mindset

Mental Analytics


Mental - Technical Analysis: 

An analytical evaluation of how the rider performs each manoeuvre of the pattern  in the show pen.

The importance of a strong mindset in equestrian sports 

Equestrian sports are like no other in the world of sports.  They seem like individual sports in which riders compete against each other; however, they are actually team sports.  All riders have a four-legged teammate. Success totally depends on teamwork between horse and rider.  

The horse-rider team is also unique.  Early on, as a mental coach in equestrian sports, I came to the realization that the horse is the athlete and the rider is the competitor.  I am quite sure that horses have no idea that they are living a competitive life - but riders do!   


By choosing the competitive life, you have chosen to constantly deal with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. You have chosen to be continually observed, judged, and scored on your riding ability. These pressures impact performance in the show pen, because they have an immediate effect on your horse.   Horses are the perfect mirror of your thoughts and feelings.  Whatever is going on inside of your head and heart immediately plays itself out in your horse’s performance.  The key to living a competitive life is your mindset.  Your mindset goes beyond your knowledge, physical ability, talent, and technical skill.

mindset training for athletes
Mental athletic

The power of our mindset in equestrian sports

Working with great professionals taught me two major rules. The first and foremost rule is to love and care for your horses as true partners and teammates in the journey towards achieving your competitive goals. The second rule is that each rider is unique and the way to become a winner is to develop that uniqueness. 


There is no single route to success.  Top competitors all have personal styles based on their particular strengths and weaknesses.  And success does not come from finding and training the perfect horse. Competitive riders show many different horses during their careers and know how to build on the strengths and weaknesses of each one.  Any good rider can win a horse show; however, real winners find the way to get the best out of themselves and their horses each time they walk into the show-pen. 

Put simply, it is the ability to overcome mental barriers along the way to success as a competitive athlete. For many years, mental toughness was seen as an in-born character trait not all that different from physical talent.  In the past twenty years; however, there has been a major shift toward seeing it as a skill that can be developed through training. 

If we want to help athletes reach peak performance, we must help rider’s train their minds, their bodies and their horses. Mental Athletics develops mindset training
techniques for athletes, which become the foundational approach of all competitive equestrian sports.   

Contribute to the Well-being of Both Riders and their Horses
I believe that riders with knowledge about achieving Peak Performance Mindset earn two major benefits:

  • The first benefit is building self-confidence and belief in their ability to step up their game and reach their goals; and,

  • The second benefit is for the horses:

When we develop the mental toughness to handle the pressures of a competitive life, we are less likely to take our stress out on our horses. We increase our horse’s performance with less physical pressure, simple by improving our mindset. Therefore, in the field of equestrian sports, I see athletic mental training programs as a win-win situation for both riders and horses.

Peak Performance
Mental Athletics
mindset in equestrian sport
mindset in equestrian sport
mindset in equestrian sport
mindset in equestrian sport
mindset in equestrian sport
mental exercises for athletes
mental exercises for athletes
Mental Athletics




Gilead Friedman

​Tel+WhatsApp: +972 503079393


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Special thanks to the awsome 
photographers Lee Wagensberg and Noam Shoshany

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