From the warmup to the grand performance, every equestrian knows that success in the arena is the result of meticulous preparation, unwavering commitment, and a profound connection with our equine companions. As a competitive rider, I have come to understand that our journey is not merely about winning competitions; it is an internal exploration, an evolution towards being the best version of ourselves.
Throughout our evolution as equestrians, we learn that being the best version of ourselves does not mean being free from external pressure, but embracing that pressure so as to grow and improve, leading to more mindful decision-making and a personal approach that nurtures mutual trust between our horses and ourselves.
In their pursuit of excellence, the best riders in the field discover the significance of body language. Behaving as leaders, they guide their horses with confidence, fostering an environment of trust rather than fear. This trust enables riders to be present in every moment, be it during successful rides or the challenging ones. These riders' confidence and resilience extend beyond the show. Embracing the outcome with equanimity, they practice diligently every day, pushing themselves beyond their comfort zones. Through these efforts, they have come to understand that true growth lies in embracing the challenging and even the "ugly" moments.
As the moment of performance arrives, we enter flow, a state where our minds and bodies are attuned to perform seamlessly. There is no room for overthinking; actions must flow naturally and reflect the deep bond between us and our horses. Each maneuver becomes an opportunity to showcase our trust and confidence, while demonstrating the finesse and power we have honed together.
In the world of horsemanship, the art of performance is a reflection of the journey we undertake to become the best version of ourselves. Growth is our guiding principle, and with every ride, every day, and every horse show, we strive to evolve into more adept riders and compassionate partners.
As we embark on this journey, let us remember that success is not only measured by ribbons and trophies but by the personal growth we experience as equestrians. Ride with conviction, embrace the challenges, and cherish the bond with your horses, for it is through this steadfast dedication that we truly become masters of the art of our horsemanship.
Gilead (Gil) Friedman, a Performance Mindset Coach specializing in the field of equestrian sports and a NRHA professional.
In 2018 founded Mental Athletics, an equestrian mindset training program, using an innovative training methodology that equips riders with mental skills that allows them to optimize their Horsemanship, Performance and Wellbeing within the competitive environment.
Learn more at equestrian-online.courses