Top 5 tips to becoming a better Equestrian Athlete

There are a few qualities that some people have discovered are the secret to growth and development as an equestrian athlete, but they are qualities that we can all possess.  With a desire to work on each aspect, we can learn to develop ourselves as riders who are primed for growth.  This is the journey... this is what the destination is all about.  After reading through the 5 qualities, download the workbook and print and use as much as you like.  

#1: Mindset

The mind is a strong force when it comes to growth.  There are two basic types of thinking that one can have.  One can be closed off to new ideas and unwilling to move forward because of fear, comfort, or stubbornness.  This is  called a fixed mindset.  The other type of mindset is open, willing to listen, willinging to change, willing to learn.  This is called a growth mindset.  This mindset is the most conductive to moving in the direction of your goals.  This mindset seeks forward motion, even in the presence of adversity, discomfort, or challenges.  Having a growth mindset is imperative to the growth of an equestrian athlete.

#2: Willingness to Change

The day that we believe we no longer need to strive, we no longer need to learn, we no longer need help, is the day that we stop growing and we start declining.  Growth and learning is a continuous journey that lasts our entire lives.  The equestrian athlete must always evaluate every opportunity as a chance to learn and get better.  The term "coachable" applies here.  A rider must remain willing to be coached, taught, and consequently change.  Change is inevitable, be sure you are on the side of change that benefits you.  The only way to do this is to constantly seek productive change.  

#3: Trust

To protect oneself is an important aspect of human nature.  It is what keeps us safe.  Yet, we all look for ways to broaden our circle of trust.  In riding trust is a major factor in how we progress in the sport and how well we compete.  We must have trust in the horse, trust in other riders, trust in our training, trust in our coach, etc.  This is a quality that many find difficult to develop, but to find success in your riding sport, you must learn to develop this circle.  As with any quality, this must be practiced on a daily basis.  Use the workbook to explore how you are developing this quality.  Be compassionate with yourself and take this quality one day at a time.

#4: Willingness to do what you do not want to do

Will power is the driving force of growth.  a daily practice of "doing what you do not want to do" will build you into an even better athlete.  Driving through this unwillingness is what will make you stronger physically and mentally.  Even the smallest tasks work in your favor of growth and development, whether it be folding socks, scrubbing water buckets, stacking hay, or working out.  Each task you complete that you do not want to do is a step in your development as an athlete.

#5: Being Comfortable with Being uncomfortable 

Growth and development is not comfortable for anyone.  As children we experience first hand the discomfort of growing up.   Developing our minds to learn to speak, read, calculate, etc was challenging and uncomfortable.  Developing our bodies to be able to  walk, run, jump, etc was challenging and uncomfortable.  Yet, all of us went through the discomfort to develop and grow.  When a rider first starts their journey into equestrian sport, then must overcome many discomforts in the learning process.  Growth will always equal discomfort and is a necessary aspect to your progression.  Embrace the awkward feeling that you get as you are developing/learning and you will be on a path to your ultimate goals.  Learn to love the feeling of growth.

Bonus: Gratitude

We hear often how hard life is... how life is a struggle and unfair.  This mindset can be poisonous to growth.  Learning to be grateful for your life can be what propels you forward.  Yes, that is even being grateful for the struggle.  Why should you be grateful for the struggle?  Because the struggle is what is going to make you strong enough to handle the future ahead of you.  It is what is preparing you for your next step up.  The next step is no walk in the park, but it is what you want right?  Then be grateful for the struggles in your life.  Be grateful for the struggle to gain strength, be grateful for the struggle to get out of debt, be grateful for the struggle to learn to sit the trot.  Be grateful for all the good and the bad that has happened to you and take note of ot every day.