Monday, June 3, 2013

Fear Factor

Recently some of my clients and I have been discussing the "Fear Factor" that some of them have in their riding.  I find that adult amateurs have a way of putting ALOT of pressure on themselves to succeed or perform better than their current ability or that they believe their ability is less than what their actual performance indicates.  Enter Fear.  For some its Fear of Failure at a horse show or perhaps it is Fear of Spooking, Fear of getting the wrong canter lead, the list goes on and on.  As a coach I try to be the best mentor, cheerleader, and sometimes psychologist I can, but ultimately it is up to each rider to make the choice to overcome their fears or not.  Check out this outstanding article on how to overcome "problems" and emotions that hang over like a dark cloud paralyzing our progress, and then MAKE the CHOICE!

Originally published on USEA tip of the month
By, Daniel Stewart
"This is a wonderful question. Our horses mean the world to us so we need to make sure that the time we spend with them is as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible. Regardless of whether you're competitive or recreational, this should be one of your most important goals because you can really only achieve true greatness doing things you love and enjoy. Sadly, if you're not enjoying yourself you'll probably struggle riding to your true potential.  
To create this kind of enjoyment it often helps to know the various mindsets that lead to it. If you know them - and can adopt them - the positive emotions you create (e.g. self-belief, confidence, enjoyment) will chase the black clouds away.
  • Abundance vs Scarcity Mindset- Instead of telling yourself what you don't have, or what you're not good at (what's scarce), tell yourself what you do have and what you are good at (what you have in abundance). Rather than always trying to get what you'd love, remind yourself to also love what you've already got.
  • Solution vs Problem Mindset- Instead of focusing on problems, teach yourself to find their solutions. It's true that problems can create black clouds, but finding their solutions is a sure way to clear them away. Teach yourself to see problems as learning opportunities (not missed opportunities) by focusing on the solutions rather than the problems.
  • Present vs Past/Future Mindsets- Instead of allowing your mind to focus on negative past experiences or the pressure of future outcomes (e.g. standings or placings) keep your mind locked in the present. One way to do this is to set performance show goals like "balance my corners and landings." If you focus on doing these things while showing you'll increase the chance of succeeding in the present rather than worrying about whether it'll happen in the future.
  • Belief vs Fear Driven Mindsets- Instead of focusing on what you're afraid of (e.g. losing, forgetting your test, pulling a rail), teach yourself to focus on what you believe you can make happen. Rather than being afraid of the kinds of things that might happen, become the kind of rider who goes out there and makes things happen!
Riding - like life - is all about making choices. When given the choice to choose who you'll become as a rider, always choose to focus on the great things you can do in the present, the many skills you have in abundancesolutions rather than their problems and the belief that you can make great things happen rather than simply being afraid of the kinds of things that might happen.
In the end, the love of the horse and of our sport, and the enjoyment we feel while riding comes down to always remembering that: 
Emotions Shouldn't Get The Best Of You...
They Should Get The Best Out Of You!"

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