Horse & Rider
Manage Your Emotions
Use an expert’s formula to create the emotional state that will make you a more confident, effective rider.
knowledge of the Emotional Formula to make movements away from anxiety and towards confidence when riding or handling horses.
How To Use It
Here’s how the Emotional Formula is working when you feel anxious.
It's in the future. You imagine a worst-case-scenario taking place (falling off, horse spooking, freezing up in the show pen).
It supports your focus, with comments like, “I can’t do it,” or “What if I get hurt?” or “I’m going to make a fool of myself!”
Your body and breath mirror your mental focus. You feel unsettled, your joints are tight, your heart rate climbs, and your breath is short and shallow.
Now for the good news. Positively influencing any one of these three elements breaks the formula, automatically moving you toward a better-feeling space. All three work in what you might call a co-dependent way, such that changing up any one of them will have automatic flow-on effects to the other two.
Your best bet? Use each of these prompts in turn to speed the creation of a more confident mindset.
Concentrate on what you want, not what you’re trying to avoid. Ultimately, what would you like to make happen with
Prompt your focus.
your horse right now? What actions do you need to take to get you there?
Ask yourself useful, encouraging questions. What should I do right now? What does my horse need from me to feel focused and confident?
Prompt your self-talk.
Prompt your breath/body.
Make each exhalation twice as long as each inhalation; this activates your parasympathetic nervous system to promote relaxation. Adjust your posture into an “I’m confident” frame (chin up, shoulders back, spine erect), then scan through your body, relaxing areas of tension.
If you find trying to change your focus or managing your self-talk difficult or abstract, then start simply with the part of you that’s always anchored in the present moment: your body and breath.
Begin your practice in a lowstress situation away from your horse. Over time, emotional self-management will become a skill transferable to time spent with your horse.
Best of all, know that the more you practice, the easier it’ll be to execute this strategy when you’re riding and the pressure is on.