HORSES

The Increasing Use of Sports Psychology in the Equestrian Environment

There's an increasing move towards the use of sports psychology amongst the equestrian fraternity. Interestingly, this performance enhancing medium isn't only used by those professional riders at the top of their game that strive to remain at the top but the popularity amongst amateur and leisure riders is also on the increase, why?

Horse ownership/riding is more popular now than ever before. In the UK we are very lucky at the amount of grass roots and lower level events which are open to amateur riders. This of course is a good thing as there are more opportunities to succeed, however, as horses are quite literally a great leveller there are also more opportunities to bomb out! We also spend more time on social media hearing about how well our peers have done. To me, it seems we rarely hear about the blood sweat and tears that have attributed to our friends successful moment and as social etiquette demands we are expected to gush positive platitudes, but in truth we are probably feeling at best disgruntled with our own bad day and at worse positively envious at their success! On a more serious note, the perception of our peers doing better than ourselves and our innate ability to forget that they too work hard for their cherished successful moments can lead to a lack of confidence in our own ability ergo the eventual need for a sports psychologist. The other reason is, we are becoming increasingly aware (again courtesy of social media) of riding accidents. We hear about avoidable RTA's involving horses, dogs attacking horses whilst horse and rider are out enjoying what should be a fun hack and we often hear about someone whose bought a horse that turned out to be totally unsuitable and either caused serious injury or a loss of confidence. So it's no wonder the use of a sports psychologist is on the increase.

There are two types of sports psychologist, one that deals with mental skills training, so teaching you to use psychological skills in order to control anxiety, fear, over excitement etc., the other deals with psychological therapy by applying some mainstream talking therapies to deal with any underlying issues that affect an athlete. So for anyone that wants to enhance their performance, increase their confidence levels, achieve their goals or has had the unfortunate experience of being injured by their horse, help is at hand in the form of a good sports psychologist.