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Pro and Non-Pro Reiner Article Series 19 - It’s all in the state of mind

Posted in Equestrian News, Home Page articles, western riding

Pro and Non-Pro Reiner Article Series 19 - It’s all in the state of mind

the rider news sunset two horses and a rider

When riding, I visualize the run in my mind.

Jen: Walter D. Wintle’s poem, “It’s All In The State Of Mind”, is a personal favourite of mine, especially to first two verses:

If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you'd like to win, but you think you can't,
It is almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you've lost;
For out in this world we find
Success begins with a person's will
It's all in the state of mind.

Your state of mind can make or break you in or out of the show pen. 
Here’s a few ways I use to improve my mind state and teach to my students:

Visualize success
When riding, I visualize the run in my mind. I visualize not only a perfect ride but how to manage something unplanned. How will I handle it? This ability to visualise is a valuable tool for students who are new to showing!

Assess Your Self-Talk and Eliminate Self-Defeating Attitudes
It’s key to keep check on your internal dialogue. Are you saying negative, self-defeating things to yourself? Self-talk, whether positive or negative, can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I avoid being overly critical of myself because that leads to underestimating my abilities. If I catch myself saying negative things, I consciously replace those thoughts with positive self-talk. 

Review Past Successes and Remember The Lessons Learned
Don’t focus on what you did “wrong” in past competition, those are things you can’t change. Instead, I remind myself of my past successes and achievements to build confidence in my ability to perform well.  I’ve learned to recognise there are no mistakes in the grand scheme of things; failures present moments of invaluable feedback for improvement. Being a successful competitor is a continual process of learning, growth, and self-development. 

Gilead (Gil) Friedman

Cultivate Mindfulness To Induce Peak Performance States
Every rider has experienced being in “the zone”. It’s that feeling where you are completely immersed in the task at hand and competing with laser-like focus. Too many thoughts in the mind can distract a rider from reaching peak performance. 
Taking the time to calm your mind is a useful tool to increase a sense of awareness and presence in any moment. Just like your body, your mind requires regular training and practice in order to perform at its best.

Gilead (Gil) Friedman

Sharon: I’m in a New York state of mind. The song by Billy Joel is my cue to check in on what’s going on in-between my ears. I’m not a stage-fright type of person – I talk to large groups of people for a living, and I love it. 

But put me on a horse and tell me to go show – that’s when my focus can go out of the window and squirrel… did I leave the gas on? All sorts of nonsense finds its way into my stream of consciousness – and whenever I lose focus of what’s between my ears, I know my horse has picked that up and he is 100 times more likely to lose focus too.

Gilead (Gil) Friedman

For both of us (Jen and Sharon) a game-changing attendance to a webinar in 2021, with an incredible individual – Gilead (Gil) Friedman – completely changed our mindset. We attended a series of workshops on Mental Athletics and what we learned blew the doors open for us to manage our state of mind much better in and out of the show pen.

We loved the learning so much that we ran a program with Gil in 2021 and again in 2022, and we’re delighted to announce we will have a unique one-hour webinar for all riders in our Green Reiner Circuit Series in 2023! We’re still formulating the details with Gil as this goes to press, we’ll announce more shortly. 

For anyone who’s wondering what Mental Athletics is all about:
Mental Athletics is a worldwide mental mindset training program created specifically to enable equestrian riders to reach their peak ability in the show pen - where it really counts! 
Mental Athletics provides face-to-face and web-based programs for developing a “Peak Performance Mindset” for competitive horse riders.
Pro and Non-Pro Reiner Article Series 19 - It’s all in the state of mind

Pro and Non-Pro articles written by Jen Jonas of Jonas Performance Horses (Pro) and Sharon Jones of Be A Better You (Non-Pro). Together, they are J&J Reining Inc. Both Jen and Sharon are believers in continual learning – if you’re not learning you’re not growing.



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