Equestrians and Peak Performance


Many riders struggle with incapacitating fears. The fears may prevent the equestrian from riding a particular horse, jumping a certain height or performing to her potential. Fears within this sport are exceptionally common and are integrally related to the very nature of the sport. As an equestrian, you are riding atop a rather large animal, who, at times can be easily spooked and respond unpredictably. Furthermore, the learning process is fraught with falls, scary close calls and even injuries. Unlike other sports, your performance in this sport is a unique team effort where your teammate can sometimes turn against you. The end result of this is that every rider accumulates any number of upsetting and/or scary experiences as they mature in the sport. 

As a result of some of these scary experiences and injuries, a rider can develop a significant, fear-based performance block. In fact, many equestrians unknowingly suffer from what I call Repetitive Sports Performance Problems, (RSPPs). Here's how it works:


Every time that you have a scary close call, fall or injury, your brain/body memorizes the entire experience in exquisite detail. You unconsciously remember all the sights, sounds, smells, movements, emotions and thoughts from this experience. In fact, long after this experience may have been consciously forgotten, it still remains frozen in its' entirety in your mind and body. The problem with this, is the next time you are under pressure or are in any way reminded of that original scary experience, components from this original upsetting event (images, sounds, emotions, anxiety, physical tension and/or negative thinking) get activated and bubble up into your awareness, interfering with the present performance. What the rider becomes aware of is feeling unsafe inside. When this happens, your nervous system, sensing danger, instinctively responds with the self-protective reflex of FREEZE. As a result, the rider literally loses access to their trained performance skills, which have been pushed offline so that the more important task of self-protection can take over.  


Unless these past upsetting events are effectively processed through for the rider, he/she will never be able to effectively move beyond their performance fears. This is the kind of work that Dr. G does with riders. In addition to teaching them specific mental toughness training techniques to help them stay calm under pressure, focus on what's important and block out everything else, rebound quickly from mistakes and failures, develop self-confidence, manage last minute negative thinking and self-doubts, Dr. G helps the athlete get over his/her incapacitating fears utilizing mind-body based way of working.


With a little work, these mental skills as well as a few important others can be systematically trained to the point where you develop the reputation of a mentally tough competitor. My CD Program, The Best Mental Toughness Training Program for Equestrians (ON SALE NOW!) will take you to the next level!


Are you struggling with performance problems or a slump? Do you consistently perform better in practice than when it counts?


My one-on-one skype consulation service will help you get back on track! Call me at 413-549-1085 or email Goldberg@competitivedge.com.


Dr. Alan Goldberg is an internationally recognized expert in the field of performance enhancement. As a Sports Performance Consultant Dr. G works with equestrians and other athletes across all sports at every level helping them develop, overcome fears and blocks, better handle competitive pressure and perform to their potential. He has written on the subjects of peak performance and mental toughness for a number of national and international publications. He has recently published a revolutionary new book, "This Is Your Brain In Sports: Beating Blocks, Slumps and Performance Anxiety for Good!" and a "Best Mental Toughness Package for Athletes." Check out his most popular program- Mental Toughness Training Package for Equestrians-Special Savings.