You can learn to be a tougher competitor in the same way you learn any other skill.

In essence, you are an equestrian athlete. Professional and Olympic athletes train mentally, emotionally, and physically.

As riders, we can do the same. We can utilize the EXACT same skills as the pros. When we do this, we maximize our showing and our riding.  

You can train yourself to be “tough” in your thinking when you show. (That may sound a little harsh to some people! (-:)

But, tough simply means your ability to use words and images to call up calmness and focus on demand. 

Tough thinking can calm your tendency to get angry and lose your cool with yourself, or anyone else when you make a mistake.

How does it work? It’s a discipline before and during your ride.  

The first idea is to always talk to yourself in positive ways. 

For example, you can never rid yourself of a negative emotion by trying to get rid of it. You cannot “not be nervous”. Instead you go for feeling calm and focused … and ready.

You recognize you’re feeling anxious and then you replace the nerves with thoughts that evoke calmness and focus. For example, you could say to yourself, “Stay cool. Breathe. Focus on your job.”

Another part of “tough” thinking is to lean into challenges. You don’t shy away from difficulties. In fact, the whole idea is to learn to love pressure. The more difficult it gets, the more you like it.  

Because stress will always be a part of all of our lives (we can never eliminate it) to be a top competitor, you learn to handle stress. You see difficulties as challenges … not events that will take you down.

And no matter what happens as you ride, you say to yourself … and believe, “No problem!”.