Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Difference Between A Very Good Rider And A Top Rider


award-155595_120-2The ability to stay strong and not make mistakes when under pressure is what turns a good rider into a top rider.

After winning the 2010 World Equestrian Games as well as the 2011 European Championships, Michael Jung (GER) was hot favorite to win the 2012 London Olympics eventing competition. But he placed a disappointing 11th after the first phase, the dressage, which meant he then had to somehow beat ten of the world’s top riders over the two more difficult phases, the cross-country and showjumping, to win.

He did it – he won, and became the first rider to hold simultaneous Olympic, World and European championships.

With all of that pressure on him, how did he mentally block out all the doubts and fears that would intimidate mere mortals?

Having witnessed this astonishing display of steely nerves, Dutch researcher Inga Wolframm, PhD, MSc, of Wageningen University and Research Center, conducted a study in early 2013 of 73 US showjumpers competing at an elite show. She presented her findings at the 2013 International Society of Equitation Science conference. These findings included:

  • Women tended to think more negatively than men.
  • The longer you participate in a sport, the better you become at using mental skill.
  • The better you are, the more automated your skills.

Read the full report from The Horse here.

Pure physical skill is only one aspect of achieving success, and that experience and mental muscle-memory can make the vital difference between not winning – or winning.

And women do not have as much self-confidence as men …

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