Positive thoughts will get you a lot further with horses than negative ones!

If you want your horse to perform at their peak, then you need to be a good trainer and rider. That starts with having the right mindset. Positive thoughts will build you up, while negative ones will ruin you and your horse. Now’s your chance to bust down those barriers and get on the right track!

It doesn’t matter what your goals are. Everyone can benefit from a sense of direction or plan. Goals, no matter how small, encourage you to become the best rider you can be. They also push your horse further and unleash their true potential. Your goal may be to have a quiet trail horse or run the fastest barrel race to date, either way you need a good mindset to achieve those.

Start with Goals

Both amateurs and professionals alike should have goals. Each one needs to be realistic and achievable. It can be helpful to write down the goal and the progress you’ve made after each ride or training session. Consider both short- and long-term goals. Your shorter weekly or monthly goals can connect to your larger one.

You can stay focused by making a S.M.A.R.T goal- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Make sure your goals are positive, such as my lope transition will be smooth and effortless. It’ll help you stay motivated.

Achieve Momentum with Small Steps

Big goals are achieved through smaller, baby ones. Each step you takes brings you closer to your larger mission. During the process, don’t forget to acknowledge the small gains. This will help you stay motivated and positive. You may come across problems, but don’t get emotional. Constructively investigate the issue and come up with a solution.

winning mindset

Practice, Practice, Practice

There are no shortcuts in horse training or riding. Your winning mindset starts with knowing the journey may be long, but the rewards are great. Get ready to put in the work and practice as much as you can. Experienced riders know that it takes a lifetime to learn their sport. In fact, you never really stop learning. It’s important you learn to love the behind-the-scenes work. Every dressage test starts by practicing a single maneuver that’s gradually built into a longer series of movements.

Let Go of Perfection

In riding and most other areas of life, there is always room for improvement. Constructive criticism can be helpful in recognizing areas that could use some work. Keep an open mind, but don’t let the imperfections bring you down.

girl with horse

Treat Your Horse Like an Individual 

Your horse is a unique individual with their own potential and motivations. Here’s where being flexible can really help you out. You must listen to your horse and adjust to their needs. Don’t let your goals overcome your horse’s basic rights. Each should be treated with kindness and understanding. Some horses have unlimited potential and others are less driven. Additionally, your horse may not have the physical attributes to make them a world-class jumper. It can be helpful to know their limits.

Create an Inner Circle

A positive mindset can be encouraged through the people you associate with. Your barn buddies and riding instructor should build you up and motivate you, rather than put you down. Choose friends who will be there for you and understand your goals. No one says you have to do it alone. In reality, you’ll be more likely to achieve your goals if you have the support of others.

Remember to Smile

Riding is supposed to be fun! While striving for the blue ribbon, don’t lose your passion for the sport. Sure, you can be focused, but make sure you are laughing and smiling along the way.

What separates a good rider or trainer from a not-so-good one, their mindset! Positive thoughts can push you forward in life and at the barn. You got this!


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Emily Fought

Emily Fought discovered her passion for horses early on in life. When she isn't writing about them, you can find her in the barn riding. Although Emily's background is in dressage, she enjoys cross-training and is an avid trail rider. She resides in Northeastern Ohio with her husband and small dog. Together, they own and operate Humblewood Farm. Emily not only writes for YourHorseFarm.com but CowgirlMagazine.com as well!