4 Things Riders Need Their Coach to Understand

I have noticed that some of the most profound changes come when we question what we thought we already knew.


Having had the privilege of working with coaches and riders across all equestrian disciplines, I have attempted to capture four of the most common falsehoods dressed up as truths!


Are any of these holding you back?


Falsehood#1 - Success is about getting the horse going nicely

Of course you want the horse to go nicely, but if this is your top consideration all the way through the training process then you unwittingly avoid dealing with the difficult challenges that might be a little more messy to overcome.


Falsehood#2 - The more we ride the more we learn

Contrary to how we imagine it, very little learning actually happens in the saddle. Instead it happens afterwards when you are making sense of the experience. This is when meaningful connections can be made in the brain. If coaches are not having coaching conversations out of the saddle, they are only having half the impact they are capable of.


Falsehood#3 - The more we repeat a skill in training the better it should be in competition

Unfortunately, our ability to translate our skills from training to competition is about far more than repetition. The principle of “mood state congruence” shows us that coaches have to help riders better internalise the pressure and intensity of competition if they are going to be able to adapt to that environment.


Falsehood#4 - A coach shouldn’t need to inspire their riders

The gift of inspiration is not taught as part of most coaching qualifications because it is considered of secondary importance to practical skills and technical knowledge. But be under no illusion that learning will flatline if coaches can't help riders feel good in themselves and excited for what they could achieve.