I spent last week at The Event at Rebecca Farm and wow, what a week of beautiful riding, competition and landscape! I just love it there! I talked to a lot of people at my booth and one question that came up was, “Why would you use a coach when you have (or are) a trainer?” I think it’s a good one to ask so I asked a few riders I coach and what they came up with were a few common factors.
Photo credit: Lori Kimmerly
- It’s a mental game
Competition is about more than the physical. You can know exactly what to do physically on your horse and if something gets off – or you get worried, or surprised – it throws off the connection. I watched the Intermediate Open group warm up for a long time because a rider had fallen, a cross country jump was broken and horses were in a holding pattern for quite some time. Some horses and riders seemed fine, some were anxious and circling, some horses were just not really having it. It was obvious to me that the mental game was very much in play. One of my coaching clients had this to say about coaching and the “mental edge”.
“I think it’s very simple, the trainers I work with help me with the physical performance aspect, and give me the tools I need to have my horse physically go his/her best. Your coaching gives me the mental edge and the tools for the mental performance aspect, which then enhances the physical performance and allows me to be at my best, as well as giving my horses the best opportunity to perform at their best with a relaxed, connected rider!”
- Mindfulness matters, big time
I work with everyone on mindfulness. I do mean everyone. I can talk about the importance of being present, breathing, staying connected and in your body, without judgment all day long. Do NOT get seated next to me at a dinner unless you want to hear about it (I’m kidding, kind of).
*Photo credit, coaching client from an actual session in which we talked about the brain and what happens when we ride
Mindfulness impacts not only your riding but typically, your whole life. Imagine being in a tough conversation and being able to breath, think, be present and not judge what is happening. Now, imagine it on the back of a horse, especially when something doesn’t go the way you want it to (jumping the wrong fence on a course).
One client has this to say about mindfulness….
“Having a mindfulness coach gives me guidance from a different perspective then say my dressage or jump trainer. It has given me the advantage of becoming more self-aware as an athlete and competitor. Lori’s helping me to stay focused and continue breathing in stressful situations, which makes me a more present and effective rider for my horse. The work I do with Lori is extremely valuable because I will be able develop and practice these abilities now and I’ll also carry them on with me for my future horses.”
- It’s all about you. Seriously
I see things in everyone that trainers typically don’t see. I go out on course walks, to the jumps and angles that make you worry. I watch what your shoulders/back/jaw says. We carry more tension in our body than we realize and I see it and trust me, your horse senses it. This has become my favorite part of coaching, doing individual work in which we deeply show plan courses, jumps and mental space to give YOU what you need on competition days.
One client shares how it makes a difference…
“As a rider and as a trainer that always works with other trainers who help me better my horse. I see a coach as someone who focuses on me and on my mindfulness and who can watch as I walk a course or ride a test. They can watch to see if your body tenses or your breathing changes or your approach is different from fence to fence. Your coach focuses on how to help you be present and aware to bring you to your fullest potential. I have now worked with a coach for the past 6 shows and see a vast difference in how i ride and connect in my myself and my horse.”
* Photo credit, Lori Kimmerly, from an intermediate course walk
It’s mental, mindful and all about you. Maybe I should change my branding?!?
I’d love to talk to YOU about how having a coach and what a difference it can make in your riding. Commit to some sessions in the off season and see what an impact it can make, overall.
Quiet your mind. Sharpen your focus. Ride to your peak performance