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Eva Rosenthal

For Eva Rosenthal "the athlete's spirit is kind of the same as the horse's one, it needs warm-up and care". To put into practice it, the former high-level dressage rider, became a mental coach to help riders to give their best performance whatever are the circumstances. Thanks to her experience as a competitor, she gives her advice to prepare mentally for the big competitions, to positively approach trainings, and to surpass the blocking points.

Hello Kim,

Whether you think that you can do it or whether you think you cannot do it than you we be right in both cases!!

What you think becomes your reality!

If you think that you cannot do it your unconscious mind will set itself so that you will not be able to do it, if you think that it's too hard then your unconscious mind will believe it and therefore will allow you to access to a low potential of your resources, for this reason your actions will be less effective and your results lower level, there you will confirm your belief that you cannot do it and this will make you believe again that it's to hard for you!!

This is a negative vicious cycle which will not allow you to access to all your resources and perform at your full potential therefore I recommend to CHANGE IT as soon as possible with a positive circle of thought especially when you are at shows because this kind of thinking will never allow you to give your best.

With mental coaching this is very easy to do because it is very practical and immediate!!

Eva

Hello Norman, yes it is common , especially after a big injury infact this can affect the rider physically but also mentally leaving traces of this event for a long time but normally this apprehension can be managed with mental coaching.

Fear and apprehension remain if you keep your mind focused in the past and in what has happened and if you know how to manage your mind.

This state of mind can become an obstacle in going back to initial level and sometimes it can also sabotage you in your improvement because it puts you in a vicious circle:
You are afraid -> You put less potential in your riding -> your actions are of lower quality -> your results are below your level -> you still are afraid etc.

To interrupt this vicious cycle it is important to get over the injury and get over the feeling of apprehension, with mental coaching this is very fast and easy to obtain.

I have personally worked with a top rider after an injury and I can tell you that she has totally recovered from it going back at an even higher level!!

Eva

Hello Maddy,
Yes of course you can train your focus in competition.

The first thing you have to consider is that training your focus "only" in competition will not be enough. To be concentrated in competition you will need to know how to train your focus also at home during training and the more you will train your focus the more it will be easy for you to do it in competition so that it becomes a habit.

To train your focus you can start by imagining that you focus is what your mind concentrates on.
What you focus on becomes your reality so ask yourself "what kind of reality is useful for you before a competition?"

First of all it is important to become aware of your thoughts and become aware of the positive or negative effects that these thoughts can have on your emotions and your beliefs.

Imagine that managing your focus is like riding a young horse, what do you do when the young horse goes in the wrong direction? I imagine that you stop him and you put him in the right direction, the same thing can be done with your mind if you are aware of what is happening so first thin is Awareness.

Second thing is TAKE RESPONSIBILITY of your thoughts, again if you are riding a young horse and he goes in the wrong direction what do you do?? You take responsibility and you stop him right? The same thing can be done with your mind and your thoughts so take responsibility on what you tell yourself.

Third thing is if you are concentrating on things that are not useful for you in competition CHANGE YOUR FOCUS , make yourself other questions or tell yourself things that are useful for you.

These few steps on how to manage your thoughts will help you to calm your mind and put you in an emotional state that is useful for your competition.

This together with visualization and mental anticipation of your competition and other mental coaching techniques will help you to enter in a calm focused bubble.

You can manage your emotional state by working on your physiology and your mental focus.

Your physiology is a combination of these 4 elements of your body:
facial expressions
posture
body movement
breathing

By managing these 4 together and your mental focus you can manage your emotional state and can therefore easily get into your calm bubble during your competition

Close your eyes and imagine yourself riding a clear test with a calm mind and enter in that feeling...

Eva

Hello James,

Yes I do work a lot with trainers as well and sometime also with family members of the athlete.

How many times did you hear a trainer say "you don't understand me!" or "you don't listen to me!"

The fact is that sometimes the rider doesn't understand because the trainer uses words, expressions, timings, etc that are not aligned with the rider.

Knowing a lot of techniques and being a good teacher doesn't always mean that you are helping your pupil 100%.

Knowledge on communication, on how the mental warm up of the rider works and of which words can be useful and which words can instead be harmful for the rider's concentration and emotional state is fundamental if you want them to perform at their full potential.

In fact sometimes both trainers and parents might unconsciously influence negatively the riders because they say some things that might put the rider in an emotional state that is not useful for him or her to be before the competition.

Of course both the trainer and the parents want to help and support the rider so what they say to him is absolutely for his or her well being but the result isn't often what they aimed for.

So yes James I work with many trainers and work a lot on their way of expressing themselves so that they can be understood better by their pupils, I work with them on how to give better feedback to their pupils so that it can be better accepted and understood and also on techniques that allows them to understand better the ways of thinking of their pupils to improve the understanding of both.

I also work with them on how to manage their emotional state better so that they can support better their pupils.

Eva

Hello Lauren,

To fully concentrate in your performance it is important that you are "in the flow" ! The flow is a state of mind in which you are totally concentrated and focused and your performance almost just goes on by itself.

To get into this state of mind you can use various techniques, one important thing is that you are in the "here and now" in the present.

To do this you need to quiet your thoughts and your mind and almost stop thinking. Stop thinking also means stop talking to yourself!! Did you ever notice that you have an inner voice that sometimes is not helping you, on the contrary it is making you even more tense??

Many people get very nervous because they start telling themselves things that are not useful so you can follow these steps:

1) Listen to what you tell to yourself and slow down your inner voice,
2) Tell yourself only thing that will put you in a useful emotional state and if you find it tough at the beginning tell your inner voice to "shut up" and let you concentrate on what you are doing
3) Take some time to relax, breath in and visualize you show
4) Smile and laugh if you can to expel tension
5) to keep your concentration focus on one thing at a time and imagine that all the surroundings disappear and that there is only you and your horse left and just concentrate on the two of you!!

Eva

Hello Molly,

I have worked and still work with high level riders that have competed at Olympic Games and at World Games and it is always very interesting and challenging! I could give you a list of many top level riders I would like to work with in every equestrian discipline...

In my opinion every rider should do at least a couple of mental training sessions to improve their standards because to give 100% in a performance you need to train 3 areas:

Technical area
Physical area
Mental area

Most riders train daily the first area and maybe the second one but few riders have a professionist who supports them to train the mental area for this reason at whatever level they find themselves their performance could probably improve by training mentally.

Eva

Hello Judith,
Yes of course!!

There will always be better riders and better horses in the arena so if you continuously compare yourself with them, especially before your show it will not be very useful fir your self esteem and this will certainly not put you in the best emotional state to face a competition!!

Here a a few tips of what you can do:
1) First of all concentrate on yourself and on your horse
2) think about yours and your horses resources and strong points
3) Concentrate on giving the best you can on what you and your horse are today without making comparisons
4) imagine that you are the only competitor and that your goal is to give the best of you 2 together , your goal is to improve your last result
5) when you are in the warm up stay focused on yourself and on your horse, do not even look at other horses or you will get distracted and make comparisons.
6) believe in yourself and in your horse, the only limits are the ones that you put in your mind
7) in the warm up just look and think about you and your horse and ignore all that is happening outside, just give the best and focus on going beyond your limits!!

Another thing I would ask you is "what do you do to deserve your self esteem?"
Self esteem is not something that you can measure, it is how much esteem you feel about yourself, so what do you do to increase it?

YOu can make a list of all your qualities, your resources, and your daily actions and find in them reasons for which you should increase your self esteem... if you do this exercise for a few week this will improve a lot!!

Eva

Hello Allie,
There are many ways to manage negative energy before riding, to be more specific in my answer I would ask you what kind of energy and in what circumstances, however I will give you some general tips :

If by Energy you mean emotions then you can do the following to manage your emotions:

A) work on your physiology, on your body by changing these 4 elements:
Facial expression
Posture
Movement
Breathing

If you want to feel sure of yourself put yourself in a physiology that represents it, if you are feeling anxious move your body and all 4 of these elements together.
If you are feeling angry or overstressed before riding then you can go for a run or smile, dance, do anything that moves your body.

B) manage your mental focus - your thoughts will determine your emotions which will determine your reality and your performance. To manage your thoughts you need to consider:
1) your inner dialogue : in what way , what are you telling to yourself and how are you talking to yourself.
2) The words you use will influence your energy, if you use words full of stress and hatred then you will feel like this, if you use words full of happiness and amusement then you will feel like this
3) When you are about to ride you can stop all of your thoUghts By using the following mantra and telling to yourself:
STOP- BREATH IN - LET'S GO AND HAVE FUN

These are a few tips to stop your thoughts if they are not useful and manage your emotions, you can also concentrate on the present and leave your problems away

There are also some other exercises of mental coaching that you can do but these should be made with the support of a coach the first time so you can understand them and put them into practice.

Eva

Hello Maddy,
You cannot lie with horses, they can feel every thought and every emotion of their rider, so I ask you:
Does your horse muck about because you are frustrated and stressed or does he do it and for this you are getting stressed about it and that gets him even worst??

The first thing you have to consider is that the horse is a living animal and that the reasons why he continues mucking might be several: he is young, he is learning, he is fresh and wants to play, he doesn't respect you, he isn't trained enough, etc.

Whatever the answer is you must consider that if you get frustrated then he will feel it and he will react with even more stress so the first thing to do is to learn how to manage your stress.

To deal with the stress you should learn how to manage your emotions by working on 2 main areas:

A) Your physiology , your body
your facial expression
your posture
your movements
your breathing
If you want to transfer to your horse calm emotions you need to feel calm yourself so put your body and breathe as when you are calm, relax and smile

B) Your mind focus
1) Your inner dialogue
2) The questions you ask yourself
3) The words you use
Every thought and word has an impact on your emotions so ask yourself if the words you are using and the things you are telling yourself will put you in an emotion that is useful and calm or in an emotion that is not useful and stressed .

Become aware of what is happening in your mind and if it is not useful take responsibility for your thoughts and emotions and change them!!!

These are the first tips to start managing stress!!

Eva

Dear Kate,

Horses are normally excited and fresh when they go to new places, before thinking that his anxiety isn't simply a way to demonstrate he is happy or afraid of being in a new place I would consider: the age of the horse, his experience, how many shows or new places has he been, hoe long have you been riding him and how strong does he trust you.

If the answers to these questions show that he is young and you have few experiences together then I would consider it as normal, he needs to get used to going to new places and to be at shows, if instead its quite a few years that you are traveling then I would ask yourself are you calm or anxious when you go at shows??

As a rider you have the ability to transfer to your horse your thoughts and emotions so if you are anxious so he will become and if he is anxious and you are calm you can transfer him your emotions of calm and relaxation.

You can remain calm by working on your emotional state by managing:
A) your physiology
facial expression
posture
movement
breathing
to influence your emotions

B) your mental focus
be aware on what you concentrate on, if you are nervous because you are tense due to the show you will transfer your feeling to your horse. Pay attention to:
1) your inner dialogue - what you tell to yourself becomes your reality
2) Language - the word you use influences your emotions
3) questions - the kind of questions you make yourself influence your emotional state

Concentrate in remaining calm when you go to new places and horses, ride, think and act as if you where at home and transfer to you horse a great sense of trust and he will start to follow you...

Eva