Mantras can help to calm nerves and boost confidence, qualities which are super useful when on the cross-country course.
Do you struggle with nerves or too much excitement when you take to the cross-country course? Do you have a hard time keeping yourself calm and focused? Then a mantra might be the perfect idea for you.
Mantras, short phrases which you can repeat to yourself, can provide you with a much-needed boost of confidence or calming energy while you're on the cross-country course.
Why Mantras Matter
We all know that competing often becomes a mental game when fear and excitement come into play. Mantras help to give you control over your thoughts by filling your head with a positive message.
Repeat something over and over again enough times, and you can't help but believe that it's true. Mantras can give you that reassurance and boost of confidence that your trainer normally provides by coaching you over fences.
The best part about having a mantra is that you don't even have to say it out loud. You certainly can repeat the mantra out loud, and some riders find that the sound of their voices tends to calm themselves as well as their horses. But you can just as easily repeat your mantra in your head when you're on the cross-country course.
In order for your mantra to be effective, it's important to come up with a mantra that truly appeals to you, and start using it before you head out to an event. Use your mantra whenever you're riding or jumping, and get used to the practice of repeating this phrase as you ride.
Awesome Cross-Country Course Mantras
Every rider has a different mantra. There aren't standard "horseback riding mantras," but we've come up with some ideas for cross-country course mantras to help you get started. See if any of the messages below hit home for you.
We are strong, we can do this.
Steady, strong, and safe.
We've jumped bigger.
I am a talented rider.
Leg on. Leg on. Leg on.
Head up, heels down.
Breathe and smile.
Leg on and go.
Trust your horse, trust yourself.
Do the scary thing first. Get scared later. (-Lemony Snicket)
Make Your Own Mantra
The most powerful mantras are often ones that you make your own. The above mantras are great samples, but don't hesitate to alter them to better fit you, your personality, and your riding. Mantras can truly be anything. Does your trainer have an often-repeated phrase that they remind you of when you're jumping? It might make a great mantra.
Your mantra doesn't have to be directly riding-related, either. Inspiring quotes, phrases that calm you, and words that inspire you can all be mantras.
In coming up with a mantra, make sure that it's something that you can easily remember and recite to yourself in your head when you're riding. Mantras are often shorter phrases that you can repeat over and over again.
Try reciting the mantra in rhythm with your horse's stride - this can help you to feel the mantra within you, and to also regulate the rhythm of your horse's gallop. By starting your mantra up right after each jump, you can quickly reestablish that rhythm, making for a well-paced course.
Before you set out on the cross-country course, remind yourself of your mantra. It can truly make a difference in your performance.
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