Importance Of A Mental Preparation Routine

by | Rider Health, Strategy

Mental Skills Coach And Rider, Tonya Johnston, Discusses Why It’s Important To Have a Mental Preparation Routine
Part 1

Why is it important to have a mental preparation routine or ritual?

The main value is consistency. Just like we have routines for our horses, as riders, we need to trust our preparation. So,it’s helpful to do things in a systematic way, that you know works and to helps you get focused.

It creates trust and confidence and impacts how we communicate with our horse

It creates trust and confidence and impacts how we communicate with our horse and how well we’re going to be able to ride our plan.

Is there a specific routine that you recommend?

It’s really important that your mental preparation routine is personalized.

First, be aware of what you are already doing and what’s working now so we can be more systematic in our approach.

That becomes a building block and from there, we can add more “tools in the toolbox.”

What is Tonya Johnston’s mental preparation routine?

I don’t want anyone to think that my personal routine is advice. However, I do “walk the talk.”

I visualize.

I do “ring research” – I walk around the outside of the ring and look at it from different angles

I like to eat pasta the night before a big class because I believe that it helps me get a good night’s sleep

I use music. I think that music is a great way to generate positive energy. If you’re nervous, music can help channel that to be a positive thing.

Any other suggestions?

I’m a fan of people doing some sort of physical activity, like going for a walk to raise their heart rate a little and loosen up and get their energy moving.

It’s important to monitor your mind/body connection and remain fluid and flowing rather than feeling uptight

If you’re going to choose music as part of your mental preparation routine, it’s important that you think about freshness. A song that you love and works today, can become stale and boring. Be on the lookout to be creative, make adjustments and keep your routine fresh.

Learn more about mental skills coach, Tonya Johnston on her website.

In PART 2, Talia Slatkin asks riders and trainers to share their mental preparation routines.