Rider focus – looking ahead

As riders, keeping our minds active and our eyes moving is a recipe for success AND safety in the warm up or horse show ring.

“How does focus influence injury prevention? “ asked the Coaching Association of Ontario in a recent newsletter.

Some highlights:

  • When we begin learning a new sport, activity or task, our awareness is generally high, especially if there is risk involved. For instance, think about your first time driving. Where were your hands? Probably gripped tightly around the steering wheel. Where was your mind? You were probably excited, nervous, maybe even a bit scared. One thing’s for sure; you probably weren’t focused on anything other than driving. How long did it take before you became complacent and your mind began to wander? A month?
  • Repetition builds muscle memory and allows athletes to perform fluidly, without thinking. However, as an athlete improves their technical skills, they also become more complacent.
  • When the mind goes off task, our eyes work as our final defense against injury. When an athlete works on the habit of moving their eyes first before they move, it improves their chances of getting a reflex action.