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How To Use Equestrian Quotes To Improve Your Horse Riding Skills
by Margarethe De Clermont

Horse quotes, equestrian quotes, dressage quotes, words of wisdom from the masters of classical riding: a single sentence can change the way you look at horses and horse riding forever.

Horse quotes and horse riding quotes can be inspiring, heart-warming, educational or amusing. Educational quotes can make us think, comical ones can make us laugh and when the quote touches on a subject close to our hearts, it can even bring a tear or two to our eyes.

Reading quotes and marvelling about how accurate and true they are is entertaining, but could they possibly have a more influential effect or our personal riding experience? Could a quote really make a difference to how well you ride, on how effortlessly you interact with your horse?

To master the art of classical riding, physical practice is not enough. Mental training is as important as physical training if you truly want to learn how to communicate flawlessly with your horse. This is not a new discovery, far from it, the concept was familiar to horseback riders and trainers more than a thousand years ago.

Modern Masters confirm this belief in no uncertain terms. There are endless examples of equestrian quotes validating this statement. One of the most impressive and most complete is this one from Charles de Knuffy: "Horsemanship is not merely a matter of bodily skills, but is based on scholarship and, therefore, is a matter of the mind and intellect. Good horsemanship is based on proper character development and, therefore, is also a matter of mentality and spirit. Without the correct attitudes and insights, there cannot be the right sport."

But what have quotes got to do with mental training?

Affirmations is one of the techniques that have been used for decades to change human behavior. An affirmation is an emphatic statement that you make to yourself. Everyone uses affirmations, intentionally or unintentionally. You wake up in the morning, jump out of bed and exclaim "I am a great rider". That is a positive affirmation. Or you drag yourself out of bed in the morning and whimper "I am a rotten rider". That is a negative affirmation. Both statements determine the emotional state you are in and affects you confidence levels.

We can use affirmations to improve our riding, our relationship with our horse, our ability to perform under stress. Affirmations are used successfully in all areas of personal growth and self improvement.

It is estimated that an average person has 10,000 thoughts or images flashing through his mind each day. At least half of these thoughts are negative, such as "I struggle to learn new riding skills. I learn much slower now than when I was younger. My memory is getting worse and worse!" Unharnessed, a steady dose of worry and negative thoughts can severely damage your self-esteem.

For an affirmation to be effective, it has to conform to certain requirements. It has to be stated in the positive, present tense and in the first person. They should also contain an emotional and visual component.

An example of a good affirmation is: Using these principles an affirmation may look like the following: "It is deeply satisfying (emotional) that I (personal) respond (present tense) with wisdom, love, firmness, and self-control (positive) when my horse misbehaves."

But how does horse quotes fit into this equation?

Equestrian quotes can form the foundation of extremely effective and influential affirmations. The same quote can have different effects on different people. The secret is to choose a quote that means a lot to you personally, and transform it according to the rules above into your own personal power-affirmation.

Take the following quote: "The smell of hay, leather and saddle soap immediately transports me back to the stables where I learned to ride as a child, bringing with them a warm glow of happiness and excitement."

Whenever you feel stressed or tired, cheer yourself up with a similar affirmation. Remind yourself of a time when you felt happy, excited, motivated and positive. Create your affirmation in the present tense, make it personal, emotional, and visual.

Quotes can be used in many different ways to enrich your riding experience.

About the Author:
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