Positive mindset for horse riders

Imagine walking into the stable with a heavy heart, only to find your usually calm horse agitated and restless. This scenario highlights a powerful truth: our mindset profoundly affects our horses. A positive mindset is not just beneficial but essential in nurturing successful relationships with horses.

The Interconnectedness of Mindset and Horse Training

Learning how to have a positive mindset should be a part of, and is a part of, being successful with horses. If we practice it in our daily lives, we can practice it with our horses, and vice versa. Horses are incredibly sensitive to human emotions and can pick up on our mental state, which in turn affects their behaviour and performance. When we understand our mindset, we’re able to adapt, adjust, and shift those aspects of our mindset which are not helping us to be resilient, enabled, and positive.

Recognizing Feedback from Your Horse

Horses always show up as who they are on any given day and are mostly positive. However, if your horse reacts negatively, such as with a mad face, biting, kicking, or running away, this is feedback about you, your relationship, and training with them, or it could indicate a health issue. Regular patterns of negativity from us can lead to similar reactions from our horses, whether in sickness or health.

The Dangers of Forced Positivity

While positivity is crucial, forced positivity can create terrible downsides and exhaust your resources, possibly leaving you back where you started or even worse. Cultivating genuine positivity rather than forcing it is important, as this can lead to burnout and negatively impact both you and your horse.

Strategies for Cultivating a Positive Mindset

Mindfulness Practices

Incorporate mindfulness practices such as deep breathing exercises or meditation before training sessions to centre yourself and approach your horse with a calm and positive mindset. Mindfulness helps reduce anxiety and improve focus, leading to a more enjoyable and effective riding experience.


Keep a journal to reflect on your training sessions, noting both successes and areas for improvement. This can help you maintain a positive outlook and track your progress. Reflective journaling allows you to recognize patterns and make informed adjustments to your training approach.

Positive Affirmations

Use positive affirmations to reinforce a constructive mindset. Phrases like "I am patient and understanding with my horse" can help shift your mental state. Positive self-talk can significantly impact your confidence and performance as a rider.


Visualize your success to mentally prepare and rehearse how you’ll cope with potential challenges. By imagining a successful outcome, you can increase your confidence for when you’re riding. Visualization helps in creating a mental blueprint for success, making you more prepared and confident during actual riding sessions.

The Role of the Parent and Teacher in Training

During horse training, there are times when you must be the parent and times when you must be the teacher. Being the parent involves understanding why horses do the things they do and having the tools and knowledge to help them find relaxation. A relaxed horse is a happier horse and is in a better mental state to learn and remember what they have learned. Being the teacher means being responsible for practising or teaching your horse new things with reasonable knowledge and a good mindset.


Remember, your mindset is a powerful tool in your relationship with your horse. Start implementing these strategies today and observe the positive changes in your training sessions. For more tips and support, join our community of like-minded equestrians dedicated to ethical and effective horse training. By fostering a positive mindset, you enhance your well-being and create a more harmonious and successful partnership with your horse.

Further Reading

For more insights and tips on maintaining a positive mindset and emotional resilience in equestrian activities, explore the following articles: