I recently asked a college equine program class of 2014 graduate what was the most important thing she learned from her four years. She answered, “Liability-meaning promoting safety and matching horse and rider properly.” I followed up with what’s the course you wanted to take, but didn’t? She was quick to answer, “Sports Psychology-it wasn’t offered.”
A course of study preparing a professional horseman or horsewoman for a career working with equestrians ought to have a course in sports psychology as a requirement. Most client problems are the result of their inability to work through their fears, mental blocks and fluctuating levels of self confidence. While studying equine behavior is important, human behavior is twice as important.
The rider is an athlete just as much as the horse is. Too often in the case of a discouraged rider, the instructor would be far more effective with a proper knowledge of sports psychology. The successful professional knows that training the rider requires a strong knowledge of human psychology to help maintain the student’s mindset as well as maintain the professional’s sanity.