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Performance Coach “Jim Hickey” gives us his Top Tip’s for rider’s confidence in the ring.

By February 4, 2019 No Comments
  1. We recently caught up with Jim Hickey (Peak Performance coach for mental confidence for rider of all levels).

Do you want to improve your riding and results in the ring?  What ever disipline or level you compete at theses top tips will put you on the right road for the coming season 2019.


Jim Hickey has a passion in life for helping people. From a young age he was involved with horses and was lucky enough to have worked with some of the top show jumpers in the world. The more people Jim helps it became clear to him that skill is never the issue but in fact “Mindset”

This allows Jim to work with people from all levels of riders from amateur to Olympic show jumpers.

He explains that his job is to work quietly behind the scenes to help riders over come their fears, anxiety’s, blocks, worries, lack of confidence, and negative thoughts. Their is so many areas and aspects that must be in place both inside and outside the ring to give the rider mental confidence.

Below are some of these tips..
1. Put yourself first – yes put yourself first, most people don’t.                                                 
2. Make time for yourself – step back from your busy life – spend quite time on you own – to reflect on how much you love this sport and why you do it.            
3. Surround yourself with people who will give you the “best advice” and support.            
4. Be sure your pony or horse is suitable for you and at the right level. Be sure to get advice if needed, this gives you confidence and certainty you are on the correct animal for you from the start .                        
5. Get the best team around you from trainer, vet, farrier, back person, dentist.                               
6. Share your goals and dreams with your trainer and make a plan of the competitions you want to compete at, make a plan what you and your animal needs to work on! Take notes of all advice, all results come from the pen first.                                    
7. Mental strength – again back to spending time on your own with your phone off. Begin to visualise “your future classes”, where they are and how in the future you would like to ride.
Pick your role model rider and step in his or her mind and think how he or she would think and ride..                               
8. Put yourself into the practice ring, blocking everyone else out.                                                     
9. Visualise your self in your own bubble, in your own zone .. 
10. Do not care who is watching, who is judging, or what anyone else thinks.
Remember it is “only your business what you think” !!! Remind yourself this is YOUR sport.                                                 
11. Have a plan for the warm up and what suits your animal. Have it roughly timed how long it takes to warm up. This is where a lot of tension  can build up before one enters the ring if you are rushed and under pressure .                                          
12. Have a “solid plan” made before you enter the ring, know you lines exquisitely on your course walk.
Then STICK to the plan. So many mistake are made when the plan is broken.
13. Create a ring mantra that you repeat as you jump your round. This is something that is very important, helps you focus as you jump.                                                                 
14. Keep everything simple, don’t over think it. Be aware if you are all in your head, then allow yourself  to get into your body and “feel”, ( as you know riding is all about feel ).
 You animal responds to how you feel not how you think.         
15. No matter what the final result is praise what you did well. Don’t criticise yourself. Then make a plan on what  you can improve on.                              
16. Understand it is a wonderful journey you are on, it’s your passion, and when goals aren’t achieved, just set a new date.
     Be patient and enjoy!
Jim has been a inspiration to me producing my connemara ponies, riding and competitive career. He is a leader in his field.  He has a wonderful ability to understand and help riders of all levels. He has given me the skill set, motivation and belief to succeed. I would highly recommend anyone who wants to enjoy the sport they love to get in touch with Jim.                      
 To contact Jim today call +353 (0) 87 250 8587.
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