Perfect Mind: Perfect Ride - An Equestrian Book Review

We asked two Haynet members to take a look at the book and give us their thoughts.
Perfect Mind
'“Perfect Mind: Perfect Ride” is a book about Sport Psychology for Successful Riding by Dr Inga Wolframm.  It’s a well written, and entertaining guide to sports psychology in the field of competitive horse-riding.

There is a phenomenal amount of research in this book – the author has scoured sources of scientific literature as well as lay articles and quotes from the most successful riders to flavour the book.  Inspirational quotes come from all aspects of competition riding; they’re varied and flavourful and you’re almost guaranteed to come across an inspiring quote from one of your own riding heroes.  It’s difficult to illustrate psychology, but some photographs or further imagery may have given some more light-relief from some of the more challenging concepts that require afterthought and reflection.

I did find Part I ‘Attitudes That Keep You Going’ a little repetitive, and slightly too long.  The anecdotal stories are interesting, but after a while they become predictable, and the underlying sense of ‘easy to say with hindsight’  boils to the surface.  If as a rider you’ve decided to spend ~£16.95 on a book on psychology to improve your riding, let’s assume that have the right attitude to keep going!

Nevertheless, Chapter II ‘Mental Skills to Train Your Mind’ was extremely interesting.  The examples in this chapter focus on the competition rider – but I think that’s sensible.  While all riders, at all stages, will find aspects of their riding improve if they follow Dr Wolframm’s advice, you don’t need to have the ‘perfect mind’ to enjoy horse-riding in its purest leisure forms.  But if you perform at Advanced-Medium level at home, yet have an inability to find the correct canter lead in the ring, or you inexplicably knock-down the last fence in every jump-off  - this section is for you (to the relief of your horse!).  Dr Wolframm provides both simple theory and applied technique to allow you to set riding goals, minimise stress, focus, and learn about the principles of ‘self-talk’ and ‘visualisation’.  Chapter III ‘Preparing for Competition’, is a positively written, motivational summary, which will encourage you to go out there and give things a go!

If you’ve established that a barrier to your competitive success might indeed be in your own head, then I think you will enjoy this book.  Enjoying this book will probably lead to you enjoying riding more.  You’ll probably find yourself reflecting on certain aspects throughout the day, even when you’re not riding.  The beauty of becoming more mindful and learning psychological techniques for self-improvement is the realisation that you can apply your new skills to all walks (and trots) of life.'
by Dr Claire E Wylie

'"Perfect Mind: Perfect Ride" encourages riders to prepare for successful riding. It is an accessible read which offers guidance on how to create a personal blueprint for development. Inga helps riders identify what success looks and feels like as well as showing that there will be challenges to meet and stresses to cope with.

The core message for me was to look at the things we can prepare for and control as riders. Inga's description and insights into finding focus or riding in flow were helpful and the training towards this state reminded me what I love about horse time in and out of the saddle.

I found the sections on visualisation leading on to preparation strategies and the exercises to reflect on performance and development an inspiration.'
By Alison Kenward

                                                             The original article published on Haynet can be read here