How to Prepare your Show Jumping Animal with Controlled Focus

How to Prepare your Animal with Controlled Focus

By Jim Hickey | General

Confident, Consistent, Clears

Join International sports psychologist for show jumpers Jim Hickey on a journey to exceed your expectations in the ring.

Sep 23

Hi guys, peak performance coach for show jumpers Jim Hickey here. Today’s tip is to do with two words 'controlled focus'.


Video Transcript

Controlled focus is very important for show jumpers as many don’t understand what it truly means.We all understand the word 'focus' and know it is important, but there is a huge difference between being focused and having controlled focus.

The 3 things I want to discuss today are:

  • Knowing when you do not have focus for your animal.
  • Knowing what focus truly is and feels like
  • Maintaining your focus

1. Knowing when you are NOT focused on your animal

An example of a time when your do not have controlled focus is:You have a show next week. You’re doing your training and going through the motions and you do have the event in your mind. However, you are not considering every detail with your animal in mind

An example of a time when your do not have controlled focus is:You have a show next week. You’re doing your training and going through the motions and you do have the event in your mind. However, you are not considering every detail with your animal in mind

  • What class
  • What height
  • You’re not 100% sure about the show – where it is, what time?
  • Is your equipment prepared and ready
  • What exercises do you need to do
  • Is your horse completely relaxed and happy

The reason for this is an average person has around 60,000 thoughts whizzing around their heads every day.

However, these 60,000 thoughts are usually the same thoughts.

This is because we do not have controlled focus.

This is the difference between attempting focus and having controlled focus.

2. Gain Controlled Focus with regards your Animal

Controlled focus is about being 100% clear on what your animal needs to perform at its best.

  • You must be 100% clear on what your animal needs to be prepared
  • You must know and understand every animal is different
  • You must work your plan backwards and know step by step what your animal needs to be fully prepared for a show.

"Controlled focus is when riding you know, moment to moment what you want from your pony or horse"

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3. Maintaining Your Focus

When it comes to maintaining focus I’ve got good news and bad.

The bad news is, is that maintaining your focus on what we want in life is one of the hardest things we can do. However, once you embrace the realisation that staying focused is difficult - you can enjoy it and learn to master it.

  • When you continue to stay focused you will achieve the results
  • When you continue to stay focused you will achieve the results
  • When you continue to stay focused you will achieve the results

In Conclusion

Know the difference between when you are truly focused and when you are pretending.

Know what controlled focused feels like. Be clear on what you need to do to prepare your animal for when that bell rings.

Maintain the focus, always.

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About the Author

Jim Hickey is an author, business mentor and international peak performance for show jumpers.