When looking up resilience in the dictionary, the following explanation comes up: “The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness”. Listening to many successful riders lately, I have noticed they all seem to have resilience traits in common. Want to find out what these traits are, and whether you are in the same category? Here are 7 signs that you’re a resilient rider:

1. You aim to improve rather than prove yourself.

The number one thing that resilient riders have in common is that they are obsessed with improvement. They constantly think about how they can still improve. Whether they aim to improve themselves, their horses or their overall management, they are not bothered about proving themselves. Instead, they are constantly looking for ways to get better. One way you can do this is to watch other (more experienced riders) in the warm up. Watch how they school their horses and how they prepare. You can also ask other riders how they would approach the problem you are facing or how they would ride your horse.

2. You plan ahead.

Not long ago I interviewed Irish show jumper Cian O’ Conner about how he plans ahead and works towards his goals. Cian explains they set long-term goals and this gives him and his team the advantage to better prepare for important shows and championships. Rather than going to every possible show, they have a clear plan ahead of time and know what they are working towards. You too can set long-term goals. Make sure they excite you when you think about them. Then, work backwards in your planning to what shows you need to ride to achieve your goals.

3. You stay flexible in your approach.

Though you have clear objectives and you plan ahead, anyone who works with horses knows things don’t always work out as anticipated. So resilient riders have learned to have a clear plan but to also stay flexible in their approach. They know what is ultimately most important for them, but if circumstances ask for it, they can change their strategy along the way.

4. You accept the process.

As a resilient rider, you know that success takes time. You have big dreams but also know that every step matters. You can’t take a short cut or rush to success. So you work on small steps of improvement every day. You accept and focus on the process to get big results over time.

5. You see failure as feedback.

Another common trait of resilient riders is that they don’t take mistakes personally. They too get upset when they make a mistake – they are only human, after all – but they quickly learn from the mistake and then let it go. Ever found yourself re-watching that “bad” round on video over and over again? From now on, just watch it once, figure out what you want to do differently next time and make a plan for how to get there. Then let it go and delete the video.

6. You let go of negativity.

Resilient riders know that being negative ruins their game, motivation and determination. Being negative takes up a lot of energy and, rather than wasting their energy, resilient riders have trained themselves to stay positive regardless of the results. Sure they have their moments, but they regularly remind themselves of all the things they have already achieved and all the things that are going well.

7. You always get back up.

Resilience isn’t about not facing any difficulties nor about riders who have only known success. Resilience is about becoming stronger every time you face hardship or go through a tough moment. It’s about getting yourself together again and bouncing back even stronger. It’s about falling of a thousand times, and getting back on again!

Annette Paterakis – The Equestrian Mental Coach – specializes in mental coaching equestrian riders. She is passionate about working with riders and trainers to help them better understand the mind and create the right conditions to reach peak performance. Annette is the author of the book “Keep Calm and Enjoy The Ride”, available through Amazon.com.

For more information about Annette Paterakis, please visit her website: annettepaterakis.com.