Mental Skills for the Unique Requirements of the Horse/Rider Dyad in Equestrian

Amelia Stuckey (2010). Mental Skills for the Unique Requirements of the Horse/Rider Dyad in Equestrian Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Amelia Stuckey
Thesis Title Mental Skills for the Unique Requirements of the Horse/Rider Dyad in Equestrian
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Total pages 68
Abstract/Summary Equestrian participants present a unique challenge to the sport psychology practitioner. Equestrian success depends on human preparation, equine ability and temperament, and the complex interaction between the two athletes and species. Previous equestrian mental skills research has largely ignored the involvement of the horse. Although sport psychologists assume riders are responsible for understanding their horses, equine wastage statistics suggest poor training is compromising the moral sustainability of equestrian sports. This study aimed to create a mental skills training program that better addresses the needs of the horse/rider team. More specifically, this intervention aimed to increase riders' self-efficacy. An intervention addressing goal-setting, self-talk, and learning theory principles, and their relevance to equestrian, was conducted over 4 weeks. It was hypothesised that the intervention group would show a greater improvement in self-efficacy than the waitlist control group, over the 4-week period. Results were in the expected direction, however not statistically significant. Qualitative analyses suggest that the content of the intervention has potential for helping equestrian athletes, however improvements to the methodology and organisation of the workshops are necessary. Future research, using the lessons learnt in this study, could have important implications for equestrian sport. By sharing their knowledge with equestrian coaches, sport psychologists can help contribute to better welfare outcomes for horses, and safer, more enjoyable equestrian experiences for riders.

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Created: Mon, 04 Apr 2011, 14:42:14 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology