Four Valuable Lessons from Geoff Teall to Improve Your Riding Before You Even Get on the Horse

Article shared from The Plaid Horse.

Geoff Teall’s 263-page book, “Geoff Teall on Riding Hunters, Jumper and Equitation” is chock-full of valuable exercises and riding strategies aimed at helping riders put the pieces together for that perfect, polished round – no matter whether the fences in that round are 2 feet high or 1.50 meters. 

Image from the Plaid Horse.

Outside of the in-the-saddle exercises though, there’s equal worth to be found in Teall’s insight into why we ride, our motivators and his philosophy. 

Here’s a look at four valuable excerpts and lessons to be learned from Teall that may help to improve your riding before you even swing your leg back over your horse. 

Practice discipline. 

“Discipline gets you what you want. Everybody wants success. Discipline makes that possible. The more disciplined you are, the more progress you will make. 

“In other words, if you have an opportunity to work with somebody, you need to be disciplined enough to be sure that you, above all else, show up on time (preferably early). Arrive organized, ready to go, well turned-out and interested enough to pay 100 percent attention to whoever is trying to help you. 

“If you don’t discipline yourself, you won’t make steady improvement. You will get sloppy and lazy.” 

Work with what you have. 

“Physical attributes can help your riding, but they are not necessary…Even if you are not the ‘ideal’ body type, take heart. In my experience, good equitation is never impossible. 

“A good rider needs a good brain. He needs to be relaxed, interested, determined, disciplined and strong. In many ways, these attributes take precedence over a rider’s physical characteristics. 

“The more your age, weight, coordination or conformation hinders your progress, the more you have to rely on a solid foundation. The most basic part of your foundation of course is solid position. 

Focus on more than your results. 

“When setting goals for your riding, beware of focusing only on results. I have seen many riders concentrate so intensely on their ultimate goals that they completely destroy their chances of achieving them. 

“The best argument I have against concentrating only on results is simple: it doesn’t work. With too many riders, a single unforeseen setback can so derail their “Master Plan” that they never recover their momentum…

Confidence is key. 

“The single most valuable aspect of a winner’s attitude is confidence. 

“The more I pay attention to competitors at all levels, the more I see that the people who win the most are the people who assume they are going to win. That assumption forms a quiet, capable core of their riding. 

“If you are not a confident rider, your horse will be the first to know. Confidence may be even more important in riding than in other sports, because you may instantly transmit your confidence (or lack of it) to the other of half of the team – your horse…

“You must first develop a solid base of physical skills. Then, you have to train your mind to manage those skills. 


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