The Winning Formula?

Advice from the amazing Caroline Moore

If there was just one thing that makes the difference to a great horse and rider combination performing at the higher levels, and those that reach the very top of the sport, what would it be?”

The answer Caroline gave, was very simple:

Attention to Detail

 

I recently had the pleasure of sharing a room with not only the extraordinary coaching talent of the Centre 10 advanced coaches’ alumni at our biannual meet up, hosted by the fantastic Charlin Unwin and Steffi Dampy, but also the great privilege of meeting and hearing from the fantastic Coach and Mentor Caroline Moore.

As you can imagine there wasn’t much that Caroline shared with us that wasn’t inspiring, thought provoking or beneficial to me as a Coach and as a rider.

For those of you who don’t know, Caroline has produced and ridden horses up to 5* level, competing at Badminton, Burghley, Bramham and Blenheim as well as overseas. In 2010 Caroline moved fully into coaching as an Eventing Performance Coach and focusses on coaching riders and other coaches to improve their skills with the main aim to develop confidence and belief by building correct foundations.
Caroline coaches Ros Canter; I’m certain not a single Eventing fan will have missed the phenomenal season she has had but also the consistency of performance over the years as well as the horses that are happy and well, performing with ease in their jobs.

To me this is a sign of true horsemanship and coaching skill working with 2 athletes in unison to achieve their combined optimum performance.

I asked Caroline the question:

If there was just one thing that makes the difference to a great horse and rider combination performing at the higher levels, and those that reach the top of the sport, what would it be?”

The answer Caroline gave, was very simple:

Attention to Detail

I have sat with this answer for a couple of weeks now and first of all, reflected on what this means for me as a rider before I share it within my coaching practice. It is really important to me that I walk the walk as a Coach as well as talk the talk. As a mindset and performance coach it is surprisingly easy to overlook my own training discipline and strategies!

I love the simplicity of this answer as it gives so much insight and so much direction whilst keeping a very open way of thinking. It is not specific to a discipline, or even to riding or just our time in the saddle.

To really succeed, 'attention to detail' applies to everything we do as equestrians, as horse owners, as athletes and as humans.

I used this ‘attention to detail’ philosophy at a recent competition of my own. My focus was on attention to detail. With the aim of gaining feedback on my current performance to inform my training over the winter. I wanted to know:
Where can I give greater focus and attention to give me a competitive advantage moving into the 2024 season?
Where are my blind spots and what are my strengths?

The more thought I gave it the more I realised I could slow down and take more time to really get the details right. These areas included my attention to detail walking the course, the techniques I used to learn it, choosing my lines, planning my speed, my own areas of focus for myself as a rider (balance / body position/ line of sight), my on the day competition plan, the training plan on the lead up, my hydration levels, my mindset and focus. And that’s all in addition to the care and training needs of my beautiful horse Rafa.

(This roll top is at the bottom of a steep slope coming off a left hand turn and after landing, we have 3 strides to a left hand drop / step into the woods.  I really prepared for this as Rafa can bowl on and then turning and adjustability goes out of the window.  on the day this fence rode great!  Attention to detail in my preparation meant I rode it just as I had planned.)

 

 

My post competition review has left me buzzing for next year and given me so much more access to tools and resources that are already available to me – because they are all things within my control!

That’s the beauty of this advice.

Of course, I had support from a couple of fantastic experts and professionals who helped me unpick and unpack my current performance and put it back together in a way that served me. A great coach will guide your training and your skill development, they will support your mindset development alongside your physical performance. You may need different people that bring expertise across a number of areas – build your team.

BUT, ultimately you are always in control of your own ability to pay attention to detail. Through paying attention to detail you will make more consistent progress and even accelerate your performance gains, it will highlight where you are missing the details in some areas and maybe even some that you are focusing on incorrectly.

I know my beautiful horse Rafa is an eminently better and more capable athlete than me. So, at our current level and stage I am the main limiting factor to our success. My aim is to change that so that I am showing up, but also setting myself up to reach my potential as a rider, on competition days and every day.

So I’ll leave these questions here for you to consider:
Where do you currently place your attention? Where are your blind spots? How can you become a better athlete for your horse with some simple areas of focus?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you Caroline for such an inspiring talk.

 

P.S. We also had a significant focus on neurodiversity and neurodivergence in sport and explored this from a coaching perspective in the equestrian world..... more to follow!

 

log pile from a ditch on an angle - great for practicing lines and having the right canter!
Just to remind myself that the roll top looks small on video but was actually quite big! I will appreciate this reminder for next year that in fact it felt easy :)
Rafa loves to watch the action around him