DR. JANET SASSON EDGETTESport Psychology for Riders
AS A SPORT PSYCHOLOGIST
- Pioneered the application of modern performance enhancement principles to the equestrian industry.
- Wrote the ground-breaking book entitled Heads Up!: Practical Sports Psychology for Riders, Their Families, and Their Trainers, which advanced the field past the limiting traditions of relaxation and imagery work.
- Also wrote The Rider’s Edge: Overcoming the Psychological Challenges of Riding — a collection of essays about the broader experience of owning, riding, training, showing and loving horses.
- Served as sport psychology consultant for Practical Horseman magazine for eight years, and wrote a monthly column on sport psychology.
- Consults individually to recreational, junior, amateur, and professional riders as well as to trainers, instructors, and other equestrian industry professionals.
- Offers sport psychology seminars, keynote lectures, and informal Q&A sessions to barns, national organizations and other equestrian governing bodies.
JANET’S RIDING HISTORY
Trained with Champions
Janet continues to ride and train, currently with Diane Little at Diane Little Stables in West Chester, PA.
My Approach is Different for Riders…
Sport psychology is a lot more than just relaxation exercises, visualization, and positive thinking. Unfortunately, that’s all most people ever hear about, so when those strategies don’t work they feel stuck, with nowhere else to go.
My sport psychology approach differs from conventional sport psychology models, and has proved to be much more effective in helping riders manage the performance anxiety they experience at shows, clinics, or when riding other people’s horses. Instead of investing a lot of energy in trying to get rid of thoughts or feelings you don’t like, you learn how to ride well in spite of them. That way you’re not always looking over your shoulder to see if your nerves are catching up with you, and you don’t have to pretend to think or feel a certain way that you may not be thinking or feeling.
By taking the “fight” out of anxiety management or your real fears of getting injured, and remaining very authentic and true to your real experience, you will be disempowering the anxiety you feel and empowering your own self.
From there, it’s easy to figure out how to compensate for the ways in which anxiety affects your riding. So, for example, if show nerves turn you into a passive, “second-guess-every-decision” kind of rider, then our job together will be discovering the best ways for you to quickly access and mobilize your more assertive, confident side. If show nerves turn your legs into a vice grip and your hands into steel, then our job becomes one of figuring out the thoughts or images that bring flexibility and softness into your body. These are things you can control. Making yourself “relax”—not so much.
Besides, who do you know who’s really relaxed at horse shows? The only ones I’ve ever known were the ones who got there by “accident”—they either were thrown into the ring on a strange horse at the last second or were riding under other unforeseen circumstances that made their expectations (and everyone else’s), well, soft. For the rest of us, once the outcome matters, everything changes, including and especially our anxiety levels. That’s just human nature.
Janet’s Practice in Child, Adolescent, and Family Therapy
Magazine Articles & Interviews
Finally back at it!
My journey back to the show ring after too many years away started with a beautiful young mare, Fashionista MFH, aka Viva (thank you to Jenny Brown for this lease)! And then, finally, I was back in the jumper ring, having a great time with Rhyme or Reason, aka Roz...
Three Top Tips for Beating Competition Nerves
You’re totally fine at home, schooling like a pro or jumping 1.10m with ease, but as soon as you see the white boards of a dressage arena or think of the bell ringing for the start of your jumping round at a show, you go cold. Get some tips in my article published by...
Why I Don’t Teach Relaxation
For way too long, sport psychology has been associated with getting athletes to relax. But who really “relaxes" when they’re competing? The goal, really, is to reduce the influence or impact that your nerves have on your performance, not to try to control them. Read...
Practical Sports Psychology for Riders, Their Families, and Their Trainers
The Rider's Edge
Overcoming the Psychological Challenges of Riding
Don't Wait Any Longer. Start Forging Your Own Path Today!
Dr. Janet Sasson Edgette
412 Newcomen Road
Exton, PA 19341
Phone: 610 | 363 | 1144