What I’m Listening To Fuel My Riding Confidence

Photo © Carly Nasznic


Like many adult amateur riders who either returned to riding after a long absence or starting riding in middle age or later, my confidence in the saddle needed some attention. I decided to use my winter downtime to work on my mental game and signed up for Tonya Johnston’s “Mindset Boost,” an 8-week blend of virtual group coaching and mental skills instruction.

One of the strategies suggested by Tonya and used successfully by members of our group was to build a pre-ride playlist of songs to help you create the energy you want when you’re in the saddle. For my playlist, I wanted to channel confidence. Music and mood are inherently linked. There is plenty of research on the neuroscience of the therapeutic and mood boosting benefits of music.

I decided to start listening to our local non-commercial Christian radio station on my way to the barn. As someone whose formative musical years were spent trudging into New York City to catch punk bands at CBGBs, this was a departure from my usual listening fare. I was determined to explore if the upbeat messaging in contemporary Christian music (CCM) was applicable to my gaining a positive riding mindset. It’s my feeling that you don’t need to identify as Christian to benefit from the overarching message. 

These songs refer to a Christian God, but I believe anyone who believes in a higher power could benefit from their inspiring messages. I found that listening to these songs set my mind, energy and intention in a place of positivity and self-assuredness. Here are a few songs that I’ll be adding to my pre-ride playlist:

Overcomer by Mandisa

Mandisa’s song reminds me that I succeed every time I strengthen my resolve when I’m feeling discouraged about my riding or my performance.

Stand In Your Love by Bethel Music and Josh Baldwin

Our minds aren’t comfortable holding two conflicting beliefs. When I’m operating from a place of love, there’s no room to operate from a place of fear.

Truth Be Told by Matthew West

In the curated world of social media, the landscape is one of blue ribbons and clean breeches. This song serves as a reminder that by allowing others to see my truth like how more often than not, I’m placing somewhere in the middle and have horse snot on my show jacket—encourages us all to share the struggle and create an inclusive environment.

Fear is a Liar by Zach Williams

Amen! Fear is a deceiver, falsifier, fabricator and teller of lies and untruths. Fear loves to lie about physical risk. It tries to convince me that I don’t have enough training or experience, in direct contradiction to what my trainer and I know to be true. Fear also loves to exaggerate the psychological risk, telling me that I’m too old, not good enough, going to embarrass myself, etc…  It’s all balderdash.

The Comeback by Danny Gokey

This song is pure inspiration after any sort of setback.  

Warrior by Hannah Kerr

Riding is hard. It’s difficult in a myriad of ways that I don’t need to dwell on. We are all warriors for our horses and our passion.

Song lyrics are copyrighted, so I’m unable to pull out the quotes that speak personally to me, but it’s my hope that you might listen to a few of these songs and find one or two to inspire your confidence.  

Gail Rezendes-Dell is a successful amateur hunter rider, competing in local and rated shows in the Mid-Atlantic region with her Oldenberg, The Best Man. She lives in McLean, Virginia.