10 Affirmations to Tell Yourself in the Cross-Country Startbox

Horse leaving the startboxIf you’re a 3-day eventer then you’ll agree —> Before cross-country you need to psyche yourself up, not psyche yourself out! To improve your mental game, many sport psychologists suggest using positive affirmations and self-talk. An affirmation is simply a true statement that you can repeat to yourself to focus your mind, capitalize on your strengths, and cut stress.

Want to give affirmations a try? Do some research, then choose statements that are true to you and align with your values. It’s not about trying to get rid of negative thoughts, it’s about focusing your mental energy on positive truths so you can perform your best. Regularly practice saying your affirmations as you prepare for competition. Then, when the startbox official begins your 10 second countdown on XC day, repeat your affirmations in time with the count. Here are some examples:

…10Horse jumping a log
I’m ready for this.

I know the course.

I know what to do.

I do this because I love this.

I believe in my horse.

…5Cross country jumping horse
I believe in myself.

I’m prepared for what lies ahead.

I have courage.


I’m grateful I get to do this.

Cross country horse jumping water

Do you use affirmations in your riding? Please share your ideas in the comments below!


  • peggy

    I use the mantra “relax and breathe” during my dressage riding. A trainer taught me this years ago because I get too tight

  • Linda DuPertuis

    You mean other than “I’m going to DIE!”? And that when faced with a series of trot poles laying flat on the ground.

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