In an athletic competition is it the competitor with the most athleticism who wins? Nope In equestrian sports is it the horse with best athletic ability, breeding and temperament who wins? Not particularly. Is it the rider with the most experience, the best equestrian tack and the best horse riding helmet who wins? Nope.
The winner is, what was formally believed to be an intangibles of the rider, his or her mood. More specifically, the rider’s mood state or emotional composure prior to the competition. An article in the Journal of Applied Sports Psychology found that the most critical factor in equestrian sports competitions is the rider’s emotional composure or mood. The study took 13 advanced and 13 novice riders and measured their various moods prior to competition using a POMS questionnaire, Profile of Mood States Questionnaire. Analysis called multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was then performed. The results were that the levels of confusion between the novice and advanced riders were significant. The advanced riders also had better processing efficacy and task-specific concentration as compared to the novices.