Enhancing the mental game

For equestrians trying to justify those monthly horse expenses to their horse show dads (or moms), there’s good news. Horses are helping golfers improve their performance and consistency on the golf course.

Avid, albeit, self-confessed mediocre golfer Bob Carney of Golf Digest was ready to give [even] horses his best shot if they could improve his lack-luster golf game. Could horses be the golfer’s unicorn?

Carney mentally prepared for his day – putt, meet a horse and putt again.

Carney wasn’t on the adventure alone – he was part of the herd. He was working with Sports Psychologist Debbie Crews, Ph.D., who has spent more than 25-years researching golf. She consults for Arizona State University’s Golf Teams and founded an Arizona-based equine therapy program.

Carney’s day didn’t involve horseback riding rather it was a time to build a bond some may never experience. It began with his selection of the Percheron mare Nellie. Their connection begins to slowly emerge.

Horsemanship trainer Buck Brannaman explains it best in his documentary, Buck. “The horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you might not like what you see. Sometimes you will.”

Horses are prey animals, for that reason, they are always engaged. They offer instant feedback that is accurate and mirrors your behavior.

“I finish by canning three 10-footers. Probably the best I’ve ever putted in my life,” Carney says after his post-horse therapy putting session.

Find out more about Carney’s experience and the other golfers benefiting from equine therapy to strengthen their mental game at “Courses with Horses”.