Amateur Showcase: McGuire's Turned Her Challenges In The Show Ring Into A Career

Jul 3, 2019 - 9:14 AM

At just 23 years old, Erin McGuire has created a booming business with one particular goal in mind: helping other equestrians. What started as a quest to better her own mental skills and habits soon turned into a hunger for knowledge and a passion that paved the way for her career.

As a junior competitor, McGuire suffered from severe show nerves. Like many of us, she admitted that she wasn’t always “mentally tough,” letting her insecurities and lack of confidence get the best of her in the ring.

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As a junior (pictured here with her children’s hunter Remarqueable), Erin McGuire suffered from nerves in the show ring. Anne Gittins Photography Photo

McGuire got her toes wet in the horse show world in Wellington, Florida, and started training with the team at Finally Farm in 2011. She purchased her junior hunter Casallo during her time there.

“He was my unicorn,” she said. “We competed all across the country and found some success together. Unfortunately, my mental game was weak, and by the time I was really figuring things out, my junior years were coming to a close. He was an incredible horse, but I would get in my own way. I would get 90s on the local circuit, and the moment I would go to a big horse show, I would crumble. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it, I just didn’t believe I could do it. I had a lot of confidence issues.”

Seeking a way to handle the pressure in a more manageable way, and at the suggestion of her trainers, McGuire began reading books on the topic and researching tactics that would help her improve her nerves and develop more productive coping mechanisms.

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Erin McGuire’s made a career out of sports psychology. Courtney Goldstein Photo

“Hardin [Towell] had been reading this book called ‘Mind Gym’ by Gary Mack, and I remember one spring, Liza [Boyd] sat me down and told me I had to read it. I love to read, so it was a perfect way to get me thinking about things. It changed my life,” she said. “Between that book and conversations with Liza, a passion without direction was sparked. I had the idea when I was 15, and I was kind of like, ‘OK, now what?’ I went and got my undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and my master’s degree in sport psychology.”

During the summer of 2017, McGuire was sidelined from competition due to shoulder surgery. It would be a year before she started Remarqueable Athletic Solutions, but it was during that time that the concept came to her.

“The name ‘Remarqueable’ came from my children’s hunter,” McGuire said. “He is no longer with us, but he taught me a lot about hard work and resilience. I am both honored and humbled to be able to pay his lessons forward by using his name as a play on words for my business.”

A year into the operation and McGuire is thriving and boasting an impressive clientele. “I currently have 50 individual clients, not including clinics, seminars and even group sessions that I do,” she said. “Most of them are equestrians, and they range in age from 12 to their 60s. I’ve had the privilege of working with young pony kids and riders that are at the top level of national competition. It’s only been a short period of time, but it’s exciting to see how it’s all shaping up.”

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Physical fitness is as important as mental fitness for Erin McGuire. Reisha Weidner Photo

She’s based in Cornelius, North Carolina, but all of McGuire’s services are done via phone and FaceTime, allowing her to reach and coach equestrians across the country.

“My signature service is a mental skills boot camp, and it’s basically mind work 101,” she said. “I recommend it for anyone and everyone who hasn’t had any sort of mental skills training. Over the course of six sessions—preferably one session a week, which gives enough time to think about it but not enough time to forget anything—we unpack terminology of mental skills coaching. We start with awareness: What are you thinking about? How are you thinking about it? Do you realize you’re thinking about it? Do you know that you get nervous when you go in the ring? Or maybe it’s the schooling area, or even back at the barn.”

From there, McGuire switches to education, figuring out how to manipulate a client’s thought space using things like visualization, self-talk and breathing exercises.

“After that, we take a step back, and I spend a full week working on confidence, and then a full week on mental toughness and resilience,” she said. “Confidence is my absolute favorite topic. It was something that I always really struggled with, and that was also the topic of my master’s degree thesis. A question I get all of the time after we go through all of this work is, ‘Well now what?’ Well, the program is like an oil change. Now you have all of the right tools, it’s time to go implement them.”

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Erin McGuire spends time in the jumper ring with Kasarr. A&S Photography Photo

McGuire has some ambitious goals to keep the business growing. “Right now I’m a little over a year in, and the main focus has been sport psychology,” she said. “The reason why I did that was because that was my degree, that’s what was taking up most of my time, and what required the most perfecting. Now that that element is going strong and is in a great place, I’m excited to begin incorporating my other passions: health and fitness. I’m currently working on acquiring the certifications but am also working on the business model to offer virtual fitness and nutritional coaching services.”

McGuire’s career choice has been therapeutic for her own riding. She’s currently competing in the low amateur-owner jumpers and in some grand prix classes with Kasarr, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Gratianus—Liberus H). “Sometimes I have to ask myself, ‘What would I say to a client to find a way through this?’ ” she said. “Working with them definitely helps make my own situations better, and it’s important that I practice what I preach.”

Do you know an amateur with a cool story? Email Lindsay at lberreth@coth.com for a chance to be featured in our Amateur Showcase series!

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