Let’s face it. By the time you’ve signed up and paid your entry fee – it’s all pretty plain sailing. Until about 3 days beforehand, when you’re hanging out on the loo and trying to find decent things to entertain you during the pre event nervous bowel movement happen.
Or you get all smartened up, and then just as you’re about to jump on – the wave hits you and you’re wishing you could compete in dark jodhpurs, just in case!
Oh I hear ya, I have been there. Competitions are nerve wracking!
My tips are pretty simple, when you’re living your normal life, but as soon as that competition date comes up. They go straight out of the window. Or at least, that is my personal experience…
Talk it through.
Talk all the things that could go wrong, could go right and you the ones that you simply have no control over.
Allowing your fears to leave your mind and hear them in the cold light of day can help you to see them rationally.
Like the fear that the horse in front of you might stop and then you’ll end up on the floor and what if the paramedic is beautiful and you didn’t wear your smartest pants. Sadly, that’s probably less likely to happen at a show when you’re running next to your horse the entire time!
Lean into your feelings
OK… this is a little bit backwards to what you might think – but allowing yourself to know that you’re natural for these feelings.
Imagine if you didn’t have them, you simply just wouldn’t care about your own progress, how far you could go with your horse, and how you might be able to see yourself afterwards.
Let’s be honest, a few feelings is OK for the chance of being able to go bigger next time!
Write out your test
If you’re doing a dressage test, an exam, or simply going around the arena in a musical ride – draw out the movements. Allow your eyes to visualise them so that you can see what’s coming next and how you can make the movement happen.
If you’re showjumping, think about how you get to the jump. Weight in your bum, eyes up, leg on, you know the drill – but sometimes the nerves and adrenaline say you don’t!
Write it out!
Despite your nerves, you didn’t over phase yourself and you can actually do this. You know that deep down, but it would be easier to just sit on the sidelines and watch others ride for you – ride your horse even. But that’s not going to make for the fun story when you’re back at home with your friends talking about your mega weekend.
You love your horse enough to trust that they will be on your side with the whole ordeal.
Put it into perspective
If you simply are not going to do well at all, and you know that; change the day to being an expensive and glamorous training day. Allow yourself to relax into the day and ride it like you would get live feedback as you go.
Who knows, you might even ride it better and win.
Pack your car/truck the night before
This helps you to know what you might have forgotten. Like heading out to the shops for the final bits of hairspray and other assorted goods… we all know that Bourbons help to produce excellent dressage tests!!!
If you are looking for a checklist to help you remember things: my Eventing Checklist can be found on the ‘resources’ page!
Do you have any tips you could add to this – or deem to be higher in priority?