As a competitor and riding coach, this has become my motto over the years: “Over-prepare… then go with the flow.”
As a judge, I am giving and grading your next horse show “exam”. As a coach, I help you study for it! So here are my last three tips to prepare for your next competition:
- Analyse, watch, feel and study my horse. Reflect on the details of my riding. Am I communicating my aids clearly? How’s my timing? We’re always training, never neutral.
- Learn from the last show. Though it may make me wince to re-live it, every mistake is a learning opportunity! On the other hand, what ingredients contributed to the successful moments – how can I reproduce those?
- Take a break. Pushing ourselves causes stress. Stress can be a good thing -adrenaline levels rise to the challenge. A regular amount of stress stretches and pushes us out of our comfort bubbles. It’s the adventure of life – as long as it’s balanced by rest. Living in a constant state of alarm increases cortisol levels. The result? Rider burnout.
If you’re not enjoying your hobby, it’s not a hobby. It’s a job. And for those of us for whom it is a job, let’s enjoy the process – not just the result!