Category Archives: Showjumping

Competition nerves and Winning Against Worrying

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I think this photo sums it up. I was at the AIRC festival with friends on an absolute diamond of a horse who never let me down. I loved it I really did but the photo shows the effect the stress and nerves were having on me – pale, tired and hungry. 

My anxiety around competition was never really just about competition. It was a fear of the unknown, of lack of control, of new things.  It started when I was a small child and if I was anxious about something I would feel sick and nervous. Things like exams, trying new things, bus trips. Over time it got worse and I was anxious before things I was actually looking forward to. The anxiety in turn caused illness as I have a sensitive stomach anyway so it got to the point that I was anxious of being anxious. I missed a lot of things because of it – sleep overs, the first day of pony camp, scouting trips. I was afraid to look forward to anything. My poor mother was tormented by it and had the patience of a saint at times especially when it came to high stress events such as the leaving cert (which I did on three Valium and about seven packs of polo mints a day). I managed miraculously to compete on horses as a teenager and adult. It was hard going – I used to meditate on the way over to try and calm myself down (yeah I was the odd ball), couldn’t eat and would be white as a sheet before a competition and exhausted afterwards.

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People You Will Meet When Using an Arena

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When you are riding by yourself with other people in the arena….

These are the other riders you can often meet…..

The Magnet

It doesn’t matter how big the arena is or how much you try to ride exercises and movements in your own space – the magnet will gravitate towards you and stick to you for the entire time making it impossible to practice anything except escape. If you try to hide, they will find you. Magnets are usually completely oblivious to the fact that they are essentially following you around the arena as they have no concept of herd instinct or of asking their horse to ride independently.

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Hail To The Bystander

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Hail to the bystanders

Always waiting to say

You shouldn’t be riding

Your horse in that way

 

Always ready with advice

When you fall to the ground

Although their only riding experience

Is reading horse and hound

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Psychological Reality of a Showjumping Lesson

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Oh no, poles, not the poles!

 

Relax for god’s sake, they are poles what’s the worst that can happen?

 

Kill me now, I can’t even get over  pole with a bit of grace and elegance.

 

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