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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20 Things I Learned From Starting Eventing Ireland

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Photo purchased from Annaharvey Photos

  1. Always watch the 1 and 2* riders XC. No one gets it right every time but their ability to handle what comes up is what counts and gets them around. There was me having an asthma attack in case I got the wrong stride at a log when I saw someone get no stride at a massive combination, sit up, ride it with one stirrup and school a horse through clear – lesson learned!

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Product Review – Horseware Riding Tights from Horseworldeu.com

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after cross country schooling in the Horseware riding tights

I was recently chosen to be part of a group of bloggers asked to review products by Horseworld (horseworldeu.com). As part of the group I was asked to choose products from the website to use and review. We were given a huge range of choices but I wanted to make sure I reviewed something that was new or of general interest so I asked a few equestrian friends for their advice. The general consensus was that riding tights / riding leggings are a product that has really exploded on to the market in the last year and one that people were curious about in terms of fit and use.

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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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If Horses could text us – travelling in the horsebox

I’ve been having great fun with the TextingStory app – here is a video I made earlier based on what I reckon it would be like if Sammy could text me en route 🙂

 

13 Ways To Annoy Your Riding Instructor

1.Being Stirrupy Mcstirrups

Checking your stirrups before you ride, changing them after warm up, changing them before you jump – this is all grand and expected. Turning in in a group lesson sixteen bajillion times to change them though – no, just no.

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Making A Show Of Yourself Part 3 – Class Format

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Format of a ridden flat class

All riders enter on right rein in walk. Steward will instruct to trot on and canter on in a group. Steward will ask to come back to trot and change the rein. Steward will ask for canter on other rein and steward will invite to extend canter / gallop down long side.

Return to walk and steward will call horses in to stand in line.

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Making a Show of Yourself Part 2 – Tack & Turnout

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Riding Horse Turnout permits a coloured browband for horses. 

Rider Turnout

Aim to look professional, tidy and workmanlike.

Footwear – Adults long leather boots. (leather short boots and gaiters may be permitted, check rules of class). Adults cannot show in short boots only. Children under 12, short boots with jod clips. Children over 12, as per adults. Have your groom wipe your boots before you go in!

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Making A Show Of Yourself – Part 1 – Types of ridden showing classes

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Working Hunter

This series is based on a guide I drew up a few years ago ahead of a clinic I delivered to novice adults and children. There are a wealth of showing experts out there and I will not pretend to know as much nor more than any of them. This guide is not intended for experts, it is intended to give showing novices (and parents!) some sound and basic advice on how to understand what ridden showing is, what the different ridden classes are and what their horses and ponies might be eligible for. I have been showing as an amateur for years and really enjoy it but will admit when I first started, especially when showing Connemaras, I didn’t really know what was right or expected so I needed and sought expert advice. Given how often I hear people asking what is allowed, what type their horse is and how to get started at showing, I believe this document might provide some help to anyone looking to go showing for the first time. I have also tried to include tips and tricks I learned along the way. This chapter looks at the different types of classes and horses. The next chapters to follow will cover class formats, turnout and a guide for grooms.

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Things you should know before having dressage lessons

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Competing at dressage

  1. Get used to being on a circle. You won’t be moving sideways at the greatest of ease any time soon. The circle is your friend, embrace the circle. Don’t go large around the arena – this does not go down well. If you have enough grasp of spatial relations to be able to ride a circle that is circle shaped (unlike me) this is a bonus.

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