Every rider would like to be a confident rider. But what happens when that confidence does not occur naturally, or is lost for any reason?
The younger we were the less fear we felt. A horse that bucked or stopped was a challenge. As we grow older we stop thinking that way. As teenagers we start caring about what people say and what they think of our riding and our results in competitions, and that is were things start getting complicated.
When anxiety starts kicking in, confidence starts breaking apart. This is where a great effort must be made by the rider himself to control the thoughts and fears in ones head. The big question is HOW DO YOU DO THAT??
6 Tips on how to Beat competition Anxiety.
- Focus on the reason WHY you like riding. Find out why you like to ride and let it guide you! Do you ride because this is what you love doing? Does it make you feel free? Does it make you forget your troubles? Go back and find what it was that drove you into riding in the first place and remind yourself every time you are standing at the gate ready to go in the ring.
- Think about your NOW. Do not overthink situations that belong to the past or the future. As riders that have important goals, we often tend to think of important competitions to come and drive ourselves crazy with anxiety for an event that might be weeks away. STOP THAT! Focus on your self, your horse, your training today. Concentrate on the present, because that is what you can control.
- Take your time to go over the course in great detail in your own time. Move away from any distraction, close your eyes, and visualise yourself riding the course. That way, when you actually get in the ring, it will feel as if your have jumped it before and things will come more natural.
- Focus on yourself. Stop thinking about the results of other riders. It is your competition to win, not theirs to lose! Keep your mind set on your goals and what you can do to achieve them. The only factor you can control during a competition is yourself, so make sure you make the most out of it.
- Don’t beat yourself up. Everyone can have a bad day. The best riders in the world have also had their ups and downs. The reason they have become what they have become is because they never gave up. Instead of allowing bad days stand in your way, you should learn from your mistakes and prepare yourself better for next time. Never let disappointment build walls to your success.
- Remind yourself of your good times! Create a ‘database’ with your successes in your mind. One that you will be able to refer to every time you are down. Thinking of your achievements will help you bring your abilities and your worth back to the foreground and make you believe in yourself once again.
+1 tip. Write things down! Writing helps you think and understand things in more detail and greater depth. Also you can always go back to what you have written and remind yourself of how you felt when you won that class.
Don’t waste your time! Start today by sharing your experiences and thoughts with us. You might encourage more riders to overcome their barriers!
Good Luck! 😉