I am really looking forward to E-Dressage’s new site going live and will definitely be using it with my Development riders onwards. There are more and more online competing opportunities out there, do you use any?
The main competition season is approaching and you are training hard to prepare for your first show. You start to feel those very familiar nerves from last weekend. What if I make a mistake in my riding? What if my horse spooks? What if we forget the test? These are only a few of the million questions that are probably floating around in your head. And I’m here to encourage you to forget about them all. You can choose to stop worrying, and instead ride for the love of the sport.
And why should you focus on doing that? You have goals, you have ambitions, and you want to improve. Of course these all play a role in helping you enjoy the upcoming competition season and perform at your best, but these are only possible if you remember why you ride: for the love of the sport.
Research has shown that the biggest predictor of burnout or loss of an athlete’s performance is due to the interest in their sport decreasing. Of course there will be times you love the sport more than others, but constantly reminding yourself of the positives will help your focus, performance, and enjoyment. It will also help you to bounce back from defeat quicker and adapt to new challenges better. So what are some of the positives of riding? I’ve outlined some of my favourite points below.
It allows me to build a special relationship with a horse.
It makes it possible for me to experience those special moments of harmony when I’m one with the horse.
It enables me to keep forever learning & growing as a person and rider.
It keeps me healthy and fit.
It allows me to exercise in fresh air.
It helps me connect with nature.
I find a sense of belonging by socialising with the other riders at the yard.
These are only a few of the many things which remind me why I love the sport so much. Now I want you to come up with your own list!
Think of at least 5 things which remind you why you ride. Have this list somewhere handy and have a look through it when you’re feeling unmotivated or getting too stressed out about competing. Keep going back to it, and adding to it. It’s a great tool that will remind you to ride for the love of the sport and enjoy your riding more!
Good luck in your riding adventures & until next time!
Susanna Halonen is a Finnish rider based in Southeast England. She offers positive psychology coaching to help you to get the most of your riding, be it enjoyment or performance wise. You can follow her blog here: http://shdressage.co.uk/
This is my first real post here so I am really exited and I hope you will like it! At this time of the year it is almost impossible to ride outdoor, because it is so cold that the ground freezes and then it gets very slippery. It is also difficult on weekdays as when I get out of school at three o’clock it’s already dark.
So right now I train indoors almost every day but when I have the chance I try to ride outdoors because Boy thinks it is much more fun. As I wrote in my presentation I am a dressagerider who jumps once a week because Boy really enjoys it.
This and last week I have been training dressage together with a friend. It is because on Saturday there will be a special club event at my stable. We are riding a program together that we both have competed in this fall. It is going to be really funny because everyone has to dress up. Then your costume gets judged! Your riding will also get judged as in a normal dressage competition, in this case it is going to be done by Gustaf Svalling, the highest qualified dressage judge in Sweden. Everyone at my stable is going to take part, from riders who have never competed before till Grand Prix riders. So it is really a mix of riders at different levels which is fun!
This week all dressage training is preparation for Saturday. I jumped yesterday and it was very fun. We trained on having different number of strides between two jumps, without using the rains. It was a really good but difficult exercise because the horses got really exited and you had to trust that they listen to your every move.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
– Mark Twain
I hope you’ll indulge me today as I spend some time reflecting on partnership. It’s something that has been on my mind a lot this summer and I think now is the perfect time to write about it as Aspire is launching the “My New Horse” program. Yes, I know I’ve owned Flirt for about 3 and a half years and she’s not exactly “new.” But with everything that has happened in the last year, we did have the opportunity for a new beginning. Now I find myself continually staring at her and taking so much pride in how healthy, fit, and simply happy she is – such a change from even one year ago!
In many ways, Flirt and I are very fortunate – a lot of partnerships that encounter as much trouble as we had do not end so well. I often see other riders who fix problems by selling one horse and buying another. But does that teach you or simply put off the issues to a later date? I tend to believe the latter and have gained such a sense of accomplishment from working through the steps and ultimately finding ways to improve. Prior to my accident last summer I was on the toughest plateau of my life. And while I can’t recommend a major trauma incident to anyone, in a way it was just what I needed to move forward. The second time around, Flirt and I built on a stronger foundation and we finally have a partnership that we can be proud of and confident in.
Speaking of accidents, it’s important to note that first and foremost – health is key. If you or your horse is not healthy and pain-free, you’re in trouble. Flirt was injured last summer and managed to hide it too well… we had so much trouble and were so angry at each other… and I feel so guilty that I thought she was being bad, that I didn’t see it sooner, but she only ever felt stiff and then trotted sound. However, I can certainly promise that I will not suppress the instincts that told me something was wrong again! On the bright side, Flirt’s rehab from the injury triggered bi-monthly visits from the chiropractor and monthly visits from the body worker. And now, one year later, wow does my horse feel good. So out of the bad came exactly what Flirt needed to feel her best.