As Wiola from Aspire Riding Academy discussed in her blog ‘Understand and Reduce Your Horses Compeition Nerves’ preparing your horse for competitions is key to competition success. It is of equal importance, if not more important that we also preparing ourselves.

In order to give our horse the best chance to have a relaxed and enjoyable show we also need to be relaxed and confident.

But what can you do to prepare yourself and reduce your stress levels? Well lots! So I thought i’d share with you some of my Psychology knowledge from my pre Boudica life as a Psychologist! So this week I am going to introduce you to five areas that can help you be the best rider for your horse as well as achieve your goals:

  • Preparation

  • Goal Setting

  • The Importance of the Right Clothing

  • Relaxation

  • Positive Mental Attitude

  • Imagery

I am delighted to have teamed up with Jenni from Flying Changes Coaching and Jane from Horse Riding Confidence Scotland to give you some further materials too!

WIN! I’d love to hear your stories and your words of wisdom, maybe even your favourite quote! Use #boudicaconfidence to keep us in the loop! The best story will win a prize from Boudica’s gorgeous range of rider and horse wear! 😊

The Importance of Being Calm

We as Brits are generally quite poor at looking after ourselves, both mentally and physically. Sadly we have a culture that values long hours and over working while ignoring self-care and self growth. However as the classic saying goes you need to look after yourself first in order to help others or as the flight attendants say: ‘fit your own facemask before helping others’.

This is particularly important for the horse and owner/rider team. Studies have shown that horses pick up on our facial expressions, anxieties and can become tense and anxious in turn. One study by Smith 2016 concluded: “This research should encourage us to be aware of our moods and emotions when interacting with horses and other animals, as it shows that our negative moods may have negative effects on their behavior and physiological responses.” You can read more about this study here.

We need to look after ourselves so we can be calm and effective riders and help our horses be calm, relaxed and happy in any situation. But how, in this fast paced world can we achieve this? Let’s start by looking at how we prepare for shows and events as well as how goal planning can support us.

Preparation and Goals

Preparation: We all know the stress created by running late and with horses involved this is only more likely! So give yourself much more time than you think you need to not only travel to the show but to groom before, load your horse, catch from the field and tack up. Aim to get to the show at least an hour and a half before your class. That way you have plenty of time to check in, walk to course and most importantly warm up. Arriving early also gives not only you but also your horse the chance to get used to the environment. Also give yourself time to do some relaxation (we will talk more about this in our next blog).

Goals: Goals are great for motivation and planned properly can also help you prepare and stay positive. Make sure your Goals are broken down into small short term goals and work with a friend or your instructor to come up with some suitable ones for the year.

Jane from Horse Riding Confidence Scotland has kindly passed on her favourite goal setting worksheet for you to use. I have included that in your email shout-out today! If you aren’t signed up yet to our email list click here to go to the website and sign up.

And Jenni from Flying Changes Coaching has given you this amazing Webnar on Goal Setting For Success totally FREE until the end Nov! Click here to watch.

Don’t forget to reward yourself at each stage! Even just writing your list of goals and sharing them with a friend is a great start and should be celebrated! You can also make some similar goals for your horse. Perhaps for their show preparation too, look back at Wiola’s blog on managing your horses’ competition nerves to get some ideas.

In the next blogs we are going to look at:

  • The Importance of the Right Clothing

  • Relaxation

  • Positive Mental Attitude

  • Imagery

Make sure you don’t miss out on the next blog by siging up to our email subscription list on the Boudica website.

Until then keep in touch with your confidence stories! #boudicaconfidence!

Laura x