The question I get asked more often than any other is -
"Why do I forget my dressage test in competitions?"
The answer is usually because of something called state dependent memory.
Memories are laid down in our minds with a unique chemical signature and also an emotional charge, depending on how we feel at the time.
Research has shown that memories are best retrieved whilst in the same emotional state, and in the same context or surroundings - that they were laid down in.
Studies have even demonstrated - that students who take an exam in the same classroom in which that they were taught, did significantly better than those who were examined in another room.
When we learn a dressage test in a relaxed state in a familiar arena - it’s going to be more difficult to retrieve that information when we are stressed out and anxious to perform well - and in a strange place.
Added to that – when you’re stressed and in “Fight or flight” mode - your brain kicks out of clever thinking and into reflex...
When we are fit and supple we are much more able to stay in balance and direct our horse. We can recover quickly from a stumble or spook and use our position, seat and leg aids more effectively. When we unconsciously understand this we start to believe in our abilities and push ourselves a little more.
When I was recovering from a hip replacement, I was determined to be able to ride again and so I was very conscientious about doing the exercises I was given by the hospital physiotherapist, but I also had the excellent help of two wonderful ladies:
Pilates instructor Sarah Ribbans ("Pilates with Sarah" in Worthing) who used Pilates herself to help recover from serious spinal injury following an accident to get back to riding and competing Elementary Dressage.
Yoga teacher Anna-Lucy from "LoveLifeYoga" in Godalming, who has a haven of calm at her home studio.
To be the best riders we can for our horses we need to be supple, as well as being fit.
PART 2 – Seven more motivation tips for Horse Riders
Set yourself up for success. You’ll have already made your Plan and chunked your goals down into small steps - so make your environment as supportive as possible, remove distractions and make it easy to have fun.
Think back to past achievements and what inspired you. Now visualise the success of completing your ride or project and really FEEL how it will feel when you’ve done it. Then briefly imagine the regret you’d feel if you didn’t.
Keep “the wheels moving” and stay in action. Chunk goals down and tick each success off on your wall planner to recognise just how far you’ve come.
Plan some variety to keep you and your horse interested. Alternate hacks and schooling and add some fun outings along the way.
Learn some new schooling and ground skills exercises – the “101 Schooling/Jumping/ Horsemanship” series of books are great – or get some ideas from your Instructor.
Buddy up with a friend. That way you’ll be accountable have encourageme...
Really PIN POINT what exactly it is that you’re NOT motivated to do and NAME IT. Don’t be surprised if this is actually quite hard to admit to yourself - often there is something emotionally valuable to be gained by NOT doing it - especially if it’s a confidence issue.
Set your intention and WHY you want to do this? What does it truly mean to you and WHO are you when you are doing this to the best of your ability?
Do you need appraisal, advice, help or support? Often we don’t know where to begin because we don’t know what we need - we don’t know what we don’t know!
So the first step is often to just get a professional opinion to find out what is a reasonable expectation of our-self and our horse - given our unique situation. This can save an awful lot of time, heartache and expense in the long run.
Now set your goal and chunk it down into SMALL ACHIEVABLE STEPS – they must be things that YOU have responsibility for and that are within your skill set? What is the FIRST step?
Is this feeling lack of confidence or is it actually lack of motivation?
This seems to be a common theme with my clients at this dark, grey, cold, wet time of year – when everything is just so much more effort.
So here’s a quick test –
Without labelling that feeling – think about it now – really get into that feeling – where do you feel it in your body ?
If it’s in your stomach or chest it’s likely to be anxiety and lack of confidence.
If it’s in your head – accompanied by a lot of chatter and excuses it’s likely to be lack of motivation.
Another quick test –
If everything were set up for success – it’s a lovely sunny day – your horse was bought in and groomed for you – you had the idea place to ride out or school – and you were accompanied by lovely supportive sensible safe friends ........how would you feel about riding then ?
Yes - then that feeling is probably a combination of both lack of motivation and confidence.
You see our brains are designed to keep up safe and comfortab...
And as a Hypnotherapist and Sports psychologist and ex Riding instructor I’m passionate about helping riders to put the fun back into their riding.
I also have a lot of tools in my toolkit which gives me a unique perspective when I work with riders from novice to professionals in the comfort of an armchair to overcome their fears, or recover their confidence after accidents or injury and improve their sporting performance
I’d like today to talk to you about how I work with clients who have the - fear of jumping
It’s a big subject - so I’m going to cover the components of jumping confidence, and the questions I would be asking to help you overcome this fear, and I’m also going to offer some tips and advice.
The Solution is often to be found in how you came to have this fear in the first place and every person’s fear is unique.
So let me ask you a few questions now to point you in the right direction to find your solution to overcome your fear.