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...