My name is Amali and I’m part of the Hampton And Harlow Equestrian ambassador program! I have 3 horses; Bing who is my Grey TB who I do Intro level 80cm eventing on, a miniature pony named Spirit who loves to do liberty and jumping and I also have Breeze, a WB mare who is due to have (hopefully) my future eventer in 3 months.
As a young rider I tend to get very anxious before I go into Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country. Bing is a very sensitive horse and as soon as he feels my nerves, he freaks out which only makes me worse and this can affect how my test or round will go. So, I thought that I should write this blog about how I’m learning to control my nerves and hopefully any other equestrians out there who might struggle with the same thing can know they are not alone!
Tanja Mitton, a local Sunshine Coast coach who specialises in mindset coaching, gave me a lesson a few weeks back and it helped Bing and I SO much. We had a sit-down session for about 30 minutes talking about why and what makes me get so nervous, then I rode, and we did a lot on breathing and keeping Bing relaxed and how to keep me relaxed too.
The main thing for me that helps me stay relaxed is deep breathing. I breath in through my nose then let out a big sigh so that my shoulders drop visibly lower, and I do that about 5 times before I go into the warm up ring and again prior to going into the competition ring. Sometimes mum even gets me to do this when I’m tacking up or even eating breakfast (haha). Think about it- when you finish your show jump or dressage or cross-country round do you let out a big sigh? We all do! The stress, pressure and nerves are off and you can relax. But you should do that before you go into the ring!
Another thing I find that helps is a product called Rescue Remedy. You can get this in lollies or a liquid from your local chemist. It is homeopathic and I find that it helps me a lot. I normally take 2 of the lollies and 4 drops of the serum on my tongue about 10-15 mins before I go into the ring. Using the Rescue Remedy does not make it all go away – you still need to do deep breathing!
Something else that helps me but usually not until after I’ve done my round – the value of hindsight – is that I have to learn to TRUST my horse, and my own ability. My parents and coaches always tell me this, but it’s a hard thing to remember when the nerves start creeping up.
Sometimes all my best laid plans and practice and breathing still don’t work, and this is where competition experience kicks in and those more experienced than me can deal with this better. Things can and will go wrong out competing, and it’s what we learn from and move forward that makes us stronger!
I really hope this helps, thank you for reading!