Rise above competition-day distractions
At a show, it’s common to find lots of classes all going on at once. Plus the warm-up ring is likely to be busy. If your horse has a tendency to be overwhelmed by a hub of activity, it’s important you get him concentrating before you start your round. “This comes down to focus and distraction, for both you and your horse,” says Helen. “You need to practise being able to focus on the job in hand.”
Prepare at home
Next time you ride at home, ask your friends to be as distracting as possible. “Practise having other distractions around you, whether it’s another horse and rider joining you in the school or people doing yard jobs nearby,” says Helen. “Try to imagine yourself in a bubble and focus on the process of what you’re doing.”
What to do on the day
It might sound silly, but if you’re struggling to focus on the day, give yourself a talking to. “As you’re riding round, say positive affirmations to yourself,” explains Helen. “This might be something as simple as ‘ride every stride’. It focuses your brain on the task.” If your horse is struggling to get his head in the game, distract him by incorporating transitions, circles and basic lateral movements in your warm-up. These are effective ways to get him listening to you, which will boost your confidence. Imagine a bubble around you and your horse when warming up on competition day, shutting out those around you. It works!
Imagine you and your horse are in a bubble, isolated from distractions