Breathing exercises decrease the usual performance anxiety that riders experience before and during competitions. There is a direct correlation with high oxygen levels reaching the brain and from rhythmic breathing and concentration.
Posture: not too stiff, not too relaxed
A straight posture is essential, specially while walking and riding the course.
Avoid negative thoughts
Think positively using key words that help you avoid negative loops. When a negative scenario crosses the mind, the use of short commands (ex: out) aids in redirecting the attention towards the visualization of the ideal goal.
SMILE during moments of major pressure
Yes, smile, even if you’re smiling to your horse’s ears. It releases endorphins and serotonin to keep you concentrated on your moment.
Mind in the moment
Mindfulness is key to superior performance. Focusing on the moment that you are in, taking time between actions (ex: shortening reins) and committing to every jump as an individual obstacle, increases the odds of a more relaxed, enjoyable, and successful ride.
Embrace the challenge
Make a plan for challenging unexpected obstacles or circumstances that arise while walking the course. Be creative in executing solutions and alternatives to overcome potential anxiety. Embracing the risks is indeed an essential part of the sport.
By: Alexia Thermiotis