Training for pressure

Are you thinking of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone in 2023? Then you’re going to have to get more comfortable at performing under pressure. 

A common theme I hear from people is that as soon as they enter the ring they go blank-Dressage test? Is that turn left or right, circle at E????? Jumping? Was it over the upright then left to the Oxer or was it onto the double? 

You can practice and practice at home in your arena, you run through it in your head at home but as soon as the pressure is on your mind goes blank.

Remembering information coherently under pressure is a skill that needs training. 

Of course getting out there and competing more can help but sometimes that’s too much pressure and the problem doesn’t fix itself. 

So you may need to be a little more creative in your training.

Here’s some Ideas, but maybe you’ll come up with your own.

Challenge your stability whilst visualising your Dressage test. Stand on one leg or a wobble board to create an extra distraction as you visualise your test or run through a course of fences.

If it’s remembering a course you struggle with, you will need a list of pre written courses (there’s plenty of inspiration if you Google it) then have a quick run through -a course walk; then start your chosen activity and ride the course you’ve just learnt in your mind.

Try doing this whilst you’re doing other things such as running, cycling or cooking. Any activity that you would probably do without thinking normally, then add the extra layer of visualising your test or round.

It’s about getting your brain to be comfortable processing the information whilst still carrying out the task in hand-riding the horse but remembering where you’re going! 

Training off horse to improve your riding isn’t just about the physical. 

I often spend time with my 121 Clients talking through problems and figuring out solutions that may be mental rather than physical and then if necessary we incorporate it into their training.

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