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AliCat
Apr. 10, 2011, 07:15 PM
I have a pretty bad track record going. I am adult re-rider who rides one day a week. I came back to riding 4 years ago, and in the last 2 years I started showing again. I have done 5 shows, and fallen off at 3, in 3 different division :o

Now, the last 2 falls (at the last 2 shows, 2 different divisions) have been stupid. Today was during warm ups. My horse was cross cantering, and I was trying to complete the lead change. He scooted, and I hit the ground. I went on to do all my classes (without another unplanned dismount).

I do get nervous, especially the night before. I felt sick to my stomach last night, and this morning I felt like my head was in the clouds. Now, once I get on, I don't feel the same type of nerves, but I never feel as confident. I just feel like the "stick" factor is nonexistent in the show ring.

I had taken an extra lesson on Friday, and had an awesome ride. We schooled and schooled, so it's not like I have any doubt in my ability, or the ability of my mount.

Anyone have any suggestions, gone through this, or just have words of encouragement? My best friend thinks Xanax might help :lol:

Rel6
Apr. 10, 2011, 07:31 PM
I do get nervous, especially the night before. I felt sick to my stomach last night, and this morning I felt like my head was in the clouds. Now, once I get on, I don't feel the same type of nerves, but I never feel as confident. I just feel like the "stick" factor is nonexistent in the show ring.


I find that the night before I visualize all the perfect courses I'm going to have the next day :D

I am also someone who gets really nervous the night before, when your mind wanders and I think about every thing that could go wrong. Instead, I try picturing myself riding the courses perfectly. I picture striding, lead changes, etc, and even if I don't know the show grounds I just kind of make it up.

Hope this helps at least a little!

kateh
Apr. 10, 2011, 07:43 PM
Curious, do you wear tall boots and breeches for your lessons or only at shows? My usual half chaps are waaay grippier than my tall boots, so I started wearing tall boots at least the week before the show. Then I got used to them and now wear my tall boots for most rides.

supershorty628
Apr. 10, 2011, 07:45 PM
I fell off at Harrisburg last year because I was so nervous, I reverted to an old habit (that I hadn't done in YEARS)...I leaned up Nikki's neck at a jump off a short turn and she stopped, causing me to go over her head and land on my feet in front of her. She was just glaring at me with this look on her face that seemed to say "WTF is the matter with you, idiot?"

Like Rel6, I find that visualizing courses will help me (or re-riding courses I've done in the past helps). Do you have any videos of you showing where things went well? I like to review videos from really good shows to get a confidence boost from that.

I think nerves get everyone at some point in their riding careers - you are definitely not alone!

AliCat
Apr. 10, 2011, 07:46 PM
Curious, do you wear tall boots and breeches for your lessons or only at shows? My usual half chaps are waaay grippier than my tall boots, so I started wearing tall boots at least the week before the show. Then I got used to them and now wear my tall boots for most rides.

When I started showing again, I started wearing boots and breeches for lessons.

I wish I had video so you guys could see how stupid these falls were.

AliCat
Apr. 10, 2011, 07:49 PM
I find that the night before I visualize all the perfect courses I'm going to have the next day :D

I am also someone who gets really nervous the night before, when your mind wanders and I think about every thing that could go wrong. Instead, I try picturing myself riding the courses perfectly. I picture striding, lead changes, etc, and even if I don't know the show grounds I just kind of make it up.

Hope this helps at least a little!


I fell off at Harrisburg last year because I was so nervous, I reverted to an old habit (that I hadn't done in YEARS)...I leaned up Nikki's neck at a jump off a short turn and she stopped, causing me to go over her head and land on my feet in front of her. She was just glaring at me with this look on her face that seemed to say "WTF is the matter with you, idiot?"

Like Rel6, I find that visualizing courses will help me (or re-riding courses I've done in the past helps). Do you have any videos of you showing where things went well? I like to review videos from really good shows to get a confidence boost from that.

I think nerves get everyone at some point in their riding careers - you are definitely not alone!

I think the visualizing positive rounds are a good idea. Last night I was imagining getting strong with bucking into the corner, crashing through fences with my body, etc :o:o:o

I think that if I could get some video footage it would be quite beneficial.

Seriously, these last 2 falls were simple scoots that I have ridden through countless times before. Gah.

supershorty628
Apr. 10, 2011, 07:52 PM
AliCat, if it makes you feel any better, I really should not have fallen off in the example I gave... it was pathetic to the point of being laughable.

Rel6
Apr. 10, 2011, 07:52 PM
I wish I had video so you guys could see how stupid these falls were.

LOL I have many of those! Something else that helped me was singing on course. Some stupid song (I would just sing the chorus over and over again) distracted me from my nerves and kept me from interfering with my horse. I would ride more instinctively and micromanage her less. One judge told me later she liked the song! (I didn't sing loud, but went right by her one the rail)

AliCat
Apr. 10, 2011, 08:02 PM
AliCat, if it makes you feel any better, I really should not have fallen off in the example I gave... it was pathetic to the point of being laughable.

Well, today we were doing low adult hunters, and there was a small group of us that are a bit nervous. I apologize to everyone who had to wait for the divisions after us because it took HOURS to get 3 of us through. One of my nervous buddies also had a fall in schooling that was just really silly. We stood on the rail and brushed the dirt off each other while better riders schooled for us :o

AliCat
Apr. 10, 2011, 08:04 PM
LOL I have many of those! Something else that helped me was singing on course. Some stupid song (I would just sing the chorus over and over again) distracted me from my nerves and kept me from interfering with my horse. I would ride more instinctively and micromanage her less. One judge told me later she liked the song! (I didn't sing loud, but went right by her one the rail)

I have had a sinus infection and upper respiratory infection for going on 2 weeks. I have been on anti-biotics for a week now, but I am still congested. There is no doubt that I was breathing louder through my clogged nose than my horse, and I am SURE the judge heard as well :lol:

darbzilla
Apr. 10, 2011, 08:05 PM
Ha, I have the opposite! Fall off all the time at home, but even if the devil pony ducks a shoulder and tries to throw me into a fence I somehow hold on. Some have been very close, but it's just magical glue I guess and I keep thanking the show gods ;).
My trainer does though make us sing sometimes to combat nerves. Deep breathing and damp washcloths tend to do the trick too.

kateh
Apr. 10, 2011, 08:42 PM
Something I've been trying recently is taking "nervous energy" and converting it into "excited energy." They feel similar-butterflies, racing heart etc. Throw on some positive thinking on top. Instead of "oh god, please don't let me mess up" think "can't wait to show the judge how good I am!" It's been helping me in presentations lately, but you can't half-ass it :lol:

Sunnyhorse
Apr. 10, 2011, 10:08 PM
AliCat, I find myself without any leg to speak of at shows (or anytime I'm afraid, actually) -- I think the prolonged wash of adrenaline leaves me kind of wrung out and, consequently, worn out. It's been much better since my doc wrote me a script for Xanax, but, then again, I haven't shown since retiring my large pony last fall and buying my TB. Eek.

kayteedee
Apr. 11, 2011, 08:29 AM
Is it possible for you to ride more than once a week? See if anyone has a horse that needs more exercise if you can't pay for it. This would strengthen that balance as well as your leg and give you more of a chance. I certainly understand if you don't have time, but I'm at the point where I'll leave the house at 8PM to go to the barn to ride because I just got my kids to bed.

Sleep becomes less important the more I ride, and thankfully our arena is well lit!

Also, though I was a die-hard chaps rider when I was a kid, for balance improvement I do wear exclusively breeches & boots now.

DMK
Apr. 11, 2011, 09:23 AM
Nerves at a horse show are part of being at a horse show and we all tend to look our stupidest there... ;)

That said, the easiest course of your month should be the one at a horse show, especially for beginners. Everything you do at home should be bigger and more complex. I don't mean you should be schooling medal level courses, but if you are showing in the pre-adults, I think maybe being comfortable at 2'9 at home and doing some combination work may be the level you should be at a show?

I say this because I think there is enormous pressure on trainers and riders to get us to shows, and maybe before we are really ready?

If the level you are showing at is easy peasy at home, that gives you an edge over your (entirely to be expected) nerves at a show and your ability to handle new questions (as much as we try to plan for something, a show is bound to ask us a new question, be it a fence we haven't seen or as things get more complicated and bigger, a relationship of fences we have not ridden). You aren't battling the top of your limit AND nerves AND a potentially new question, just nerves and any new questions (which is plenty if you ask me).

As an example, I am schooling my youngster at home over mostly 2'6... and I had this brilliant idea I would move him up after his first show @ 2'3 to 2'6. Then I thought about it a little bit more. Sure he does 2'6, but he isn't entirely familiar with it, he's literally only done 4 sessions and I still start with the fences low... So I had to ask myself was it fair to him to move him up to 2'6 at a show where he would have to deal with a show and his nerves (I think he has them, hard to tell though, since he appears comatose at a show), any new questions he isn't prepared for AND my nerves? That's an easy no, isn't it? Wait until the following show when he is a bit more solid.

But shouldn't we apply the same logic to a "green" rider?

That said, everyone's different, while I am a big believer in pushing myself at home, I've seen riders who just simply will not advance much at home, but they get to a show and see how lacking they are and go home and FIXIT!. And I've certainly had aquestion asked at a show that exposed some serious flaws in my program at home that needed to be fixed ASAP. We've all been there, but I think we always need to evaluate and re-evaluate our show goals as well as the home program.

findeight
Apr. 11, 2011, 09:39 AM
Honestly??? Well, you won't like this but...

You need to ride more and with any of my trainers over the years? You would not be jumping courses at shows riding a school horse 1 day a week. Heck, my old Western trainers wouldn't let me show if I could only practice 1 day a week on my own horse.

Reading what you have written, you are not secure in the saddle due to that lack of saddle time and there is no other way to build those muscles other then saddle time. Oh, you can get fitness and balance better with yoga and Pilates but you cannot work the riding muscles unless you ride. You cannot work on your feel for pace and eye for distance unless you ride. You cannot "multi task" with lead changes, pace and finding jumps unless you ride more.

Yeah, everybody falls off. Sometimes they are pretty stupid falls. But you are coming off at almost every show. That's starting to do a number on your confidence and, sooner or later, it's going to leave a mark. And looks like you come off on the flat??? You really need to be staying on better before tackling fences and that happens with more and more frequent flatwork.

Save your show money and put it towards more lessons and time in the saddle.

Bogie
Apr. 11, 2011, 09:52 AM
I have to agree that you need more saddle time. Riding once a week doesn't give you the core strength you need to stay on when your horse does something unexpected. EVen just adding one more day a week will help but I know that I need to ride a minimum of 3x/week to really feel secure.

When you do ride, spend as much time as possible in half seat/three point. That's the most secure position for you to be in but it takes time to build up your strength. When you have the strength to stay in position, your confidence in your own riding will increase.

I'm condition for hunting season right now and I'm doing long trot and canter sets in half seat. It can be torture but I know I need to have the ability to stick a spook when out galloping.

JLD
Apr. 11, 2011, 09:53 AM
I can relate. I am also a rerider who can't usually ride more than once a week. I also get ridiculously stupid show nerves. I had recently decided to do a small show (seriously, small. And I had decided to get over my nerves by doing the 18 inch... :lol:) I had worked myself into such a stupid state just by deciding to be in the show that during my next lesson I fell off at my first warm up a crossrail:o. Oh sweet mary, the shame. lol

So I sucked it up and told myself that I had already used up my "stupid quota" for the show. Mind you I did screwed up at that show in other ways BUT I stayed on. haha.

You are so not alone. :lol:

DMK
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:04 AM
I have to agree that you need more saddle time. Riding once a week doesn't give you the core strength you need to stay on when your horse does something unexpected.

And I'm not sure it gives you the necessary experience/tools to bother spending money on a show? I can't imagine showing if I only rode 1x a week unless that was an exception rather than the rule. There's no hard and fast rule you have to show, maybe that money is better spent in a few more lessons? (And let's face it, that would probably be more fun!)

AliCat
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:19 AM
To clarify a couple points:

I work 60 hours a week, usually from 9am til 9pm. I also work on weekends. There is not enough time in my life to go ride more. I have horses I could ride if I wanted to, but I have other things to do in my spare time that take priority. I am very much a hobby rider who does 2 horse shows a year. When I know I am showing, I will take a few extra lessons.

I jump bigger than 2'6 in lessons, with confidence.

Perhaps I should go back to my safer hobby I gave up to start riding again. Drag racing.

Cita
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:21 AM
Another once-a-weeker here, and I agree you might want to get more saddle time (or at least maybe amp up your gym routine) before showing more! When we're under stress, our "default" behaviors come through - yours appears to be weakness and slipperiness. :p (Personally, mine is curling into a ball and attempting to burrow myself to safety underneath the horse's withers.)

If you're not at the point where you can make it around the course successfully while in a terrified state of panic that makes your body feel like it's suffering from rigor mortis, you might want to re-think showing for a little while. For your own safety, if not pocketbook!

Maybe also some bareback lessons? You can also try to think of things that would make you nervous at home - say, invite your coworkers over to watch your lesson, or have someone screeching at you as you go around, or something. Anything to help you reveal what those "default" behaviors are, so you can work on correcting them when you are not under so much stress.

Honestly, the best (only?) way to create those default behaviors in the first place is practice, practice, practice, practice, practice... which is why I really do think more saddle time would be beneficial. As someone who desperately needs more herself, I *know* it is not easy. But if you really want to show, I do think it's necessary.

AliCat
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:24 AM
Also, I don't come off all that often. I save it for shows.

AliCat
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:27 AM
Is doing 2 schooling shows a year at home really pushing myself too hard, too fast, and costing me an arm and a leg? LOL

dags
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:33 AM
Sorry, apparently it's not a doable answer for you, but I'm going to side with those saying you simply cannot build enough strength to reliably stick anything riding only once a week.

You say you schooled over and over on friday to prepare . . . you probably used up all your strength doing that, and left to nothing to ride with in the actual show.

That's probably why people are pointing out it's potentially a waste of money. Unless you plan to just "sit there", in which case horsey needs to be schooled up better.

AliCat
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:40 AM
Sorry, apparently it's not a doable answer for you, but I'm going to side with those saying you simply cannot build enough strength to reliably stick anything riding only once a week.

You say you schooled over and over on friday to prepare . . . you probably used up all your strength doing that, and left to nothing to ride with in the actual show.

That's probably why people are pointing out it's potentially a waste of money. Unless you plan to just "sit there", in which case horsey needs to be schooled up better.

Did everyone here miss the part about having an upper respiratory and sinus infection for going on 2 weeks? Isn't is possible that maybe being sick for that long, and being on 4 types of medication could have affected my strength more than some extra saddle time?

I mean, I agree 100% that more saddle time would be benficial, but it is not realistic. I own an elliptical machine that I use several days a week, I go to the gym for a weight lifting routine, and I do pilates once a week. My biggest issue is not physical, it is mental. I mean, I spend the night before the horse show envisioning my demise :eek:

Rel6
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:58 AM
My biggest issue is not physical, it is mental. I mean, I spend the night before the horse show envisioning my demise :eek:

I think people are saying that if you rode more you might have more physical strength to combat your nerves (or even less nerves!)...if something happens the nervous rider with a really tight leg is more likely to stay on than the nervous rider with a looser leg.

That being said, schooling show are made for those riders who cannot ride three or four times a week and who still want to experience a show environment. Is there an easier horse you could take to a schooling show to build up your confidence? Are there home schooling shows you could do instead? Being on familiar ground might be helpful.

Also, try to think about *why* you are nervous. Are you afraid your trainer is going to be pissed? Talk to you trainer. Are you worried about what your horse is going to pull? Talk to your trainer. Are you worried your going to encounter something you've never schooled before? Talk to your trainer.

But, honestly, if you are just plain worried about falling its going to be hard to overcome that without more saddle time. Unfortunately its a vicious cycle, you're going to worry so much about falling that in the end you're gonna fall :/

Even if you could ride and extra time the week before the show it might help. But like someone else said, schooling a ton the night before is just going to make you more tired for the actual show.

jay0087
Apr. 11, 2011, 11:19 AM
I am in the same boat, kinda. I have not shown in like 2 or 3 years but have been riding. My horse was a steady eddy and we took care of each other. Well he passed away last year and I started leasing a new horse.

Since middle of dec. I have been riding him 4 to 5 times a week. He has a little bit of a buck which he went from bucking at the canter to just sometimes after fences to not so much. I took him to a show just to school and he launched me. I got to see my friend ride him and then decided from then on there was no more pleasure rides and he would have to start really working. He has come so far in the past month and I have been so proud of him.

Our first show is this weekend and I am a little nervous about it. I know if I just sit up, pick him up and keep the leg on we will be just fine. But the nerves are def there.

AliCat
Apr. 11, 2011, 11:20 AM
I think people are saying that if you rode more you might have more physical strength to combat your nerves (or even less nerves!)...if something happens the nervous rider with a really tight leg is more likely to stay on than the nervous rider with a looser leg.

That being said, schooling show are made for those riders who cannot ride three or four times a week and who still want to experience a show environment. Is there an easier horse you could take to a schooling show to build up your confidence? Are there home schooling shows you could do instead? Being on familiar ground might be helpful.

Also, try to think about *why* you are nervous. Are you afraid your trainer is going to be pissed? Talk to you trainer. Are you worried about what your horse is going to pull? Talk to your trainer. Are you worried your going to encounter something you've never schooled before? Talk to your trainer.

But, honestly, if you are just plain worried about falling its going to be hard to overcome that without more saddle time. Unfortunately its a vicious cycle, you're going to worry so much about falling that in the end you're gonna fall :/

Even if you could ride and extra time the week before the show it might help. But like someone else said, schooling a ton the night before is just going to make you more tired for the actual show.

The times I have come off were on "easy" horses I knew very, very well (think horses that are mellow enough for walk trot lessons, but capable of stepping up). All of these shows have been "home".

The first time I know exactly what I did wrong. I rode to an ugly distance in beginner hunter (in all of its 2' glory), I got to the jump on a half stride, and hit the horse with my spur. He sent me packing on the other side. 100% my fault, brushed myself off, won the next class.

The second fall was just a a missed distance. It was a tricky approach in itty bitty jumpers (another glorious 2' division), and the little chestnut hony mare and I had different ideas about which way to go. I wanted to go over the jump, she went left.

This last time was just STUPID. He scooted, and I just looked like a fool. My trainer isn't mad, she knows that I get nervy, and that I have been sick. Once it was clear that I didn't have as much gas as I usually do, they made alternative schooling plans for him. They know that I am more than capable of doing the stuff that they had planned, and frankly, after I watched him school over the course with someone else, I didn't bother schooling him myself. I just went in and showed.

I am very fortunate to have a great support network. The trainers, the barn manager, and the people I ride with are wonderful. Everyone helps everyone, so I can't say that is the problem.

My entire life I have been a timid rider. It took me 3 years to canter (which happened when I first came to this barn 19 years ago, after being in a less than stellar program). I got braver as a teen, then had a pretty bad fall when a pony took off on me and had a meltdown (multiple broken bones, lost conciousness). I kid you not, as I typed this, I realized that the nighmares I am having are actually reliving this exact fall, on whatever horse I am showing the next day. I have no idea how to overcome that.

Rel6
Apr. 11, 2011, 11:24 AM
My entire life I have been a timid rider. It took me 3 years to canter (which happened when I first came to this barn 19 years ago, after being in a less than stellar program). I got braver as a teen, then had a pretty bad fall when a pony took off on me and had a meltdown (multiple broken bones, lost conciousness). I kid you not, as I typed this, I realized that the nighmares I am having are actually reliving this exact fall, on whatever horse I am showing the next day. I have no idea how to overcome that.

Have you thought about going to a sports psychologist? I took a really bad fall at hits two years ago (went through a 3'6'' oxer, broke my nose, ribs, and sprained my neck) and think that had I gone to a therapist or sports psychologist it would have helped a lot.

AliCat
Apr. 11, 2011, 11:29 AM
Have you thought about going to a sports psychologist? I took a really bad fall at hits two years ago (went through a 3'6'' oxer, broke my nose, ribs, and sprained my neck) and think that had I gone to a therapist or sports psychologist it would have helped a lot.

Maybe it is something worth considering.

I would also like to mention that the pony that had this meltdown was not at this farm. It was one I was considering leasing at a different facility. This accident happened at least 13 years ago. Obviously I am still not over it.

findeight
Apr. 11, 2011, 11:41 AM
Is doing 2 schooling shows a year at home really pushing myself too hard, too fast, and costing me an arm and a leg? LOL


If you come off at most shows (and you said you were off at 3 out of 5 shows so more then 2 showing efforts a year)???? It might cost you the use of an arm or leg for about 8 weeks, you keep coming off, something is going to eventually happen. It has already had a negative effect on your confidence.

It's not like a race car, you HAVE to practice and there is no way to practice except to ride and the more you do, the less likely you will be to come off, even when impaired by meds and illness (I would have scratched but that's just me). I mean, keeping the race car analogy, driving back and forth to work does use the same muscles but only track time will hone the reflexes-with the unpredictable behavior of the horse, only saddle time works the muscles and the reflexes

Try for twice a week every week for a couple of months and you should see a huge difference.

FineAlready
Apr. 11, 2011, 11:41 AM
I got braver as a teen, then had a pretty bad fall when a pony took off on me and had a meltdown (multiple broken bones, lost conciousness). I kid you not, as I typed this, I realized that the nighmares I am having are actually reliving this exact fall, on whatever horse I am showing the next day. I have no idea how to overcome that.

I'm not sure that you can totally "get over" that kind of thing, but it does get better. I think the way it gets better is by successfully riding through stressful situations with a better result than falling, breaking multiple bones, and losing consciousness. Even having benign falls such as the ones you have had lately helps a bit, I think. I think you have to just keep at it and try to do the positive visualization exercises others have suggested.

I personally have a recurring nightmare about the accident werein I broke my femur. It is less frequent now (15+ years later), but I still have it from time to time. The memory is quite vivid (horse flipped over the instant I mounted, crushing me between him and the side of a barn). I make a point not to focus on that memory when I am heading into a stressful riding situation (now if only I could control my actual dreams!). Instead, I actually focus first on memories of behavioral infractions that I rode through successfully, then I shift to some memories of really great rides where there were no behavioral problems, I didn't miss any distances, etc. I think it helps a lot to remind yourself that (a) not every fall is a bad one and (b) not every bad riding situation results in a fall - you can, in fact, ride through the tough times and be just fine.

Good luck!

JLD
Apr. 11, 2011, 11:48 AM
AliCat - Sent you a PM

fargaloo
Apr. 11, 2011, 12:15 PM
Hi AliCat,

I'll throw in my 2 cents... a bit long, but I hope you'll read through :)

First off, I feel for you! No fun to approach your hobby with a sense of dread. You state that it's psychological rather than physical -- based on my experience, I suggest to you that maybe your fear stems from a lack of confidence that your body can do what it needs to do to keep you safe.

I'm not a psychologist (but I am a biologist, so I do know something about the physiology of fear…). I know that horrible frozen feeling when something is happening to you physically that you feel is beyond your control -- being run away with on a horse, being out of control on a ski slope, etc. A person becomes physically passive almost to the point of paralysis, sometimes going into a fetal crouch, waiting for the horrible event to unfold. If you feel physically strong, however, you can override this freeze response, and use your body to react effectively. If you don't feel strong, you subconsciously prevent your body from doing anything except trying to protect itself. How many times have we seen an instructor screaming "Sit up! Sit UP!!!" at a student who is curling over in terror? If you feel truly strong in your core, you are willing to "risk" sitting up and being effective, rather than curling into a ball and waiting for the inevitable to happen. In your case, it doesn't sound as if you were terrified in the 3 instances where you fell, but it does sound as if you became physically passive and were unable to react effectively to what was happening

I had a horrible crash over fences as a teenager that cracked my pelvis and broke several bones. My riding confidence has waxed and waned over the (many!) intervening years, but I have finally realized that my confidence is completely dependent on my level of fitness and strength. If I trust my body to be strong and able to react to a missed distance, a buck or whatever circumstances throw at me, I am far better able to deal with things like show nerves, jumping higher than usual, riding a difficult or nervy horse, or anything that pushes me out of my comfort zone. I currently work out 6 days a week and am amazed at the difference it has made in my riding. I also ride 5-6 days a week, but the difference came when I stepped up the off-horse fitness work.

I know it's a contentious issue here (;)) but I think that non-riding fitness work is even more important than extra time in the saddle, particularly for an ammy who is riding well-schooled horses. Of course, it would be ideal if you could increase your saddle time as well, but you sound like an extremely busy person and it just may not be an option. You must be quite disciplined to keep all the balls in the air on your schedule as it is, so perhaps the best use of your limited time is to step up your at-home exercise program. I know you are doing quite a bit there as well, but maybe it would be useful to talk to a personal trainer about designing a program specifically aimed at core strength.

Finally, I'd really examine whether you are showing to please yourself or someone else…

Anyway, I do wish you luck and am looking forward to a positive update!

AliCat
Apr. 11, 2011, 12:34 PM
Thank you. I have read every comment in this thread, and some of you have brought up some really great points.

Fargaloo, your post made me realize that my personal fitness routine has also come to a screeching halt the last few weeks. That very well could have messed with "my mojo". I was joking with my trainer that the judge probably thought the horse was a roarer, but that was just me trying to breathe! If I show again this year, I will be sure that I am in my fitness zone and 100% healthy. I probably could have scratched, but I did not want to miss the last schooling show til the fall to try this division.

The reason I ride is because I really and truly enjoy the animals. My riding lesson is actually like my weekly therapy session, it keeps me sane. My boss knows better than to schedule me for off premesis meetings or training that could interfere with it! I show because I do like to challenge myself from time to time. As timid as I am, overfacing myself is not something I worry about. I mean, I started showing as an adult in beginner hunter, which is about as basic as it comes. I enjoy being with my super supportive friends, and having a little pressure to perform for my own satisfaction. When I first came back, I said that I didn't want to jump, and that I wouldn't show. Obviously that didn't last long.

I do have another free session with my personal trainer I can use, and she has horses. We designed my original program around improving core and balance for riding. Maybe we can step it up a bit.

AliCat
Apr. 11, 2011, 12:37 PM
I am at work right now, and the barn owner who coached me yesterday might be making a transaction with us. She just had my boss on the phone and told him that I rode really well yesterday at the show, so that did make me feel a bit better :)

I redeemed myself after schooling :lol:

Bogie
Apr. 11, 2011, 12:46 PM
Certainly an upper respiratory infection could make you more tired. Yes, having a "dry land" fitness program helps your riding.

But I still think that it's the time in the saddle that builds the riding muscles and the "feel" that gives you confidence. Because when you've been riding more you are more tuned into how your horse is moving under you and your body responds from muscle memory rather than from your brain trying to catch up. It is completely normal for people to ride at 80% of their ability at shows because they are nervous. Almost everyone experiences some degree of anxiety. That's why many people compete a level below what they are schooling at home. You can listen to the sports psychologists or, as my eventing trainer used to do, have us take a sip from the flask before XC, but if you are not strong enough to stay on or get tired too easily, you will part company with your horse when everything doesn't go according to plan.

I've been in your shoes -- only able to ride once a week -- and it's very, very hard to progress with that program. If riding is therapy, why not take some of the pressure off of yourself and just enjoy the experience instead of pushing yourself to compete?

It sounds like you still have fear left over from a previous incident and if you are pushing your envelope right now to achieve more when you are limited in how much you are able to ride, you increase your chance of having a problem when natural nerves kick in.

Personally, when I'm not able to ride much for a week or two, or I'm not feeling great, I scale back my expectations. That might mean missing a hunt or choosing to hilltop rather than jump. The older I get, the more I listen to my body.

I know that's not the answer you want to hear, but that's what I've experienced.

fargaloo
Apr. 11, 2011, 12:49 PM
That's great -- sounds like you are showing for all the right reasons.

It's great that your personal trainer is a rider and can keep developing a program for you. I have realized how important it is to switch up your program to prevent getting stuck on a fitness plateau. (And for the record, I used to roll my eyes big time at the concept of a "personal trainer" -- sounded way too Hollywood-chi-chi for my simple tastes ;). Now my family roll their eyes when I say, "Well, my trainer Kayla says...")

Best of luck to you!!

fargaloo
Apr. 11, 2011, 12:59 PM
By the way, I don't see anything unrealistic about your goals with a 1-day-a-week riding program. It sounds as if you are an experienced re-rider, in a supervised program, riding well-schooled horses over 2' fences. It's not like you are saying that you are planning to event at Prelim on a 1 x week schedule... ;)

AliCat
Apr. 11, 2011, 01:16 PM
Certainly an upper respiratory infection could make you more tired. Yes, having a "dry land" fitness program helps your riding.

But I still think that it's the time in the saddle that builds the riding muscles and the "feel" that gives you confidence. Because when you've been riding more you are more tuned into how your horse is moving under you and your body responds from muscle memory rather than from your brain trying to catch up. It is completely normal for people to ride at 80% of their ability at shows because they are nervous. Almost everyone experiences some degree of anxiety. That's why many people compete a level below what they are schooling at home. You can listen to the sports psychologists or, as my eventing trainer used to do, have us take a sip from the flask before XC, but if you are not strong enough to stay on or get tired too easily, you will part company with your horse when everything doesn't go according to plan.

I've been in your shoes -- only able to ride once a week -- and it's very, very hard to progress with that program. If riding is therapy, why not take some of the pressure off of yourself and just enjoy the experience instead of pushing yourself to compete?

It sounds like you still have fear left over from a previous incident and if you are pushing your envelope right now to achieve more when you are limited in how much you are able to ride, you increase your chance of having a problem when natural nerves kick in.

Personally, when I'm not able to ride much for a week or two, or I'm not feeling great, I scale back my expectations. That might mean missing a hunt or choosing to hilltop rather than jump. The older I get, the more I listen to my body.

I know that's not the answer you want to hear, but that's what I've experienced.

Like I said, I do not take showing seriously, I do not get any pressure from anyone to compete. I do it for myself, to prove to myself that I can do it. I rarely know what place I got as I just go and ride the course to the best of my ability. You will never find me checking result sheets in the office.

I think you are spot on about listening to my body. I was SOOO sick the night before, I was in bed by 8pm. If I had felt that bad the next morning, there is no way I would have gotten on. I did feel that I should show because I was using a school horse and that other people had made special accomodations for me to be able to show this particular horse that I am enjoying in this division. If it was me hauling out to a show myself, I would have stayed in bed. In that aspect, I did not want to let the staff down or cancel last minute.




That's great -- sounds like you are showing for all the right reasons.

It's great that your personal trainer is a rider and can keep developing a program for you. I have realized how important it is to switch up your program to prevent getting stuck on a fitness plateau. (And for the record, I used to roll my eyes big time at the concept of a "personal trainer" -- sounded way too Hollywood-chi-chi for my simple tastes ;). Now my family roll their eyes when I say, "Well, my trainer Kayla says...")

Best of luck to you!!

Great idea. Changing the routine could be a great thing.


By the way, I don't see anything unrealistic about your goals with a 1-day-a-week riding program. It sounds as if you are an experienced re-rider, in a supervised program, riding well-schooled horses over 2' fences. It's not like you are saying that you are planning to event at Prelim on a 1 x week schedule... ;)

Like I said, I am so fortunate to have a great place to ride with supportive staff and peers, as well as saintly schoolies. I realize how hard that is to come across :)

indygirl2560
Apr. 11, 2011, 02:10 PM
I second the sports psychologist suggestion. My barn held a clinic with one last year, that I participated in, and I found that it did help. For me, it was mainly breathing! At that point, I had just started riding with a new trainer on a new horse and I still wasn't very comfortable with either yet. The clinician had me focus specifically on my breathing and it actually helped me relax since I had something to focus on other than what crazy horse was doing!

Feel free to PM me for more info.

benni
Apr. 11, 2011, 03:41 PM
It sounds as if perhaps you're not mounted with suitability in mind. Suitability is paramount - or maybe your horse needs more training rides. It is not normal to fall off so much. The other reason may be the rider's fitness - if you are a weekend warrior - you might need to talk to a trainer at a gym and figure out some exercises you could do during the week to help. Hope this helps.

AliCat
Apr. 11, 2011, 04:08 PM
It sounds as if perhaps you're not mounted with suitability in mind. Suitability is paramount - or maybe your horse needs more training rides. It is not normal to fall off so much. The other reason may be the rider's fitness - if you are a weekend warrior - you might need to talk to a trainer at a gym and figure out some exercises you could do during the week to help. Hope this helps.

So much? I have fallen off a total of 5 times in 4 years. Even riding once a week, I do not consider that a lot. I said that at 2 shows I came off horses used for walk trot lessons. The only horse that is more mellow and predictable requires a quarter inserted, and is found in the WalMart breezeway. I'm just not willing to go there for my weekly therapy :lol:

This particular horse (from this last show) got a very different schooling once it became apparent that I was not 100%. Suitablity and safety is always priority. I am more than willing to ride a horse that is a couple steps below my best ability if it means I am safer.

kahhull
Apr. 11, 2011, 05:25 PM
I'm with you in trying to balance riding and showing with a busy schedule. We're not all born with money, so some of us have to work our butts off to be able to afford our equine therapy. Not to mention I like my job and see no problem keeping both in my life.

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with a couple schooling shows a year and riding once a week. That's what schooling shows are for.

I also have a tendency to get stiff and nervous at shows. Two things that have helped me:

1) Spending more time in the show ring. My barn used to have a schooling show about once a month, and I tried to get into at least a class or two on any horse I could find just to get myself in the ring. Flat classes or small jumps, depending on the horse I had that day. I also generally ended up on a lot of babies that needed some ring time, and putting up with their silliness helped to take some pressure off. When the baby is going to trot sideways and neigh back to her friends at the barn despite anything I do, it just becomes funny.

2) For some reason, being in my show clothes always tends to make me less confident. Not just the boots (though that's part of it, with their slipperyness) but also being in a hunt coat, a shirt with a choker, and a different helmet all make me feel more stiff and just less confident. Throwing on your hunt coat to school every once in a while (weather permitting - wouldn't recommend this if it's 100 degrees out) or riding in your show helmet might help you get more comfortable and at least eliminate one potential source of stress. If you're struggling mentally, being physically uncomfortable won't help.

Really, I think it's something you just get more comfortable with the more you do it. Keep doing your schooling shows at a level you're more than comfortable with and your confidence will slowly but surely come back.

benni
Apr. 11, 2011, 06:35 PM
oh, sorry! - should have read it more thoroughly! It probably just touched off I nerve I have about suitability! One of my pet peeves! I have seen so many mis-haps bc of that that it bugs me. My bad.

AliCat
Apr. 11, 2011, 07:02 PM
oh, sorry! - should have read it more thoroughly! It probably just touched off I nerve I have about suitability! One of my pet peeves! I have seen so many mis-haps bc of that that it bugs me. My bad.

Not a problem. One of the reasons I like this program so much is the diversity in mounts, and the patience of the instructors. They are def on the cautious take it slow wagon.