Oregon, sitting on my couch looking out the window at a mountain
I'm confused about why you are asking this on the eventing board when you are a DQ...
And, "thru" is properly spelled as "through" - but I'm sure you know that.
I agree with the video - having your lessons or just practice rides taped brings you to a different place in your ride. Just today my mom videotaped me and I wanted to be "perfect" because I knew I was being taped. It created some tension and hesitation in my ride . . . until my horse spooked at some deer mucking about in the bushes. Then I had to sit up and ride. Then my horse went better.
I'm also working with a "cowgirl" instead of my dressage trainer. I see how she pushes my horse farther than I would. And he respects her and he feels better to me under saddle after the "cowgirl" warm-up vs. my dressage lesson warm-up. That shows me that I can ask more of him and get better work by asking him to step it up and participate a bit more.
I have dealt with this issue too. My coach would say I’m not working hard enough between sessions. And sometimes even in sessions. I also had the problem of worrying about being mean to the horse.
It was a focus problem, plus a fitness problem. I needed to learn to keep my focus for longer periods of time (this takes work) and to be fitter so I could demand more of myself and my horse for those longer periods.
My main goal when training is to focus on having forward and connection while also working on my position, until I’m out of breath. Then a walk break, then do it again. At the end of the session I should be sweaty and out of breath. Otherwise I probably didn’t work hard enough, or ask my horse enough.
I did speak with a sports psychologist and focus was a big take-away. Practice focus at work (getting longer periods of mental focus) as well as while riding. If you are too tired to focus after work, then consider changing your schedule so you ride before work. Plan your day so that you can have the best ride possible. This was a biggie for me – failing to plan! (He has a book, which I found helpful – The Thinking Rider by Robert Schinke.)
To deal with the “mean” part takes time. You have to be confident in yourself as a trainer, and know that 90% of the time you are telling your horse the right things and making the right corrections. Or as someone else said, “Even if you don't feel like you send mixed messages, lacking the self confidence to be right in your riding will be noticed by the horse.”
Only you and your coach can figure this one out. I guess finding the right ratio of working on your own vesus working within lessons.
A last thought from my own experience. I thought I had “fear of failure/perfectionism” for a long time. As I worked through some of these issues, I realized it was more of the opposite. I had a fear of success. If I was successful, I’d have a standard to live up to that I would have to meet and there would be expectations etc. Instead, by failing to plan, or having the excuse that we weren’t able to be perfect because we weren’t perfect at home (yet), I could tell myself that we “did the best we could” or we did better than I expected or we “only had 2 rails” or “we stayed in the ring” etc. When deep down what I really wanted was to finish on my dressage score or finally have a clear stadium round. So I had to raise my own standards AT HOME (which I think is what you are saying) and start demanding good performances at home, so that it would be realistic to go to a show and try to recreate those good performances.
You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng
If your muscle-memory knows how to do the job, just get on the horse and do the job. Get. On. With. It. without over-thinking ANY of it. Your inner demons can't attack if you don't leave yourself open to their incursions.
The trick when you get to the event is to keep yourself so intensely focused on each and every piece of the task, even down to putting on your spurs, that you can't self-talk or allow your mental focus to split into ego/superego AT ALL.
Only way I ever got it done . . . with a lot of success.