Thursday, May. 30, 2024

Four Leaf Clovers, Lucky Socks & Super Heroes: Pre-Cross-Country Rituals

Good luck charms, superstitions, special routines—everyone has their own unique way of warming up their mentality before a challenging cross-country test. Hear some tips from the top.
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Bromont, Quebec—June 5   

Good luck charms, superstitions, special routines—there’s more that goes into a CCI*** cross-country trip than traditional preparation and amazing talent. It’s all about rider and horse mentality, so we asked top competitors at the Jaguar Land Rover Three-Day Event about their mantras before heading to the start box.

Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

Matt Brown

“One thing is that I give all of my horses super hero alter-identities. Super Socks is Superman, so I wear Superman socks,” said Brown, who also watches motivational sports videos he’s recorded on his phone. “There’s one Olympic montage that I watch that really jazzes me up!”

Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

Lauren Kieffer

“I always sit down and listen to music and play a game on my phone and drink a Red Bull,” she said. Kieffer’s genre and game of choice? Rocking out to some Candy Crush.

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Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

Selena O’Hanlon

“I’ve always had lucky socks; my idol and trainer Bruce Davidson had lucky socks and so I got into that,” said O’Hanlon, who wears socks that say, ‘I <3 my horse’ made by her sponsor JoJoSox. “I do have a four-leaf clover in my medical armband that my friend Nicole Parkin picked for me at Jersey Fresh a long time ago when I rode Columbo. And other than that, if I get really nervous and I have a really long time to go, I either walk the course a million times or I go to sleep!”

Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

Boyd Martin

Martin, known for his fancy for felines, doesn’t get so hyped up, instead opting for a cat nap. “I like to have a lie-down in the tack room and get a little bit of sleep, then think through the course,” he said.
 

Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

Marilyn Little

“I go back to the things that have held true for me, regardless of whether I’m show jumping or going cross-country. So I’ve said it to myself before every grand prix, every time I feel my heart skipping a beat: make sure that while I’m looking at the big picture, I’m thinking about the plan—you have to jump one jump at a time. It’s easy to get caught up in the magnitude of the whole situation,” said Little, who realized in her early show jumping days that smoother jump-offs were ultimately faster. “The smoother I was, the faster they were. So I think, ‘one jump at a time, and as smooth as possible.’ ”

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Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

Sharon White

“I’m very particular about my whip; I use the same whip, the same sweater, the same everything!” she said. “And I meditate before I go cross-country.”

Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

Ryan Wood

Wood reminds himself to “just stay cool. If you think about each combination as a separate schooling exercise, individual parts, and simplify it, rather than think about it as an entire course, then it looks quite doable.”

Want more advice from the top? Yesterday we asked CCI*** competitors about what’s on their mind heading down the centerline for dressage and covered Selena O’Hanlon’s lead in that division.

For rull results, click here.

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