Are you ready to get back into competition?

Are you ready to get back into competition?

Are you ready to get back into competition? Are you nervous or anxious about getting back in the ring? We asked accredited coach Karen Nicholas to share a few words of wisdom for us to help ease the mind-set about getting back competing.

Yes these have been unprecedented times for all from amateur to professionals, whether returning after a break or having continued your training  throughout lockdown.

Horses don’t forget, they are like computers- they will remember. We don’t forget, muscle memory kicks in. What we have to remember is that everything comes down to mind-set.

So how does a coach help riders move back towards competition after a long break, and carry with them the positive effects of lockdown.
Many riders use competition as their “yard stick” , to measure where they are at, others rely on their trusted team/coach to guide them. In general, we look for feedback in some shape or form , and this must be given and received positively, which then comes back to understanding the riders mind-set.
The mind-set of you, as the rider, is what will make the return to competition a smooth and pleasurable experience.  Using the training you’ve already had and putting it into practise is where you will achieve this positive mind-set.

An example of a personal block after a break, is the fear of appearing foolish in front of others. We feel we are being judged negatively and so on. This is a belief and not factual.
Small group lessons are very beneficial in these situations, carefully structured classes that help the rider leaveing feeling more confident and motivated.

Everything is about developing confidence. Competition is  encourage to gain experience and to see how riders react in the moment again (automatic) giving feedback in a positive manner.

Using the 3 A’s – Asses, Analyse, Adjust (if necessary)
Course walking should be done with a positive attitude and belief. As a rider, you should be walking the course with focus, watching lines, keeping your eyes up, focusing on the future and seeing yourself jumping the fence and moving away. What the mind sees the body believes.

Standing at the base of a fence seeing negative pictures will allow the emotional part of your brain to take over.
So how to manage your mind-set at competition, is about knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and managing those!  Focusing on your strengths and don’t allow yourself to think negatively. This will greatly improve your performance.  Remembering a coach should always be in the background supporting and not in the foreground.


Karen Nicholas, Accredited Professional Coach with over 40 years experience