Enforced time out of the saddle during lockdown combined with a cancelled competition calendar, can all increase riding and competition nerves. In this blog, we look at ways you can create that winning mindset for equestrian life after lockdown.
Keep Your Fitness Up Keeping your fitness up is going to be crucial to your return to the saddle with confidence and physical ability. Our Sponsored Dressage Rider, Rachael Lane has been incorporating running and yoga into her exercise routine at home during the lockdown, and as she explains, it's going to benefit her fitness and balance;
" Yoga is great for strengthening, stretching and focusing on balance. Very often, we are so busy focusing on our horses' way of going, we don't truly get the opportunity to look at our body weaknesses or imbalances. Lockdown is an opportunity to focus on you and help improve these aspects so that when you do return to the saddle, you are stronger, more balanced and fitter than before."
Making Plans & Goals While it's challenging to know how to make immediate plans right now, you can still create goals for you and your horse. Creating a list of short term goals and long term goals is a brilliant way to rustle up some positive thinking and constructive planning. Think about your short term goals in actionable, real terms. Perhaps your short term goal is the move up a level in dressage. Think about the areas that you and your horse need to work on to achieve that goal. Then put in place a plan to action the steps to achieve that goal once lockdown is over.
For example; 'work on the medium trot and improve transitions then compete HC for and ride an elementary test or enter an online dressage test at that level for judges' feedback.'
Longer-term goals might be to jump a 3* cross-country courseor compete at county level showing or at the National Dressage Championships . Again, think about the practical steps that will take you there and some alternative routes to your end goals (after all, horses and life don't always go to plan, so be adaptable in how you plan to reach your goal).
Think Positive Staying positive is easier said than done, and in the current situation, it can be challenging to think positively about your riding and future competition performance. However, a positive mindset can have a considerable impact on your return to the saddle and competitive riding. Doing some positive mental exercises during the lockdown and some positive visualisation are areas you can efficiently work on at home and also give you some tools to help direct your thoughts and mind into a confident direction. There are lots of free and paid for podcasts and online courses relating to riding, so search for one that fits your needs and feel empowered!