Dressage Nerves and How I Combat Them
After 6 years away from those white boards, you can imagine how my nerves were. They were shot. In tatters. You know all the cliches.
So, with two weeks to go and I book in, requesting the big, arrogant ex hunt horse (smart choice? We’ll see). I booked in a lesson too on a different horse as it was meant to be a jumping lesson. Exposure therapy is surely the way forward here and I think this helped as it highlighted which muscles were struggling the most after my last sciatica flare up.
This did, however, make me very nervous because I wasn’t happy with my position in the videos from this lesson. I know I need to continue with my targeted work outs and set myself a goal to get back to the weights I was working with pre-having-covid. This still isn’t a lot, but I knew I needed to take it steady. I added in some light cardio at the gym on top of me regularly walking everywhere in the hope that two tests wouldn’t wind me the way a round of jumps had done.
I ordered my tests so I could learn them off by heart, so I wasn’t relying solely on the caller. This has always been my method as my dyslexia means my working memory struggles to recall the test. After 6 years off I thought now was not the time to see how well my memory works and the added security of a caller gave me a confidence boost.
Up next was the eventful watching of 101 videos of the two tests on YouTube trying to really perfect memorising the test. I also watched a range of informative videos around training for a prelim test and where to focus on building my marks. This gave me some inspiration for our warmup and helped my thought process in the ring. I decided I would make my own version after the show to look back on.
Finally, I took all the pressure off myself and said that just getting back in the ring after this long away was an incredible achievement. This wasn’t about the score; it was about having fun and that we did. The first Class was out of 8 and the second test was out of 4, so the aim was just to have fun as we weren’t guaranteed to place in P7.
“If Willian Fox-Pitt can turn the wrong way at Badminton, I can make a mistake at an unaffiliated dressage competition.”
We ended the day with a 65.68% and 67.11% and a total of 4 8’s across the two tests so I was absolutely thrilled with him, and we pulled 4th in P1. We had our dancing shoes on and big smiles all round.