We’re in the middle of competition season. Our Horslyx Ambassadors have been doing us proud so far, but there are still trophies and rosettes aplenty up for grabs in the 2015 season! With an array of experiences under their belts (both good and bad!) they’re the perfect panel to share their top tips for success from physical preparation at the yard, setting your mental attitude for the course, and performing once you step into the arena!
Horslyx Ambassador top tips for success: Preparation!
Laura Barber: “I like to keep a diary of Tally’s work, so I can make sure he’s done a bit of everything he needs to, and that way we arrive at the competition in the best mental and physical state. I make sure he’s had his last bit of canter work 3-4 days before an event, and he doesn’t like doing dressage two days in a row so I have to make sure he has an easy day before an event! By being professional in your approach to your preparation, you can be confident when you get to an event that you’re ready and capable.”
Bonnie Fishburn: “When walking the course look behind you when you reach the next fence to make sure the line you’ve walked is the straightest and shortest line that you are comfortable doing, it’s amazing how many seconds you can waste by taking a curved line rather then a straight line. If there is 15 fences on the course and you waste two seconds at each, that’s a whole 30 seconds which makes a massive difference with your time.”
Cara Shardlow: “The main thing I do to prepare myself mentally for a dressage competition is to visualise my test. I go through every movement riding it perfectly and not letting any negative thoughts about difficult parts creep into my head. This then makes it much easier to go in and ride positively. I used to learn my tests on the way to competitions but now I make sure I look through them a good week before so I can practice certain parts of the test at home. Proper planning, preparation and practice, prevents poor performance!”
Kirsty Norwood: “As soon as I know my times I write a timetable that’s taken with me in my hat bag so it is always to hand. The first time I write is my dressage time and I work backwards. So I write down when I should start my warm up, when I should start tacking up, when I should begin getting ready, what time I should arrive at the secretaries tent etc. It can stress me out if I feel I’m pushed for time or running late normally resulting in a tense dressage test so this helps me to keep on track. I also make sure my Mum knows the timetable so we are both aware of where I need to be and when!”
Horslyx Ambassador top tips for success: On the course!
Ashley Harrison: ”Take a moment to focus and breathe before you enter the ring. Here are Zeb and I before we went into the SJ at ring at Pony club Areas where we came 1st as a team and qualified for the championships! In the picture I am concentrating and deep breathing getting ready for my round.”
Laura Mannion: “At the beginning of a round finding the correct pace early is essential as is communication between horse and rider. We spend so much time getting our horses prepared but we as riders need to take the time to prepare ourselves so that as a team we can perform to our best level. This could involve being fit, rested and focused. Ultimately, always try to have fun.”
Bonnie Fishburn: “If you are struggling to make the time cross country think about where you can make up time. This doesn’t mean you have to necessarily gallop faster but think about moving your horse on as soon as they land. Don’t land and give them a pat and tell them what a good pony they’ve been, get going first and then give them a pat and some verbal encouragement.”
… And, most importantly, have fun!
Bonnie Fishburn: “Make the most of your days and invite friends round to the horse box for a tea party!”