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Competition Attitude

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        12-12-2013, 10:14 PM
      #11
    Weanling
    Repetition usually works her up. The second she figures something out, she anticipates it and tends to ignore me. A good twist on that exercise that you mentioned would be to throw transitions in on the circle or give her a long approach and sometimes a really short approach etc.

    I've fixed this problem almost completely on the flat. We've gotten to the point where we can actually practice our dressage test a couple times and she listens to me still. She's just too smart for her own good.
         
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        12-12-2013, 10:33 PM
      #12
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ashsunnyeventer    
    So starting with dressage. I usually have a wonderful warm up and as soon as we enter the ring, we get stiff, nervous and stuff starts falling apart. Or at least that's how it feels to me, but my scores never reflect that. I often come out of dressage thinking that there is no hope for placing at all, but recieve a score that just blows my mind.

    Trust me, the horse isn't that nervous about being in the ring, your horse is reacting to YOU being nervous in the ring. You need to MAKE yourself relax before you go into the ring. Make this an "act" you perform. Practice hearing the bell and let your body totally soften and relax. The more you practice this, the more natural it will become. Trust me, it works.

    I rode with a coach who had a sport psychologist work with us. It made a big difference.

    Quote:
    You know how some people are terrified of XC? Well that's how SJ is for me. Im not sure why I get so nervous, but it might have to do with the fact that every round I put in is messy messy messy.
    Show jumping was the phase I least liked. After all of the dressage and endurance, you are dealing with a tired horse. All it takes is the tiniest mistake to lose it all. Your dislike is understandable.

    Sounds like it is time for some training for discipline over fences. I see far too many people go to eventing because their horse is too rowdy to do hunters. However, SJ is no place for a rowdy horse with no discipline.

    Quote:
    Since we have moved up to novice we havent had any penalties though (probably just pure luck and my horse saving my butt). When I walk my SJ courses I usually feel pretty confident about most of it, but there's always one or two things that make me think I can't do it.
    Another place for sports psychology. You need to visualize that you are supremely confident. It helps to "become" an event rider you strongly admire. Approach that course the way you feel that rider would do it. Practice this visualization, because it works!

    I got a student who had taken a couple of bad falls on XC. It totally shook her confidence to the point that she couldn't even trot across a pasture. We practiced the ability to "pretend" to be someone she admired. Within a short time, her practice became habit and she was competing confidently again.

    Quote:
    My mom has pointed out to me that whenever I walk my XC courses for shows I am very negative. I will say things along the lines of "we can't do this" "no way she would ever jump that" and "I don't even have to worry about that jump because we won't even get past the first jump."
    Wow, where is your coach when you eat yourself up this way? A good coach tells you everything you need to know that jump inside and out so that there are very few surprises. Knowledge is power.

    Quote:
    The thing is- I have no reason to say these things because we have never had a XC penalty and I placed first in the last three shows of the season. I love XC- it is my favorite and one of the only reasons I event and it doesn't scare me. So why do I say this? (I didn't even realize I was doing it- it was other people that pointed it out to me)
    Because the only thing you are PRACTICING is being negative. You need to catch yourself and "pretend" you are completely positive. Look at that jump like you are an Olympic rider looking at it. CONVINCE yourself it is well within your abilities (you have proven that it is).

    Quote:
    At home I'm confident with my flatting, but I really don't jump her that often. When I do, it's a hot mess and I usually walk away feeling worse thatn when I started.
    So, because it is unpleasant, you ignore it? It will never be fixed that way. You need to find a coach who can work with you and show you how to ride her behaviors. Riding a hot horse takes a person who can really calm themselves so that they transmit calmness and confidence to their horse. Often, the horse's behavior mirrors the lack of confidence they feel from their rider.

    Quote:
    I also have this thing where I refuse to take her on trail rides because she was wild the last few times and I don't want to give her the opportunity to misbehave again. I like to be happy with her so we just work on things that I actually see improvement in (aka flatting and conditioning).
    Again, avoiding her bad behavior allows it to persist. Bad behavior doesn't disappear, it is trained away. Go on the trail and MAKE yourself relax while riding. Half halt, then praise the moment the horse slows/calms. Keep praising for even the tiniest moments of better behavior. Just persist calmly in the corrections until she gives you that tiny moment you can reward. This really does work, but not overnight. Again practice!

    Quote:
    So I think its time to change my negativity because its not fair to my horse. She has done nothing to deserve my lack of faith in her and I want shows to start being fun and relaxed like they use to with my old guy instead of fun but nerve wracking like they are now. I just felt like I needed to write this down some where and if you guys have any suggestions on how to think positively, let me know!

    Sorry for the book
    Your lack of faith is not in her, but in yourself and your ability to pull off the show. I wish you were close enough to NC for me to work with your attitude. You, obviously, have the skills. It is your mind holding you back and keeping this from being fun.

    When I get a new student. I ask them if it is really important for them to have blue ribbons. If they say yes, I hand them a roll of blue ribbon. I tell them that now that this obstacle is over, they can have fun at shows. My students all laugh and have a good time. Because of their relaxed approach, they are often very successful (and win lots of those nice blue ribbons).
         
        12-12-2013, 10:57 PM
      #13
    Weanling
    Thanks for all that great advice! Starting from the top:
    -I know I must get nervous in dressage too, I'm not totally blaming in on her. I just don't feel nervous. The past few shows I've been just forgetting about anything and everything except for how she feels once I enter the ring. It's worked out pretty well except last time I skipped part of my test, but oh well- not the first time and not the last time it will happen.
    - I've never done a 3 day event so I always have show jumping before XC. I think its just the pressure of SJ? But I'm not even sure why I feel pressure becasue no one has any expectations of me.
    -I'm working on that discipline, but as you said- it doesn't come over night. I've just started doing some baby hunter stuff with my other horse and I love the way the courses feel. I've been trying to get that with Sunny, but I'm not seeing many improvements.
    -For confidence on XC I always use to pretend that my old trainer (who told me I would never make it past BN) was watching me and I had to prove her wrong. Maybe it's time to start doing that again.
    -My coach doesn't come to shows with me. I have weekly dressage lessons with her and that's it. It's just me and my mom and sometimes a friend who takes pictures. I like relying on myself better. Plus I know HOW to ride these fences, I'm just not sure if it will actually happen the way I know it should.
    - I know my habit of ignoring problems is an issue and every now and again I get a burst of "I'm going to fix it and nothing is going to stop me!" That usually lasts for a week or until it rains and we can't go outside or something like that. The jumps have just been moved to the indoor for the winter though, so I'm actually going to face these problems.
    - I wish I was close to someone who could fix me too lol. My trainer is an eventer, but she is a DQ first and always. Her flat lessons are AMAZING and we get so much accomplished. Jumping lessons on the other hand seem like they're too much for us to handle. It ends up being "you need balance and rhythm and suppleness all at the same time, right now" While I know that this is how it is supposed to be (jumping is just dressage with obstacles and all that), there is no gradual build up to it. Its an all or nothing sort of an attitude. If we do it over and over again and there isn't a large improvement- the exercise doesn't change or get easier to help us get to where we need to be. I find it counter productive so I don't ask for jumping lessons anymore. And its just the opposite for XC. I find it way too easy and when I've talked to her about it, she agreed that I was ready for more, but I never saw a change. And I'm not allowed to take lessons with other people, or I run the risk of being asked to leave. So it's just me, myself, and I, and the occasional clinic.

    Yes I enjoy getting blue ribbons (or any colored ribbon :)) but what I really enjoy is seeing my mare improve. I guess show results are just my way of measuring that.
         
        12-13-2013, 12:26 AM
      #14
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ashsunnyeventer    

    - I've never done a 3 day event so I always have show jumping before XC. I think its just the pressure of SJ? But I'm not even sure why I feel pressure becasue no one has any expectations of me.
    Maybe no one is putting pressure on you, but you are doing it to yourself. The problem with SJ is that it is unforgiving most of the time. One little mistake.......AND, if you are riding a rowdy undisciplined horse, anything is likely to happen.

    Quote:
    -I'm working on that discipline, but as you said- it doesn't come over night. I've just started doing some baby hunter stuff with my other horse and I love the way the courses feel. I've been trying to get that with Sunny, but I'm not seeing many improvements.
    Every horse has to be ridden the way THAT horse needs to be ridden. Every horse is different. No "cookie cutters" when it comes to riding a SJ course. You just needs clues on how to ride a hot rowdy horse. This takes a very different approach than that needed with most other types of horses.

    Quote:
    -For confidence on XC I always use to pretend that my old trainer (who told me I would never make it past BN) was watching me and I had to prove her wrong. Maybe it's time to start doing that again.
    NO! You will be building negative on negative. SHAME on your former coach for saying such a thing! Turn it around to being positive. Say to yourself....no problem, I can DO this!

    Don't allow that coach to do any more damage than she already has done.

    Quote:
    -My coach doesn't come to shows with me. I have weekly dressage lessons with her and that's it. It's just me and my mom and sometimes a friend who takes pictures. I like relying on myself better. Plus I know HOW to ride these fences, I'm just not sure if it will actually happen the way I know it should.
    Find another local coach that is GOOD that you can go to the show with. Many coaches has multiple riders and one more is just fine. Get one that will walk the courses with you, or pay a coach there to walk with you. This is important! You need to learn to look at the jumps the way the HORSES see them. A good show coach, especially early in your career is critical.

    Quote:
    - I know my habit of ignoring problems is an issue and every now and again I get a burst of "I'm going to fix it and nothing is going to stop me!" That usually lasts for a week or until it rains and we can't go outside or something like that. The jumps have just been moved to the indoor for the winter though, so I'm actually going to face these problems.
    I hope you don't have to do this alone. Riding a horse with issues will be tough to fix without help from someone who really understands that kind of horse.

    Quote:
    - I wish I was close to someone who could fix me too lol. My trainer is an eventer, but she is a DQ first and always. Her flat lessons are AMAZING and we get so much accomplished. Jumping lessons on the other hand seem like they're too much for us to handle. It ends up being "you need balance and rhythm and suppleness all at the same time, right now" While I know that this is how it is supposed to be (jumping is just dressage with obstacles and all that), there is no gradual build up to it. Its an all or nothing sort of an attitude. If we do it over and over again and there isn't a large improvement- the exercise doesn't change or get easier to help us get to where we need to be. I find it counter productive so I don't ask for jumping lessons anymore. And its just the opposite for XC. I find it way too easy and when I've talked to her about it, she agreed that I was ready for more, but I never saw a change. And I'm not allowed to take lessons with other people, or I run the risk of being asked to leave. So it's just me, myself, and I, and the occasional clinic.
    I am just sitting here shaking my head. Your coach has little confidence in herself if she refuses to let you learn from other instructors. I encourage my students to clinic. They usually come back and say they have heard most of that before....

    I would load my horse in a trailer and simply go to another farm for the day. She has no right to monitor that. Heck, Maryland isn't THAT far from NC......

    Quote:
    Yes I enjoy getting blue ribbons (or any colored ribbon :)) but what I really enjoy is seeing my mare improve. I guess show results are just my way of measuring that.
    Yes, if you have a coach who doesn't see the "big picture" that is all you may have as a measure.
         
        12-13-2013, 01:29 AM
      #15
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck    
    If you ever figure out the answer to this question, let me know what it is!
    From a somewhat outside point of view I would think in part it's because
    XC is what you DO, if you want to do SJ you do SJ!
    XC gets your adrenaline up and you are running and going, and focusing on the jump and doing the jump.
    SJ it's easy to sit there and overanalyze. It is more technical and especially for a worrier (stop worrying!) you will wayyy stress yourself out. You can also see the course all at once and all the room, or lack thereof, to work with. Instead of analyzing one jump at a time you are analyzing multiple jumps.. and how to maneuver to those jumps. Definitely more stressful and without the adrenaline rush I am sure you get from XC (especially since you are dreading SJ) it all snowballs. Adrenaline helps you focus and NOT overthink.

    You could try (again, relatively outside source!) thinking of your SJ the way you do XC. If you can do it without messing up your distances try to think of it as jump/gallop through woods/jump....jump/turn/jump/turn, etc will stress you out. Try pausing in between (mentally!). Jump/(measure strides but try NOT to think about it, think MOVE) THEN jump. Spacing it out might help.

    I could be completely wrong, I work at an eventing barn but have limited experience and don't show myself, but that answer just seemed "obvious" to me. Hopefully me looking in helps!


    (and yes your mare looks VERY hot O/F, though as said I think she's reading you some)
         
        12-13-2013, 01:30 AM
      #16
    Green Broke
    If your "issues" are with jumping (being negative/hot horse/stress about SJ) maybe you should focus more on a jumping coach for the time being.
         
        12-13-2013, 06:43 AM
      #17
    Weanling
    My coach is fine with clinics. Well not toally "fine" with all of the clinics I go to, but I can go to them and not get "in trouble". The thing is, I board at the same place where I take lessons. It is close to my house, the facilities are awesome, the care is great, my horses are happy, and it's not that expensive. We've though about leaving, but no other place is even close to this one. So we're stuck- leaving is not an option. If I took a lesson with another trainer, I would be asked to leave (just like the last person that did it) and I can't risk that.

    My trainer leaves for one week a few times a year to go to Germany where she takes clinics. During this time I was going to try to take a lesson with someone else, but in a smaller town, everyone knows everyone.

    [QUOTE]I hope you don't have to do this alone. Riding a horse with issues will be tough to fix without help from someone who really understands that kind of horse.
    /QUOTE]
    How did you know... lol. My trainer is not a thoroughbred person at all. They have a different mind, which she has a difficult time working with. I'm lucky that Sunny fits into her "mold" for dressage, so we are able to make a lot of progress.

    I know my situation is not ideal, but it is what I have to work with and it will not be changing in the near future. We're going to all be stuck together inside this winter, so my coach might finally do something (or not do something) that is that last straw, but for now I just have to work with it.
         
        12-15-2013, 01:24 PM
      #18
    Weanling
    So I just came across some videos of our SJ at some of the shows this fall. The first one is what I would consider my best SJ round on her. It just felt good (even though that saddle was too small for both of us). The second video is a round that felt like the usual sloppy round. Looking at them now, I don't see too much of a difference, though. My trainer has told me before that- my mare looks completely different than she feels. Not exactly sure what she meant by that, but these videos show two average rounds (in my opinion) and they felt very different. What do you guys think?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wi3rYfyCc80

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZwG_n8BMbY
         
        12-18-2013, 09:35 PM
      #19
    Trained
    Wow, if you think that is sloppy, you should see my old jumping rounds. We jumped half the fences sideways. I'll take your definition of sloppy any time. The only thing I see is she tries to suck back on approach, loses impulsion and kind of pops some of the fences.
         
        12-18-2013, 10:45 PM
      #20
    Weanling
    Well that's what I'm saying. I never saw these before, but they don't look that bad. They did not feel this good for sure.

    And the sucking back you're talking about- I always thought that was me getting her to a really deep spot. Could it just be as easy as keeping more leg on? And in the first video with the second jump where she almost jumps from a standstill- that was all me. I didn't see a spot so I coiled her up so she could jump from a weird spot. I just did it way too close to the fence. I hate jumping just plain verticals, so most of the jumps where I really work her into a spot like that are going to be verticals.

    I guess looking back and comparing these videos is a pretty good thing. This video was taken when she was almost one year off the track and a year earlier from the videos above. It was a pretty good, successful day for us back then...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-oq9osZLdM

    In other news... She's been very stiff and unwilling the past few days. The chiro has already left for Aiken, so she got three days off, two doses of Bute, and liniment twice a day for three days. I let her loose in the indoor tonight and she jumped a jump by herself, galloped a couple laps, and then did her "circus pony" tricks and did a full pirouette on just her hind legs. I'm riding her tomorrow, so it should be interesting.
         

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