Thursday, April 21, 2011

Horse Show Woes...

My Version of Positive Thinking...
My barn buddy had her first horse show of the season last week.  She experienced her usual case of nerves, mild panic, and pre-show remorse, and I did the requisite good-friend things, providing a WORD document with pre-show checklist, appropriate verbal reinforcement when necessary, and occasional jokes to lighten the mood.

She is now providing me with the same support, as I have my first show in just a few days.  As soon as I committed to it the nausea started, followed quickly by an endless loop of mental movies showing one potential trauma after another.  I don't worry about falling off, or mild GPS issues.  I've done that, it doesn't bother me overmuch.  My mental pictures involve catastrophic falls and injuries to horse or rider.

Why do I put myself through this, you ask?  Hell if I know.  It's not like I live for the ribbons.  Truthfully, I don't get many of them.  I get more out of going in to the ring and proving I can pull up my Big Girl Pants, overcome these ridiculous fears, and do it.  My friend and I joke that coming out on the other side alive and having ridden well is more important than coming out alive and with a pretty piece of nylon to show for it. Though to be honest, I should point out that any ribbon I have managed to win with my mare is proudly displayed...

So, to prepare for the Big Day, I have:

1) Gotten in an extra pre-show lesson.

2) Re-watched the Jane Savoie segment of the 2011 George H. Morris Horsemastership Clinic.  I am the queen of negative thinking, and this lecture talks about how success depends on the right attitude and attitude is a choice.  She also talks about how to re-program your negative thinking with positive visualization and anchoring.

3) Re-watched some the 2011 FEI Rolex World Cup coverage online, paying specific attention to the course diagrams.  After they show the course, I pause it.  Then I try to break it down in segments, and then ultimately try to remember the entire course.  Yeah, feel free to call me a complete whackadoo, but GPS issues are common when you're my age and have what feels like early Alzheimer's symptoms.

4) I've taken the time to sit down in a quiet room and visualize how I want the day to go.  I see myself getting up on time, remembering everything I need, getting to the show on time and then having a successful warm up.  I envision a course, which my mare and I jump cleanly and in the correct order.  I see her listening to me and I see myself smiling at the end of the course.  I then see her enjoying multiple carrots while I enjoy a post-division bagel and mimosa.

5) Laundered all Sugar's sheets, wraps, pads, etc.  Laundered and set out my lucky breeches, shirt, and socks.  Boots are polished and gloves, extra pins, aspirin, Xanax (just kidding!) band-aids, spurs, USEF card, and checkbook are in my show bag.  GPS is programmed with address of showgrounds, and car is filled with gas. Have ordered bagels and spreads to be picked up tomorrow, and have mimosa fixings and thermos ready.

All I need to do is get there and put plan in action...Will let you know how it turns out.

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