Contributed by: Windy Griffith, Rebel Barrel & Performance Horses
Nothing is easy in training a good horse no matter your discipline. Becoming a winning team is an obstacle every competitor faces. A lot of times we get down on ourselves and our horse, which creates tension and anxiety often times holding us back in competition.
There are so many variables in making a good showing of your horse; however, there is one very big variable that YOU DO have control over, and that’s creating the right atmosphere for YOU and your HORSE. Focus on one thing and that’s to have the goal to do your best THAT DAY!
So, how do you take the nerves and anxiety of knowing things may not go the way you want? My personal realization is God has given you the desire to do what you want to be doing. He has placed that horse in your care and has a plan. Think about all the people in the world that would love to be in your shoes, owning and competing with their horse. Do not doubt yourself or your horse, instead embrace the plan laid before you.
One lesson I have learned is do not go into the arena wanting to win… Go in wanting to do your best and have a game plan for that day. Before I go to a race, I focus on what I have been practicing the week prior and pick one thing I want to achieve in the upcoming race.
It’s never a good idea to have multiple goals for one competition. For example, hand placement will be my focus at the next competition. Focus on setting a realistic goal and doing your best vs. wanting to just win. This approach will build your confidence and set you up for success.
A few things to do after every competition is to take away one negative and two positives. Address the negative by doing your homework in the practice pen. Moreover, focus on the positives. Remember, there is always something to be happy about and only you can set the positive mood for you and your horse at the next competition.
Before you start your competition, think about how blessed you are to be there. The plan for you and your horse is already in motion. Having TRUE FAITH will melt away any nerves or anxiety.
How do you deal with your nerves and anxiety before a competition?
(Leave your comments and responses to Windy below.)
Windy Griffith is a Two Time Reserve World Champion Barrel Racer and Pole Bender. She is a professional trainer and clinician with almost 20 years of experience. Her mission is to help others reach their own goals in competition and horsemanship.
Learn more by following her at Rebel Barrel Horses on Facebook!