‘The whip can be an effective training tool if used at the correct time and with the correct pressure. This is the same when focussing on your breathing.’ Dr Lynn Pal
I will now discuss ‘riders block’ or ‘competition nerves’ or as I will refer to it psychological anxiety. Symptoms include increased heart rate, sensation of a thumping heart ‘palpitations’, shaking/tremor, sweating, feeling sick ‘nausea’, chest pains, headaches, stomach pains, knot in the stomach, shallow fast breathing and blushing easily. You may only experience some of these symptoms. These symptoms may occur before/during competitions, before/during riding, before/during lessons, or even thinking about riding or thinking about your horse, to name a few. Riders can develop these symptoms following an injury to horse/rider, bad performance, or knowing their performance should have been better. This psychological anxiety can easily be treated, however before treatment can commence the cause needs to identified. It is the role of a trained professional to find the cause and treat. If you continue to ride and ignore the problem it will not go away. Instead it will be stored in the brain subconsciously. This stored information can be triggered by smells, sights and sounds leading to unexpected psychological anxiety occurring at any time and in any situation. If you do not treat this anxiety it may have the same effect as you riding your horse when you have broken your arm. You may be lucky and still win classes but you will start to lose the enjoyment of riding and the anxiety will increase which will affect your motivation and confidence. You will not ride to the best of your ability.