I've had my confidence seriously knocked :-(

_jetset_

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I took Grace out to do the two Prelims yesterday and as many of you will know, was pretty nervous about riding under the judge
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I got there, warmed her up for the first test (she felt great) and literally as I walked into the arena my mind went completely blank
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I felt like I didn't know how to ride, just sat there like a complete numpty and let Grace do exactly what she pleased. I was so cross with myself and felt as though I had really let her down. Bless her, she still managed to get 65% (winner was on 65.8%) but I just felt rotten!

I was going to withdraw from the second test but my Dad said I needed to just get on with it and stop being silly... I should have listened to my instincts!

She warmed up absolutely brilliantly, I couldn't have asked for any more from her. She was taking me forwards, up in the contact and really starting to use her hind legs. She was allowing me to use both the whip and the spur without any crazy ldy behaviour and I went in feeling bloody positive.

That is until I got in the ring... Mind went blank again, and while I did actually ride her this time, I was still in a complete tizz and ended up going wrong, not just once, but twice
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Bad bad day all around!

I feel really really nervous about the Inters next weekend, whereas before this I was looking forwards to it. Those two bad tests have really upset my already fragile confidence in our performance out competing... It is making me feel as though I am going to majorly let her down next weekend
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Thunderbirds R Gone

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Aaawww!!! You sound like you've got yourself into a real tizwoz over this!

Forget about your 'bad' outing today - although coming home with another 2nd, it can't have been that bad
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If you really feel this strongly about riding under this judge and this is the sort of state you get yourself into, it might just be best in future not to go if it's him judging.

So, just stop thinking about everything that's happened today and look forward to your next outing ... and remember to ride when you go down the centre line this time
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_jetset_

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It is really knocked me back... I get nervous out competing on Grace anyway (not on Han though strangely) and really start doubting us! For example, if there are really smart horses in the collecting ring, I feel my confidence ebbing away
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I also tend to dwell on things, so it is not so easy to just forget yesterday's outing and the mistakes I made... The one thing that has really got to me is that my mare always gets a 7 for her paces (got a shiny 8 two weeks ago) and yet she got 6 yesterday
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My IDxTB gets a 6 (which I believe is correct for her) and this is certainly not the same sort of horse as I was riding yesterday
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In my opinion, a horse who gets a 6 for paces should NOT be going to the Inter Regionals next weekend!!!!

Oh, and I have broken my seconditis and got a 3rd yesterday... I came 3rd on collectives.
 

Baggybreeches

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Please Becky try and book some sessions with a sports coach. It really will help you immensely. I was in Pony Club with Jennie Killilea and she is a sports performance analyst? (although I'm not sure where she's based now). It really will help.
ETA she is/was based in Rainford I will she if I can get her contact details for you.
 

Thunderbirds R Gone

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I know where you're coming from, it's very easy to be put off in the warm-up, but you have to start believing in yourself. The other people are probably looking at you and thinking the same thing - after all, you're beating them at the end of the day
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It comes back to the same thing though, you know that this judge for some reason marks you harshly so you were half expecting it. Imo, you have to throw your sheets away and look at some of your previous sheets where Grace was getting an 8 for her paces.

You would not believe the difference in marks some of the eventing judges hand out - my previous horse always did around about the same test and his marks ranged between (in dressage terms) a 68% and a 55%
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Sometimes you just have to pick yourself back up and not let it get you down so much. Did you have your test videod? If so, watch it back and compare it to your other tests and then you can decide whether it was a fair mark or not. It wasn't a very nice day at all yesterday either, which doesn't help.
 

Cliqmo

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Wow what a cracking score considering you thought it was bad! I'm so jealous!
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I agree you should perhaps see a sports coach/psychologist and also just keep going out there and competing
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_jetset_

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[ QUOTE ]
Please Becky try and book some sessions with a sports coach. It really will help you immensely. I was in Pony Club with Jennie Killilea and she is a sports performance analyst? (although I'm not sure where she's based now). It really will help.
ETA she is/was based in Rainford I will she if I can get her contact details for you.

[/ QUOTE ]

Thank you FA2... it is definitely something to think about!

It is strange because I am absolutely 100% fine when I am competing Hannah. OK, I go wrong occasionally, make mistakes, but I never come away feeling the way I do right now about things
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daisycrazy

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Can I suggest "Quiet Life" tablets for your next outing? I haven't used them for competing so might be worth checking there isn't anything in them that contravenes rules, but they really help in those sorts of situations where you've worked yourself up over something.
 

Worried1

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I totally understand where you are coming from. When I was in the same position I took a step back from competing and worked with Mark and instead of competing I went to other yards and had lessons or borrowed their schools.
I still had to cope with the whole loading and getting on at strange places etc but without the pressure of 'competing'.
After 6 months I decided I wanted to go out and compete - I chose a venue I had never been to before so no preconceived ideas or worries - anything that arose would be new for both of us.
I had a goal of getting 60% or more - didn't care about placings, the main thing was I wanted to enjoy riding my horse and have a fun day out.
The day I took the pressure off about placings and qualifying was the day I realised this is my hobby and it's supposed to be fun.
When it is no longer fun what's the point?
With that Diva has gone better and I have been really pleased with her and more importantly me.
Don't chase qualifiers it's soul destroying, see it as a bonus if you do and have FUN doing it.
Hugs
x
 

druid

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[ QUOTE ]

Don't chase qualifiers it's soul destroying, see it as a bonus if you do and have FUN doing it.


[/ QUOTE ]

This bears repeating.

Becki - put things into perspective, 65% is NOT bad and you know it. You blatantly did not ride like a numpty or the horse would not have scored that mark - what was your rider mark?
 

MistletoeMegan

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[ QUOTE ]

I still had to cope with the whole loading and getting on at strange places etc but without the pressure of 'competing'.
After 6 months I decided I wanted to go out and compete - I chose a venue I had never been to before so no preconceived ideas or worries - anything that arose would be new for both of us.


[/ QUOTE ]

I think this is a really good idea and could help you get that 'positive desire' for competing back Becki.

I'd definitely have a few sessions with a sports psychologist, and inbetween sessions there's some very helpful books around such as http://www.britishhorse.com/acatalog/a_sports_psychology_workbook_for_riders_991128.html and http://www.britishhorse.com/acatalog/that_winning_feeling_706.html
 

Scarlett

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Personally I think you need to pull yourself together. If you go out and expect there to be a problen then there will be one. So what the judge doesn't mark you as highly as others do, she obviously has her reasons. What does the test sheet say? Can you speak to her? I've always found judges to be helpful when it comes to explaining scores. Maybe she has a valid reason for her marks, and maybe its something you could take on board and work on. From the sounds of this, and many of your other posts, speaking to a sports coach might help you, but you have to want to change for these things to work. Good luck!
 

Thunderbirds R Gone

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I don't really know your history, but reading between the lines and I may be a mile off the mark but ...

It seems that maybe you didn't have any particular expectations of Hannah when you started competing her, and that whatever level she got to was a bonus etc etc,

However with Grace, it comes across as you think she is quite talented and you don't want to let her down.

Maybe this explains why you don't get nervous on Hannah and just enjoy it, but are constantly worried that you are hampering Grace's progress?

I may be completely wrong, so please correct me if I am.

Remember that Grace doesn't know she's any different from any other horse and does not go back to her stable thinking 'well, I could have won that class today if my jockey had pulled her socks up'
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3BayGeldings

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Whats the point of competing if it makes you get in such a state? Do you actually enjoy it all?
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Seems like a waste of money if its something you dont want to do...
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Apologies if i'm way off the mark!
 

catembi

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Maybe try to stop taking everything so personally? You only have to read a couple of pages on here to see that *everyone* has their ups & downs with dr - nerves, horse fine at home but a complete t*t at shows, forgetting tests, rodeo behaviour or disappearing at speed during test (that's usually me...), judge who doesn't like cobs / TBs / ISH / Welshies, judge who always gives warmbloods (or insert other preferred breed) high marks even if they've done a cr*p test... Getting 70% one week then 60% the following week for a better test, unhelpful comments, comments that don't make sense, blah blah.

The judges have a very hard & thankless job to do & it is unlikely that they have a personal vendetta against you & your horse! Perhaps try to remember that it's supposed to be fun & not get too hung up on the odd hiccup? Or try competing BSJA instead if you want to do something less subjective?

And you're in the depths of despair over 65% - yesterday I was weepy all the way home in delight cos Adrian & I got our highest ever mark of 64.4%. You should be *ecstatic* that you are still able to get 65% when you don't think you rode at your best & under a judge that supposedly doesn't like you!
 

AandK

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[ QUOTE ]
I totally understand where you are coming from. When I was in the same position I took a step back from competing and worked with Mark and instead of competing I went to other yards and had lessons or borrowed their schools.
I still had to cope with the whole loading and getting on at strange places etc but without the pressure of 'competing'.
After 6 months I decided I wanted to go out and compete - I chose a venue I had never been to before so no preconceived ideas or worries - anything that arose would be new for both of us.
I had a goal of getting 60% or more - didn't care about placings, the main thing was I wanted to enjoy riding my horse and have a fun day out.
The day I took the pressure off about placings and qualifying was the day I realised this is my hobby and it's supposed to be fun.
When it is no longer fun what's the point?
With that Diva has gone better and I have been really pleased with her and more importantly me.
Don't chase qualifiers it's soul destroying, see it as a bonus if you do and have FUN doing it.
Hugs
x

[/ QUOTE ]

excellent advice!!
try and focus on the fact you have a lovely mare and that after all she has been through, you are back on board and able to compete again!!
 

lizzie_liz

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Man up.
You went to yesterdays competition in the wrong mind set. You were adament that you were going to get a low score and as a result that is what you got in YOUR eyes.
It is common knowledge that if you think you are going to fail your are more likely to fail at it.

The score you got yesterday was not a bad score, and you still came 2nd. You have to put it into perspective of other tests on that day and not to tests last week. Did you watch other peoples tests?

If you cannot handle competing Grace without getting so worked up then maybe you shouldn't compete her. It isnt fair on her or you.

Sorry if what I am saying is harsh but there are many people out there who can only wish they can get 65% on a good day let alone a bad day.
 

Ludi-doodi

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[ QUOTE ]
For example, if there are really smart horses in the collecting ring, I feel my confidence ebbing away
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[/ QUOTE ]

Can I just say that when I saw you recently I thought you were the smartest pair at the event. You ride beautifully - in a way I can only dream of - and Grace is fantastic. I think you just got yourself into a real tizz because of who was judging.

I know it's easy for me to say but forget about yesterday, concentrate on the Inters - you can and will do it (I demand that you do
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)
 

TarrSteps

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I'm a bit unclear on why you've "knocked your confidence" . . . nothing went horribly wrong, you didn't get hurt, your horse didn't throw you some bizarre curve, you even did quite decently. So what's the problem? As mentioned, even a quick read through the posts on here will show you pretty clearly that everyone has ups and downs (And let's face it, there can be some REAL downs - how do you think Sharon Hunt felt last weekend? Or anyone who's been hurt enough to not be able to ride for weeks and weeks, maybe not every again?). Sorry to be harsh, but having a day that doesn't go as perfectly as you think you deserve is not a crisis, it's a blip.

REAL confidence, the kind that leads to consistent success, comes from building skills and addressing weakness. It's not something bestowed randomly or conjured up by happy thoughts, it's a outgrowth of effort and understanding. Sure, there are people who seem to be able to feel confident no matter what their actual ability but I think there's an argument that's more like self-delusion.
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Or, more likely, realistic expectation - not everyone is going to define a good day the same way. The fact is in horse showing NO ONE is going to win every time out, on every day - to set that as the bar isn't realistic or even helpful.

If your concern was your OWN lack of focus in the ring then that's something to address and, as suggested above, there are lots of people and books to help you do it.

As also mentioned, if you don't enjoy showing then don't do it. It costs a bomb, takes a lot of time and effort, and is generally not something worth doing if it's stressing you out that much. (Unless you're the sort of person who enjoys being in a state - hey, some do - in which case have at it.) It's okay NOT to show, to just enjoy your horse.
 

christine48

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If you get so down and depressed about coming 2nd with 65% (most of us would be thrilled with that) then dressage maybe isn't the discipline for you. We all know it is subjective and there are times when our heart sinks when we see who the judge is, but thats dressage for you and the reason I prefer SJ and eventing.
 

red marksman

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Becky- this is seriously 'kick up the backside' time!
I remember when Grace arrived at our yard completely unmuscled, unfit, and overweight. You have successfully turned her into a fabulous horse with the help of your instructors and many members of the veterinary profession! You have negotiated many setbacks and have arrived at a very positive place in Grace's development.
What you are going through now is the natural progression of a horse's training- two steps forward, one step back. Please do not try to turn these into major catastrophes or you will wear yourself out and take away any joy or pleasure in competing.
Another poster said that maybe it is your expectations of Grace that are paralysing you , whereas with Han it is all more relaxed. I heartily agree with this- remember that any expectations this time last year were thin on the ground and you have made immense strides. Try to enjoy coming second or even (perish the thought) third- most of us would!!xx
 

Madam_max

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Why are you always feeling so hard done by. You have 3 lovely horses, but are just never happy. Surely, you REALLY don't think 65% is a terrible day. TBH as others have said if you're not enjoying it don't do it, it's not fair on you or Grace or sell her to someone that doesn't expect too much of her and just enjoy Hannah and Troy. At the end of the day you're not a professional you should just be concerned about having some enjoyment.
 

Law

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[ QUOTE ]

And you're in the depths of despair over 65% - yesterday I was weepy all the way home in delight cos Adrian & I got our highest ever mark of 64.4%. You should be *ecstatic* that you are still able to get 65% when you don't think you rode at your best & under a judge that supposedly doesn't like you!

[/ QUOTE ]

Ditto this. I started my BD experience with a 63% (I think) and for the last 8 months of the year I was a member I could go out, do an awful test, getting 58% and then do a million times better test, connected, through, correct, accurate and *STILL* get 58%- now that is what I call confidence destroying!
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about 8 tests in a row were all on 58%
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It drove me up the wall. Only once we got 59 or 60% after that. (it was the same two judges who mark us at 58% seemingly irrespective of the performance.)
Sorry to moan but I would be thrilled to get 65% having given an under par performance! Giving it my best and getting nowhere near that is the reason I've gone back to unaffiliated. (Clearly we aren't worthy!)
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ihatework

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To be honest you shouldn't listen to your instincts and instead listen to your Dad, think he was more on the right track.

Sounds like you really need to get your head together if you are to progress further with your horses, you are obviously a capable rider with a lot of support behind the scenes but until your mental attitude to horses/life/competition becomes more realistic you will continue to struggle.
 

Bounty

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I opened this thinking that you had had a nasty accident or something, not just a less than 100% perfect day out competing.

I suggest you follow Baydale's posts or look at Rosie's amazing recovery from a nightmare situation... or just open your eyes a little in general and see that everyone is going through their own sh*t.

Get some perspective.
 

Halfpass

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Agree with many of the above comments. You really do put far far too much pressure on yourself and your horse. 65 % is a fab score one that I would be proud of. What you need to remember is that the scores are all relative. Like you said the leader was only .8% off of you!! So really no different ffrom the week before when you came 2nd closely following first place just a lower marking judge this week.

I really think you need to stop chasing the prizes and just learn to go out and have fun. Its not all about the winning.

Maybe to keep both yours and Grace's minds occupied you need to step it up a gear and go out and do some novices. I know with my horse I get far better scores at novice than I do prelim. I have only been placed once in a prelim and regularly get around 60% although in novices I am always in the ribbons with scores in the high 60's!!!!!

Just remember it is supposed to be fun and you really don't sound like you are having any!!!
 

_jetset_

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Firstly, I am not for one moment saying 65% is a bad score... God, I have been well under that many many time and been pleased with the results. If you read what I wrote, I said that Grace still managed to get that result with a numpty rider, and I was so proud of her, just not of me! I am seriously annoyed about my riding and how I just went completely to pieces under that particular judge. It is not just about them 'not liking me', I know we all have 'those' kind of judges (I have a main one when riding Han and DO NOT fall to pieces like I did yesterday...) but there has been, hmmm, a history is probably the best way for me to put it!

I do enjoy competing, in fact I love it! I get some of my best work from Grace out competing because she really rises to the occasion and 9 times out of 10 I come out with a big grin on my face. Last weekend I took her to Fry's and she got 70% and 68.64% and I was ecstatic, more so than if we had come first twice!

What has knocked my confidence is how easily I fell apart yesterday. It is confidence in my ability which is what I have trouble with, rather than the riding etc. I wouldn't be even slightly bothered if I fell off her, so it is not that type of confidence, I guess it is what could be called 'self belief' what I lack
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Yesterday I just felt as though I had seriously let her down. I know she does not come home and blame me, but I blamed myself because if she had worked as well as she did without me (and I do mean that by the way... I sat there like a plank of wood resembling a scared rabbit) she could have won the class with a clear mile and she deserved it too. It is completely not her, it is me!

I have always felt more nervous competing Grace than I ever have with Han, perhaps as someone has said because I don't put as much pressure to do well on Han. But I have been very competitive with Han in the past, especially when I got her to the Regionals, but never felt the way I can do when riding Grace. I have always known our history holds back my progress, but I genuinely felt I was doing well to overcome this. Now, even when she does a strange step or humps her back, I push her through it and just get on rather than worrying it is pain related.

I don't want to stop taking her out as I feel that taking her out has helped this issue, but yesterday was a real set back for me and I am now very concerned about taking her next week for fear that I will freeze again and just let more than my horse down
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It was just such a horrible feeling, I felt useless is probably the best way I can describe it.

I know this may be really difficult to understand, as to some I just sound like a moaning groaning ungrateful bugger... But I am not that, I promise. I am incredibly happy with what I have, I couldn't wish for more right now! I have learned so much with Han and am continuing to do so, and I have recently started to 100% enjoy my horses. Last year was crap, it really was, but I have finally started to look forwards to riding Grace rather than almost dreading it (in her Disgrace period where she spent most of the time on just two legs) and I am genuinely having the most fun I have ever had with Hannah
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I guess I shouldn't really have posted this... Feeling a bit foolish about starting the post to be honest as I am not an open person, but just felt so rotten this morning when I started thinking about it I thought it might help
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But I think many of you have the wrong impression of me... I feel quite sad about that because the person some of you have described is most definitely not me!

Thanks for all the pieces of advice, if you have any books or further advice you can suggest for me, I would very much appreciate it. This is something I need to sort out, as I am constantly doubting myself and second guessing myself when something does not go right. I have no confidence in my riding ability at all, it is an issue my trainer and I are trying to overcome together, but progress is pretty slow and it is apparent that one bad day can seriously set this back
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