Curses, Goals and Sport Psychology

Are you superstitious?

Do you knock on wood? Toss salt? Worry about ladders & black cats?

Do you make sure to touch every XC jump you are going over?

(You know who you are!)

Do you have a special competition pair of socks?

(I totally need these!)

What about a special pre-XC ritual?

Mine used to be vomiting until I learned not to eat!

I met a rider who ALWAYS has a glass of wine before her dressage test.

Or maybe it was 2 glasses.

Somewhere wrapped up in these crazy superstitious rituals is the very real aspect of sport psychology.

To excel we have to find a way to “keep it together” when the adrenaline is PUMPING!

I knew I had to do something different when my instructor said,


“Go to your doctor and get some BEFORE your next show. There is no point in spending this kind of money to compete if you’re going to melt down like that.”

 (Read “Trakehners are my thing!” to find out exactly what she was talking about.)

It was my first recognized event since the Jurassic Period. It was my “return” to eventing. I had put so much pressure on myself about “proving something” that all I proved was just how flipping BAD at eventing I really was.

Yes, that’s me.

I let “The Goal” interfere with the journey. The journey has to be more important at every step. If you don’t enjoy 100 hours of preparation for 10 minutes of competition, find something else to do. My single mindedness had left out some key things I needed. And of course the problem was, I didn’t know what I didn’t know!

I eventually found that it was the little things that set me off.

My hands used to shake so badly when I was braiding at the show that I started hiring professional braiders because I couldn’t get the job done. It wasn’t until recently that I figured out I actually can do a decent braiding job now that I have my fear a little more contained!

I decided I had to “practice like you play” and I started doing things like braiding at schooling shows, wearing show clothes when I didn’t need to, and leaving show numbers on my bridles.

I got more than a few eye rolls, but I needed the “practice”.

And it worked.

It literally took me 20 years, 4 different horses and more trips to the ER than you can possibly imagine to successfully complete a horse trial at Training Level.

I was cursed. (See The Curse of Training Level for more details.)

Or maybe I just lacked some of the ingredients to get the job done.

But after finding the right horse and the right instructor… I have finally become successful at Training Level.

(That’s a corner!)

It’s weird even saying that because it took so long to achieve.

Now………….I’ve entered my first Prelim.

Seriously? Is that even fair to ask a horse to jump?

Just in case you missed it or I missed it I’ve entered my first Prelim.

Perhaps by announcing it to the 2 people that read this to everyone, I have unleashed some sleeping monster of bad luck. Kind of like taking down the real estate sign before the closing. (Don’t EVER do that by the way!)

But, I’m not superstitious…………..
(ignore that knocking sound)

And I’m prepared.

And besides all that

I have my Lucky Horse that always “HANGS IN THERE” to ward off any problems!
Bad Eventer is going Prelim – WHOOP!!

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