The Effect of Nerves

Seeing life through Joey’s eyes is quite special. Into the lorry he jumps, with his map in hand saying “Are we going on an adventure?” No worries at all. I wish I could be a bit more like Joey! I think I have underestimated the effect that nerves have on me! Just putting it out there. I know when I am having a proper wobble and the brain goes seriously to the dark side, I can’t ride; literally, have to get off or can’t get on. But, when I am “holding it together”, I thought I was alright but I think I have realised I am probably just performing at 70%. I am not alright with 70%; I am not convinced I am good enough when I am at 100% so we need to find the other 30% somehow.

Physically

I shared a video recently showing Jack and I jumping at one of our first outings (when I was hyperventilating and in tears in the warm up) compared to jumping a few months later (when I was marginally calmer), mainly just to show myself how far I had come mentally. But, I was amazed by how many people could see the physical difference in me. The nerves were literally visible in my body!

Hands shaking, muscles tense, difficulty focusing, short breaths – none of these are going to set you up for 100% athlete status.

Mentally

I am not sure I really understand the whole mindfullness craze sweeping the nation at the moment, but I feel like riding should be quite “mindfull”. There is so much to think about purely when riding that you can’t be worrying about other things, thinking about all the jobs you have to do, worrying about what is happening later that day, you have to just be there with your horse. In the moment.

However, anxiety can interfere with this for sure. Sometimes I feel like I am not really there at all, let alone in the moment. Does anyone else sometimes get that feeling that they are just watching themselves ride? I have gone into the ring before, so absorbed by my thoughts, that I have had to say, sometimes outloud, “In the ring Daisy!”

Emotionally

I was quite nervous heading to Addington last week. We had a really great round at Aston Le Walls but then had a few weeks off with illness and it felt like a long time ago that we had jumped well together. My hands were shaking as I got ready to get on and I definitely wasn’t happy/excited/positive. After I had jumped I was so smiley. It completely changed my mood for the whole day.

But how nice would it be to enjoy the full day more? I used to love everything about shows – getting ready the night before, packing up in the morning, the journey – I used to be genuinely excited to jump and I miss that feeling. I actually felt a bit cross with myself this weekend that I hadn’t enjoyed it more.

The plan

So, what is the plan then? My nerves and confidence, I know is a work in progress but maybe I can find the other 30% another way? Maybe then as my confidence builds, I’ll be firing at more than 100%!? I was never very good at maths!

I am going to look physically, mentally and emotionally what I can be doing better…. after all Jack is pretty epic, I need to be giving him my best self!

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