Analyse this – the importance of analysis of your riding

What is this life so full of care, we have no time to stop and analyse things.

Well, I am not very good at just staring or at least, if I look like I am just staring I am probably thinking. Overthinking can be a bad thing, but analysing is so important and something that some people just don’t do enough.

I have just started competing again. It is very early stages but it going well so far. However, this is not due to luck. I didn’t just jump on a horse and head to a show and hope for the best. There was too much at stake to do that.

There has been a lot of strategic decision making, some of which I am probably not aware of as the mother and aunt scuttle behind the scenes doing more than I probably know. There has also been analysis. Lots of it.

Do you analyse enough? Ideas for you

  • take videos. You don’t need a fancy camera. Phones are pretty amazing now – you can video and create a slow motion all on an iPhone (not sponsored by Apple but they genuinely are great!)
  • watch multiple times, focusing on different things. I watch once through to watch a horses legs, once for his face and mouth, once for my leg position…. you can gain so much.
  • Have someone on the ground. It is sometimes easier to feel something, sometimes easier to see it. Someone on the ground can give an invaluable perspective.
  • Keep notes. Does your horse always have the fence down when he is on the left rein or coming away from the gate? Does he always get tense on a right circle? Is he better on a hot day and awful in the rain? It’s a lot easier to pick up patterns if you keep notes.
  • Try a different instructor. Trying someone different does not mean that your regular instructor is any less brilliant. Sometimes it’s just valuable to get a new perspective.
  • Be honest about yourself. Are you really fit enough? Did you get enough sleep and eat properly so you were at your best? Are you truthfully more nervous when your Granny is there?

Yes, I had a big smile on my face but I need to work on sitting up quicker after the fence, my leg needs to be stiller, I need a more active rhythm…… lots to work on and improve but I will be better next week!

My friend at Confident Riding Scotland added: “Analysing a ride can also be a great confidence booster. A three step process

  1. Ask yourself what went well and be pleased and proud about those things.
  2. What challenges did you have i.e. what can you learn from mistakes or what would you do differently next time so that you can learn.
  3. Same as step 1. Be pleased and proud about what went well so you end with the positives.”

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