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How to get a clear show jumping round

When it comes to show jumping, many of us find that nerves can get the better of us. So how can we overcome this and aim for that clear round?

Whether you are at an Olympic Games,  a CCI1* or your first BE event, one of the key elements to leaving all the poles up is positive preparation and mental strength. So how do successful riders achieve this and what techniques do they use to stay on top of their game in the arena? Here are some tips from the top…
 
  • Visualise yourself jumping at home and try to replicate that feeling in the arena. 

  • Concentrate on your breathing to keep your focus on the job in hand.

  • Identify when you feel good and in control – the more you recognise that feeling, the easier it is to achieve that mental state in a high-pressure situation. By keeping calm, your body allows your brain to make decisions without panicking.

  • Don’t try to win, just concentrate on striving to do your best, or better your past performances. Personal focus will achieve better results than comparing yourself to others.

  • Don’t get to the show jumping warm-up too far in advance – the longer you stand around, the more time there is to get nervous.

  • Keep things as simple as possible. Focus on speed, direction and balance. Think about keeping a forward, level canter to the first fence and then jumping every subsequent fence out of the same rhythm.

  • Don’t go into the show jumping ring thinking ‘what if’, go in knowing that you’ve put in the groundwork and that all you have to do is keep calm and focused.

  • Sit down and visualise yourself jumping a perfect clear round before you get on your horse. Focus on how it feels and how easy it is.

  • Pick a song you love that inspires you, play it round and round in your head while warming up.

  • Remember, we go eventing for fun – don’t lose sight of this!