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Ask Sharon

Competition

Krista from California, writes:

Dear Sharon,

After being away from competition for a couple of years having babies, I am having a difficult time competing. I seem to have lost my confidence. My mare has no apparent problems, except me. Do you have any ideas on what I can do to rebuild my confidence?

Dear Krista,

From other women, I hear this is common problem. Confidence can certainly make or break any competitor and I think the duration you take off has something to do with how long it takes you to come back, especially after having a baby, or in your case two. Your priorities change and what once was a fearless race is now perceived as a potential danger. The birth of your children brought the realization to your life that you have more responsibilities than before.

With that said, go back to your riding with the thought that you want to become a stronger, more knowledgeable and better balanced rider than before. Balanced riders build balanced horses, and maintaining balance requires muscle integrity. It may require joining a health club or a program like Curves to offer the focused discipline you need to restore and strengthen muscles that you have not used for awhile.

I have found that the better shape I am in, the better and more confident I ride. Because I focused on regaining and maintaining my physical fitness shortly after the birth of my son, the return to competition was not a problem. I did feel however, a fear of getting hurt and not being there for my son.

Take it slow and build one step at a time. Work not only on your horse’s fitness but yours too. When you return to competition, remember your horse has been off and may be rusty too. This is a great time to retrain, restrengthen and refocus. Visit our sections In Pursuit of Excellence and Spirit and Self. There are many articles to help you mentally prepare for competitive challenges.

Enjoy the process and hug those babies!

Sharon