Equestrians can be put under large amounts of stress and pressure when it comes to showing. We all strive perfection and to be the best. During show season, pay a lot of money for someone to pick apart our every move and compared against a lot of other people. This constant pressure can bog you down and ruin the fun of the sport. So how do you deal with it?
On the Home Turf
First you have to make sure that your home barn is helping and not hurting. Your coach and barn family should be cheering you on and pushing you to be the best you can be. The line can get crossed though when the pushing becomes shoving and the cheering becomes anything but friendly. If your home barn is adding unhealthy pressure, explore options elsewhere. You can’t have fun at shows if you are with the wrong people.
Take a Break
Taking a break can be super helpful and eye opening. You can take a break from just showing or riding all together for as short or as long as you want and realistically can. (Just make sure everything is taken care of before you step away.)
I had to take a break over the summer due to health reasons. Before I decided to step away, I was prepping for the upcoming show season. I was having fun riding and taking lessons but the pressure was starting to build and get to me. About two weeks after I stop riding, I went to watch my friends compete at an event. Let me tell you, I wanted to be in the ring so bad when I was at the show. The break made me realize how much I missed riding and showing.
Taking a break is like turning an electronic off and then on again. It isn’t much but it may help get everything back in shape.
Talk to Your Trainer
If you have check that your stress isn’t coming from your trainer, talk to them. Odds are that they have been in your shoes. They also can’t help you if they don’t know you need it. Set up a time you can talk to them either at the end of a lesson or at a separate time. Tell them how you are feeling and see what they suggest. Make sure to raise any concerns and questions you have while you are talking to them. A good coach will come along side you and help you figure things out.
Feeling burnt out is normal in high stressed sports. Just remember that you chose this crazy hobby for a reason. Figure out where your stress is coming from and how to fix it. Use your resources as much as you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help!