I’m not a seasoned show Jedi like my trainer, so pretty much whenever I am about to enter the jumper arena my stomach drops, or rises to my throat, or does flip flops…. or whatever it feels like doing that day. I’ve gotten a lot better, in part because I am pretty confident in my ability to remember a dressage test or jump course these days. But there is still a lot to remember — keeping Murray calm, uphill, and forward, or relaxed, stretching, and loose, as the case may be, not crossing my lines, keeping my heels down, not throwing myself at the jumps — and under pressure most of those fly out of the window.
There is something you can do to help yourself perform better under pressure: practice under pressure! This is the central tenet of Daniel Stewart’s Pressure Proof Clinic Series. DStew simulates pressure by asking riders to do some really near-impossible things (ride a course of their own design, not cross their lines, don’t repeat jumps, count strides up to 7 out, and do it in exactly the time assigned!!) in his clinics. Setting us up to “fail” isn’t the point of this clinic — though being okay with a less-than-perfect performance is one thing that DStew encouraged — it’s to show riders how well they CAN perform under pressure, as well as to get riders used to performing under pressure in order to improve our performances in other pressureful environments.
|Help me Obi Wan, you’re me only hope.|
Since I can’t get Obi Wan to help me, I think I’ll be employing Coach Stewart’s methods much more in the future. For more details on the clinic, check out my clinic report on Horse Junkies United!
Pressure Proof Your Riding: My Clinic with Daniel Stewart