[Training Tuesday] Training vs. Show

Yes! We are now at a stage were I can say: I am CONFIDENT! We CAN do it! I can feel the difference in trot (in canter, too, but more in trot for now) of a swinging back, I know now HOW to create that swinging back, I know, see and feel the difference of this swinging back. It feels great to experience such a difference in a horse. Training is really going well. Our next show will be next weekend, a good 300kms away from how in Lower Austria. It will be a Haflinger focused show as it is part 2 of the Haflinger Challenge and the Qualifier for the European Championship. So I am definitely looking forward to it! And still, there is this lurking doubt that something might not work out as planned:

What it FEELS like at home:

What it LOOK like at home:

What it FEELS like at shows:

What it LOOKS like at shows (sometimes!):

As there will be seven weeks between the last and the current show, I had plenty of time to work on our riding. But still, shows are different from training. Is it the new surroundings? Definitely not for us. Hafl gets off the trailer and is ready to rumble, no matter where we go and whether we have been there before. Is it the weather? Definitely not: we rode in 35degC as well as in thunderstorms, heavy rainfalls and almost snow. He was not impressed at all. Is it the nasty flies? OMG no, he is one of the horses that do not care much about flies and insects. Is it the other horses that he doesn't know or missing his barn mates? Hafl? Being afraid of other horses?! Missing barn mats?! Hell no! Is it that he is not ready? Again, no.

So what makes it so difficult to perform? The problem is on Hafl's back! And it is NOT the saddle. While I am confident now, I will be again strained a few days before the show and on the show weekend. Don't get me wrong, I am improved a lot! Really. But still, there are those little demons in my head (no, mum, no need to take me to therapy) that always try to change my state of mind. Is it the competitors? Is it the ones at home keeping their fingers crossed? Is it your trainer? Is it the judges? Is it the missed ribbons? Is the the fear of being not good enough? It is a combination I guess. When looking of what we achieved so far, I am pretty happy. Last two seasons went pretty good, this year, we only had two shows so far, unfortunately, we were not among the best but still improving. Here is a screenshot of our overall performance according to latest Austrian dressage rider's ranking (see also 2nd picture, the development over time):

I mean it is not so bad (overall, first, second, in between  second and third level)...

I guess the break through in this level is just around the corner. It feels like it. It feels that we could do it. So why searching for reasons not to perform next weekend?

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