Learning your course is a totally different thing at a show compared to when you are at home practicing. At home there is no pressure or nerves. You are not worried about what your competition is doing, what your horse is looking at or the scary jump in the far corner you are already spooking at. Many times the course your trainer is trying to teach you goes in one ear and out the other. So, here are a few tips and tricks on learning your course!
1) Assign an identifying factor to each jump. Pick the color of the flowers, the poles or the standards to help you remember which jump you are looking for out on course. Many times jumps will have similar colors so be sure to find something unique about each.
2) Repeat the course over and over in your head and aloud. After you feel comfortable that you know your course continue to go over it in your head. As you go over it you may find you get hung up on remembering one specific part. Even if you feel like you have your course down no problem be sure to repeat your course aloud to your trainer multiple times. They are responsible for knowing where you are going and making sure you don't accidentally learn the wrong pattern.
3) Watch the other riders. As the riders ahead of you are doing their round say in your head where they should be headed next and how you plan on riding the corners and turns. Not always are the riders ahead of you doing the course perfect so acknowledge their mistakes and visualize yourself doing what you want to happen. Ride your lines straight, stay deep in your corners, look early, get the right stride numbers and keeping your pace. The more you ride the course in your head the way you want it to happen the easier it will be to make it happen in real life because it will be like you have already ridden the course.
Any other helpful tips you have when learning your course? Be sure to share in the comments!
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