Before/After the competition

Credit : Scoopdyga

Monday 25 February - 10h35 | Maxence Magnin

Before/After the competition

Competitions are special moments for riders – a break from routine, a chance to meet with friends from neighbouring stables... But as with any sporting event, there is always a distinct ‘before’ and ‘after’. Here are some of the common before and after contrasts related to equestrian competitions.

Before

Before - Before/After the competition

Credit : Scoopdyga

Impatience. This is one of the main emotions a rider can feel prior to a competition, up until the day itself and even just before riding. As the competition can be an important personal moment, or simply because one will be meeting up with friends again there, the lead-up week can feel very long indeed.
Motivation. The desire to win or have a good performance is always a part of competing. Sometimes, it is so present that one imagines the course in advance, as well as the horse-rider interaction.
Cleanliness. Whoever says competition also says beautiful presentation, whether it is of one’s mount or oneself. And because the judges take note of the appearance of horses and riders, the competition is always an opportunity to don one's best white pants, jacket and boots, not to mention the finest equipment for the horse. In short, competitions are a moment for competitors to put on their Sunday best.
Good shape. In order to maximize one’s chances of success, competitors have to be careful to try to sleep well the night before and not to party too much. The goal is to be in good shape for the big day – better to have too much energy than not enough.
Stress. For many individuals, stress is naturally felt on the day of the event and in the lead-up to it. And one’s family, partner or the fact of it being a debut performance (with or without a new mount) are some of the factors that can contribute to stress about a competition. Continued below.

After

Dirtiness. Once the course has been completed, a rider’s white pants are rarely the same colour as they were an hour earlier, before the ride. Same thing for boots that have accumulated layers of dust or mud. The jacket is now weathered. In short, the previously chic clothes have disappeared, replaced with something more 'natural'.
Frustration or relaxation. If the performance was good, riders are generally in a good mood for the rest of the day and might even see the world through rose-coloured glasses. However, if the result of the competition was not what was expected (in a negative sense), frustration, disappointment or even anger might last throughout the day and beyond. Yes, riders are also like that. But as long as they use that state to look at what went wrong, it can serve a purpose.
Fatigue. If a rider's own competition started at 8 a.m. but they have to wait for the last event to leave with the rest of the club members, the day can be very long indeed, even if it has been a positive and fruitful experience. With fatigue (physical or emotional), competitors often have one thing on their mind: go home and have a nice hot bath (or jump in the pool depending on the season!).

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