Psychology

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Finding and Owning the Equestrian Athlete Identity - At its core, equestrian sport is a partnership between horse and human. This relationship is unique, and it affects both the culture of the sport and our identity as athletes. Today, we are going to look closely at our equestrian athlete identity.

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A couple of months ago, reality shifted as the COVID-19 pandemic reshaped our lives. We were all left facing challenges beyond anything we could have imagined. The equestrian community is no different from any other community in finding itself cut off from normality, but we are dealing with the added emotional challenge of being disconnected from the thing that grounds us in difficult times: our connection with our horses. We may also face distress over the financial impact of this unprecedented event on our lives, businesses, and the welfare of our animals.

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In January 2003, Penny Woodworth, who lives on Vancouver Island, BC, was taking a jumping lesson. “Smallish jumps, nothing exciting. My long-time error is looking down, which I did that day. My horse stopped, and I tumbled off. Not a bad fall at all, except that I landed with one butt-cheek on the ground pole. I got up and carried on, but I was crooked and stayed that way. After a week or so, still riding crooked and feeling shooting pains down my right leg, I went for physiotherapy. I had dislocated my sacroiliac (SI) joint. Regular physio treatments and exercises finally got it to stay in place and I continued riding.

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As Captain Canada announces a partial step-down from international competition, his love for the horse and the sport remains stronger than ever, and he looks forward to sharing his knowledge and passion with the next generation.

Have you considered what you want to be doing with your horse in five years’ time? Or settled on your primary goals for the coming year? Or thought about the progress you want to make before your next riding lesson?

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We breathe more than 20,000 times a day. Most of the time, we don’t give it much thought, since we do it automatically and all seems to go well… except when it doesn’t.

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There may come a time in your riding career when you find yourself saying: Why do I put myself through this? Why do I show? It usually arises when you’re under considerable stress, or after a cycle of disappointment. It can happen for many reasons, and when it does, it’s time to put the joy back into competing with your horse.

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