Let’s be honest, whatever discipline you compete in show gear is not exactly the most flattering outfit out there. Tight white breeches, close-fitting white shirts, a fitted jacket on top it’s hard to feel confident & comfortable in yourself when our show outfits are hardly forgiving!
We've all been there, getting ready in the lorry, put a pair of breeches on & struggled to do them up or glanced at ourselves in the mirror as we go to get on & not been happy with what you see & how you feel about yourself in your show clothes. There are so many riders out there whose goal is to go to a competition and at the end of the day go and buy a photo and look at the photo and enjoy what they see & look at how good both them & their horse look rather than thinking, eurgh how bad do I look.
Now at first when you hear people say that you might think what a shallow goal or that’s not really a big consideration but for loads of riders it’s a huge struggle and something on every competition day that creeps into the picture & ruins the day.
Obviously, if you’re not feeling confident in yourself physically & how you look you’re not going to feel confident internally either and that is going to play a big role in how you perform & ride.
For most feeling a bit more confident in our show gear often means feeling more comfortable in how our clothes fit so whether that be to lose a couple of kilos or drop a couple of inches around your waist it’s a small change that can really have a big effect. For some of us even just adding in some resistance training & toning up would be enough to make us feel more confident & happy in our own skin!
We all know that if we are happy with how we look and we think we look good we feel much more confident in ourselves and everything we do. I’ve talked before about how training really helps to build confidence in your capabilities and that directly translates into making you more confident internally too.
For those that get to this point where they feel comfortable in their show clothing it is a combination of hard work, determination, discipline and following a sensible & consistent routine to get results.
Without a doubt the difficult thing is fitting it in around busy lives as we all know our days are non-stop and time is not a luxury we have with a horsey life. But if you really do want to increase your confidence and next time you go to a show feel really good in your breeches rather than feeling self-conscious or not liking how you look then the key is to start being consistent and making some lifestyle changes.
To begin with these can be tiny changes to your daily habits and then in time you can build on these changes to create even better habits and behaviours that are going to serve you for the long term & mean you can sustain this behaviour. It is then being consistent with these behaviours and your routine in order to get a result over time. Changes do take time so it’s important that you realise that & are realistic with your expectations.
Many riders will get a few weeks or a couple of months down the line and suddenly decide they’re not where they want to be and give up but in reality progress takes time and you should be focusing on playing the long game not the short one. Being realistic with your expectations is absolutely essential here!
As long as you are seeing progression and you are going in the right way whether that is improving your strength or achieving weight loss then you can be sure what you’re doing is working and keep pushing forwards. Engraining a new habit like training or eating in a different way requires a lot of practice and discipline which in time will build motivation. At first you’re not going to instantly feel motivated and it’s easy to think that maybe that’s why it’s not working fast enough but motivation comes in time once you start taking positive actions.
It’s important to remember that motivation is a feeling and feelings are created by actions that we take so don’t forget that, blaming a lack of progress or you giving up on motivation is 100% just an excuse.
It’s important to celebrate the small wins along the journey too and focus on each day as you go rather than only looking at the big goal. If you’re only focused on the big picture it can sometimes become a bit demotivating if you think progress is slow but we want you to enjoy the journey and self-reflect on how far you’ve come so it’s really important to celebrate all of your small wins. This is something I implement with all of my riders & it really helps you to see just how far you've come!
If you only focused on the big goal it might well seem so far away to you that it makes you anxious and feel like you can’t do this but we all know it’s possible to get your result it is just going to take work, commitment & consistency! Just as your horses progress does to.
Changes don’t come out of nowhere and I would typically say it will take a minimum of 4 weeks to start seeing progression but if you are consistent with your behaviours you will feel and notice changes as you go through the process. If you keep consistent and give yourself a good amount of time I would always suggest 12-16 weeks as a minimum you’ll probably actually surprise yourself where you can get to and just how much you can improve your confidence!
Think about training a young horse he’s not going to feel confident after he’s been lunged once and the same goes for you. As you get stronger, feel more confident in your physique, and build these good behaviours you will give yourself confidence that you can do this & that will give you motivation & belief. But the biggest thing is not giving up, keeping consistent and staying on the path.
It’s easy to look at other riders and think, "oh well it’s easy for them" or "I bet they’re just lucky" rather than being realistic with yourself and appreciating that they’ve probably worked really hard and used the time they have to achieve these changes. We often think that about other people because it makes us feel better in ourselves as we believe it’s easy for them and we put the belief on ourselves that it will be way harder for us so why bother? But again that’s just another excuse creeping in & most probably driven by fear of the unknown.
Confidence comes from change and you’re going to have to move outside of your comfort zone and grow if you want to improve yourself! Don’t program hop or yo-yo between diets because in the long term that won’t work! It’s easy to try and get a quick fix and hit your goal in the least amount of time but that is often not sustainable and it does not build lifestyle changes.
If you want to get to the point where every show you go to, you put your breeches on and you feel good and confident with what you see & how you feel then this is all about making these behaviours a lifestyle for the long-term not just dipping in and out!
As well as being realistic with your goals make sure you are realistic with your time expectations. We all know how busy life is for us horsey girls so think about a structure that is going to work for you and you’re actually going to be able to be consistent with. If you get frustrated or have a bad day be realistic with your expectations and remember that this is part of the journey! Every time you fall off that is a learning curve and the same will happen here, you’re not going to get huge leaps and bounds all of the time but I promise you if you keep consistent you will get that result.
In my opinion, every rider has the right to go to the photo stand at the end of the day, look at the pictures of them and their horse and be chuffed at what they see, not nitpicking at whether your bum looks big in this. At the end of the day, life is way too short and it’s a really sad thing that we often think like this when we watch back videos or photos of ourselves rather than enjoying the memory or remembering what a great day it was. It’s fully in our control to change that we just need to work on it & be prepared to put the effort in!
I hope this helps,
Good luck with your journey,