Riders often have a complicated relationship with confidence. It’s there – until it’s not. While some people feel nervous after an accident or fall, for others it can be as simple as not believing in yourself, writes Emily Bevan.

For Adele Pitcher it was nerves in the showjumping arena that caused problems. They affected her confidence so much that she stopped eventing for a while and would only compete in dressage.

“I started having this huge crisis of confidence that I wasn’t good enough. I struggled to sleep before a competition and would panic that I wouldn’t see the correct stride. Once in the arena the adrenaline would make me freeze as I approached the first fence, and my horse started stopping,” explains Adele.

It was only over the coloured poles that Adele had an issue — she was fine across country.

She has since spent a lot of time and money on lessons and clinics and has been working hard to reframe her thoughts. She has also distanced herself from social media, as she found comparing herself to other riders was having a negative impact on her mindset.

“When it goes well I enjoy competing so much, so I knew I had to get a grip on these feelings. I try to ignore the voices in my head that tell me I am not good enough and instead think of all the good rounds I’ve had,” says Adele.

“I tell myself that making a mistake is okay; after all, even the professionals get it wrong sometimes.”

Adele has returned to eventing and although she had to retire her eventer last year she’s hoping to contest some BE80(T) competitions this season aboard her new horse, Luna.

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