In my latest post on Of Horse I discussed how being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) can affect your riding. Highly sensitive people have a heightened sensory awareness. They tend to be very sensitive to bright lights and loud sounds, and they can get overloaded with input during chaotic situations. They are also very conscientious, and this trait can cause them to become self-conscious when they are being observed performing a task. They feel that if they do it wrong, they are letting the observer down. In the horse-show world, this translates into wasting the judge’s time, letting your trainer down, or making your horse look bad.
In addition to mindset training, strategies such as breathing exercises and visualization can be really beneficial in helping HSPs overcome their “extra” show ring anxiety. Knowledge is power, and once you understand a bit about what’s going on inside your mind, you have the ability to take control of the situation.