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Mindset training: Relaxation techniques to enhance your competitive energy *H&H Plus*

In part three of our series on transforming mental fitness, Charlie Unwin outlines his relaxation techniques to enhance your competitive energy

These are, for your mind, what balance, rhythm and accuracy are for your riding:
Fundamental #1 – win the day
Fundamental #2 – create the space
Fundamental #3 – relax into it
Fundamental #4 – train your feel
Fundamental #5 – train your nerves

Sport can be intense, there’s no getting away from it. By and large, the bigger the moment, the more intense it will feel. Different people experience this in different ways, some more in the mind (“I have to get this right”) and some more in the body (nervousness and tension). I always encourage riders to interpret these intense experiences as energy waiting to be released, which is technically what it is.

The most primal way of releasing this energy is through “mass movement” using our biggest muscle groups, which often explains why we might over-ride when nervous. Unfortunately our skill as a rider often relies on the very opposite; sitting still and exercising subtle control of much smaller muscle groups to communicate precisely with the horse.