Laura Tomlinson discusses firing up motivation for a successful year ahead
Recently, the wonderful team from the UK Sport World Class Programme came and did some assessments of me, both on and off the horse, and also of my horses with and without me in the saddle. It was a great opportunity to gain insight into subtle imbalances that my horses and I have, and where these imbalances interact.
It was amazing to see how the bias in my weight distribution changed after riding and according to which horse I had ridden. This was very high-end stuff and acted as great motivation for me to get going with strength and conditioning in a very targeted way, to address any deficits in strength and imbalances within my body.
It is always very useful to know where the horses may have these weight biases, which are not necessarily visible to the naked eye, but instead are seen via slow-motion cameras and sensors on specific parts of the horse. The information generated can help the vets and farriers, too.
Goals spark determination
From my point of view, I needed to kick-start my motivation. Although I have big ambitions for the season, ambition is not always synonymous with motivation. Now that I have very real and measurable targets physically, I can approach my time in the gym with a different meaning.
Goals spark determination. This time of year can be tricky to get going, what with the cold weather and the post-holiday season slump. But it doesn’t matter what level you are working at or how big your goals are, finding a reason to attack a project with some determination is so healthy for both body and mind.
Making a short video of where you are at and picking a few things you want to improve can be a good start. You can choose performance-related factors and things relating to your own position or physical limitations, and write down some realistic short- to medium-term goals. If we can track and see progress, it’s much easier to stay motivated.
Confidence can be an elusive thing for many people for different reasons. Sometimes, I like to watch back some of my best past performances to boost motivation and inspire confidence in my ability. Writing down some key skills that you have and that you know you are good at – and working out how those skills can help you achieve your goals – can be very helpful in aiding a positive mindset.
Often we hear people at the very top of their game say that if you dream big and work hard, then anything is possible. But, in reality, for many people this is not the case. However, I do believe that by gaining the tools to become motivated and working hard in the right areas in a targeted way, anyone can reach realistic goals and see great progress.
My 2023 season
Having rebooted my drive for the new season, I have enjoyed a couple of warm-up shows with Fallatijn and I am off to Amsterdam CDI this week with him to begin my 2023 season.
With a few younger horses to bring out this year, I am grateful for the good venues we have locally, too. I am lucky enough to be within an hour of Hunters and Summerhouse and not too far from Addington either, which will see an exciting return to international venue status this spring.
Pretty much all my younger horses’ first shows are at Hunters, and I use the venue all through the levels as warm-up or training shows for my advanced horses. It is always well organised, clean and tidy with good surfaces, which is what you want at a day show, especially if you have lots of horses competing in one day.
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