In a competition environment, your confidence & level-headedness is just as important as your ability. True story.
Furthermore, your appearance has a LOT to do with it.
If you’ve noticed how much better you perform when you look sharp and feel confident in your appearance… well there’s a reason for it. Being confident actually helps you think clearly and focus on the job at hand.
Scientifically speaking, there’s a strong connection between how appearance affects confidence which in turn affects performance.
Why a horse rider’s confidence matters as much as their ability…
Coping with pressure:
Confidence has been found to influence the coping mechanism of riders. Riders who have a strong belief in themselves are able to thrive under pressure and cope successfully with adverse situations during competition.
- A confident rider is ‘task-diagnostic’ and can more easily correct errors.
- Whereas less confident riders tend to focus on their perceived inadequacies when things go wrong… this usually leads to more mistakes.
’10 foot tall & bullet proof’
Studies have shown that athletes suffering from low self confidence will only push themselves if they feel they have a reasonable chance of success.
Alternatively, someone with a strong sense of confidence will set challenging goals and use maximum effort to achieve those goals.
It’s gotta come from within:
Riders that worry about external sources (i.e. the performance of other competitors) will have unstable perceptions their own ability.
However, riders that generate self confidence from ‘within’ are more able to cope under pressure and perform to their best.
What does appearance have to do with performance?
Believe it or not, there’s a strong connection between looking your best and feeling confident.
In fact, researchers have even coined the term “enclothed cognition” to describe the positive mental changes that come from looking ahhhh-maaazing.
Things to consider for rider appearance
When you mount-up looking your best, your overall mood gets a complete upgrade. So, with that said, here are some tips to remember when it comes to your competition outfit…
Tread carefully when it comes to ‘trends’
Regardless of what the current fashion is… stick with what makes YOU feel more confident.
If low-rise breeches give you an awkward muffin top.. then give them a swerve. If pastel colours aren’t your thing.. then don’t wear a mauve shirt.
A well fitting and flattering competition outfit (even if it is a few years old) will serve you much better than adopting trends that don’t suit you.
Express the ‘real you’ with a twist on tradition.
Remember, if you’re bold enough to wear a shirt that looks like cutesy polka dots but is actually a tiny skull (or unicorn) print 🦄… *Cough.. our rad range of Skull Tops including Silver Skulls, Navy Skulls & White Skulls.
Fit by measurement… not label sizes
For some brain boggling reason.. a lot of equestrian brands have teeny tiny sizing.
A quick google will show you that the waist measurement of breeches in size 12 can vary as much as 20cm between brands 😱
When you’re shopping, don’t feel pressured to fit into a certain size. And when it comes to buying online… make sure you have a tape measure handy because label sizes are all over the place.
Don’t use wardrobe upgrades as a ‘reward’
Whether you’re waiting for a certain result ESPECIALLY a weight loss goal.. It doesnt make sense to wait to update your riding outfits.
You’re allowed to feel good now!.. and with the confidence boost you get from a new outfit, you’ll end up reaching your goals faster.
So there you go….
Next time you’re wondering whether focussing on your appearance is a simple case of vanity… you know it’s not.
Your appearance and resulting confidence legitimately affects how strongly you believe in your ability to perform. So it’s worth putting a little extra effort into your next show outfit.
For more performance tips read ‘Quick, easy techniques to ease your competition nerves’