It’s official: I have changed barns and trainers. While my reasons and the process of doing such will be saved for a different post, what I want to talk about today is how to make a good first impression the first day at your new barn, the first day at your showgrounds, or the first day on a competitive team such as IEL or the collegiate league.

Tip #1:

What I’ve found to be a huge help is to ask your trainer or coach what the dress code is at their barn, and then pick out your training outfit accordingly. For me, my new barn is adamant that you must wear a collared shirt and belt with your breeches, so I had to hunt down my favorite polo shirt…which happens to be the 2012 Olympics polo shirt for the USA. I paired that with my blue Tailored Sportsmans, a black rein-style belt from Tory, and my custom Der Dau boots (that are in desperate need of repair). My horseshoe earrings and Hunter Harmony watch finish off my necessities and I’m all set to go!

Tip #2:

Eat breakfast! No matter what time of day your first lesson or event is, food is necessary. As someone who has a tendancy to forget to eat and then gets very weak and grumpy, trust me when I say no matter what, you don’t want to be hangry when meeting your coach or trainer for the first time. I always get a very nervous stomach before my first day of anything horse-related, so for me something small and a cup of coffee is ideal. Yesterday I made some pumpkin muffins and splurged on some vanilla Dunkin Donuts coffee, so that makes up my breakfast for today. Since my ride isn’t until 2pm, I’ll also be on the hunt for a smoothie and protein snack a bit closer to 1pm (hypoglycemic problems).

Tip #3:

*Try* to relax! I’m a huge believer that if you’re nervous it proves how much whatever you’re nervous about means to you, so in my opinion nerves are actually a good (yet annoying) thing. But if you’re like me and don’t quite know how to contain the nervous energy that came out of nowhere, try visualizing how you want your ride to go. This is a nifty trick that I use the night before a big show or the morning of an important ride, and it goes a little like this:

When you have a second, close your eyes and focus on your breathing, doing three-second inhales and exhales to slow your heart rate. Picture yourself during your ride, and imagine that you nail every task given to you, whether that is a dressage test, cantering a crossrail with ease, trotting without stirrups for ages, or jumping the highest you’ve jumped yet without fear. Enjoy the visualization and continue to relax for three to five minutes. Once you open your eyes, you should be excited and ready to show off your skills!

I have to go get ready myself, but I hope these tips helped you and that you enjoyed today’s post!