Preparing for a Big Event: Andrew McConnon’s Best Practices

This article is brought to you and was first published by Athletux.

Andrew McConnon and Wakita 54. Photo by Shelby Allen.

When preparing for a big event, it is easy to think you need to cover every minute detail, practice your test one million times, and check your horse over one thousand times per day. However, oftentimes we get sucked into this trap and it becomes detrimental to our performances rather than helpful. We sat down with #TeamAthletux rider Andrew McConnon to go over how he prepares for a big event and get 5 tips to help you prepare for your next big show, no matter what discipline it may be.

1. KEEP IT SIMPLE

There is no need to get complicated or try to do too many things before a big event. Truth is, you have probably done your homework and even if you don’t feel prepared, you probably are. Andrew likes to stick to his normal routine and keep things very simple in the barn to ensure the horses don’t get stressed or overworked, which leads perfectly into the next few tips.

2. KEEP IT NORMAL

With horses, the best thing you can do is to act like it is any other show or event. When you are preparing for a three-day event or even a big jumper show or dressage show, you don’t want to let your horse in on the fact that this may be more important or bigger than just the average show. Don’t deviate from your normal routine and stick to it as much as possible.

3. DON’T OVERWORK

It is easy to get caught up in all the little details and trying to do too much. I try to give my horses a lighter week leading up to a big event to ensure their bodies feel their best. You don’t want them to feel sore or tired.

4. DON’T OVERSTRESS

While you are making sure your horses feel their best, make sure you feel your best as well and don’t over-stress. It can be hard to not stay up late thinking about everything and constantly going over your plan in your head. Take some time for yourself and get out of the barn to make sure you are staying as mentally healthy as your horses are.

5. HAVE MANY PLANS

With all things that are horses, by the end of the season, we will probably be on plan Z and going an entirely different route than we thought we would be at the beginning of the season. Don’t be stressed if you have to divert your plan and always be prepared for something to change. Enjoy the process and know that everyone else is probably having to change plans constantly too. And then if everything goes to plan, more reason to celebrate!

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