When Big Brown lost the Belmont Stakes, some folks speculated that it was because he was no longer receiving steroids. Another chimed in to say that no trainer changes anything — not even his underwear — if his horse is winning.
That got me thinking about some of the rituals and good luck charms that many of us use to help calm our nerves before a competition. I’ve compiled these from several bulletin boards and from my own experiences — so the “I” in these is not always me. Just as well, because I’d be just crippled by all these rituals if I had to do them all.
- I have a favorite saddle that I ride in when I’m worried about certain jumps. It’s a Wintec with the equisuede seat and not the fanciest saddle that I own, but I’m pretty sure that it will keep me on over almost any jump.
- Lots of people clean their tack and boots the night before a show, sometimes in a specific order.
- I have lucky underwear and socks. And I always put my right tall boot on before my left.
- I also have specific socks and underwear depending on the discipline of the show.
- I have a lucky bracelet I like to wear.
- I have a certain gold ring that I always wear for competitions, but I take off other jewelry.
- I have a penny that got into one of my tall boots. I never take it out.
- I have an Irish coin (with a horse on it) that I put into my jacket pocket.
- I never put my gloves on until I’m on deck.
- Aside from the lucky leopard print tall boot socks, I cannot wear anything new in a show or I’ll have a bad ride. If its something minor, like gloves or a hairnet, then I’ll crash a jump or have refusals. But if its something like new breeches, shirt, helmet, etc., I’ll fall, and the more major the item, the more major the fall.
- My husband can’t watch. When he does, something bad always happens.
- We have a friend we have gone to a lot of shows with that believes if she sees Magpie birds on the way to the show it means good luck and a good show.
- I have a lucky pair of riding socks that I wear on Day One of a show – they have dancing Hawaiin ladies on them and they are like 10 years old now (the ladies are looking a bit stretched by now).
- I make a song play list of “inspirational” music that I listen to on the way to a competition to get my confidence up.
- I always use a dark blue hair elastic. I seem to ride better with that color than with any other.
- I have leather spur straps and one side has leather that broke off. I always put that broken spur strap on my right foot, and the good strap on my left foot. If I dont do it that way, I have a bad ride.