For every rider, being in the lead is great, staying in the lead is better still! So, it is very important to know how you behave and ride when in the lead by first anticipating how you will react when it happens to you!
The consequences of not anticipating your reaction, of not imagining how it feels, and of not rehearsing your response could result in you paying the price!
This sort of mental preparation and skill development doesn’t suddenly turn you into a show off, brag or big head. It is good riding, common sense and a competitive spirit that we all need if winning is why we are in the arena!
How can you practice being under the pressure of having that illustrious red rosette in sight and not turn it into a pressure for yourself and your horse? Can you notice changes in your breathing and regulate it on command? Can you lose, notice it gone and then regain your focus within 6 seconds? Can you keep a positive perspective on the outcome whatever it is?
Maintaining that lead position throughout your ride however long or short is as important as getting into the lead in the first place, and gives you the best chance of not being pipped at the post!