One of my highly experienced instructors, Jane Nordstrom, gave me something to think about a few months ago that had never really crossed my mind before.
One of Jane's rules of riding is, "you can't fight gravity." She explained that especially in a show you want to notice the details of the ring you're riding in, including if there's a part of the ring that is going uphill or downhill. If you're riding downhill, the tendency would be to lean slightly forward into the motion. But with you and your horse leaning downward, when you come out of the hill towards a jump, for example, this puts you at a bad, unbalanced position to come into the jump. Coming into a jump like this could result in your horse running out, stopping, chipping, or you being behind the motion over the jump, resulting in a not very balanced or pretty jump. Instead, you want to balance out heading down on a hill by stretching up really, really tall, looking up and past your jump, and taking a deep breath. This keeps you and your horse collected and ready for a turn into a jump.
Going uphill can be a challenge, too. Because riding up a hill is more work on your mount, you may feel as if your horse is slowing a little. It's easy to break going uphill, so be sure to keep your leg on and encourage your horse forward up the hill.
The show season is here now so these things are really good to take into account. One of the challenges of showing is that often, depending on the show circuit you're competing in, you ride an unfamiliar mount in an unfamiliar ring. Adjusting to your mount and quickly learning how to ride him/her to the best of your ability is a huge task in showing. In addition to that, taking the ring features into account will definitely help you to ride better in shows. Be sure to practice noticing the ups and downs in your ring at home and practice adjusting to riding up and down hills when you get the chance. Practice makes perfect!
Good luck this show season, stay warm and enjoy the Holidays!