Spartan with ribbons

Horse Show Jitters

For many of us, it is show season which means it is time to see how all of our hard work has paid off through our many days of training.  We work hard all week long to bring out the best in ourselves and our horses.  One thing we don’t think about is our before show jitters.  I am not saying all of us have them but I know for a fact that I have them both the night before and the day of!!  It doesn’t matter how many shows I go to I still get that queasy feeling in my stomach.  One thing that seems to calm them is knowing when I enter the arena I have a job to do and I need to do my best to complete it.

The night before is always the most nerve-racking for me and I find it difficult to settle into a groove to calm my nerves.  I find myself tensing up and getting all worried about what my horse might do that might throw me off of my game.  I also tend to grab at the reins and steer my horse with them without thinking and using my body correctly.  All of this makes for an ugly picture especially when I am in a new environment.  Thankfully I have the help of my trainer to help keep my head on straight.  Without her, I would be a complete wreck.

Here are some ways to overcome night before jitters:

-Listen to music that will keep your mind focused

-Listen to meditation CDs to put you into a peaceful sleep

-Spend some time doing other stuff, such as reading, blogging, drawing, etc.

The day of is almost as bad as the night before for me because that is when I realize it is time to show what I have learned.  I try to keep myself as calm as possible but struggle with that because I am worried about other people beating me (I know, silly right?).  I am always competitive and want to be “better” than everyone instead of only worrying about me and how good I can be.  The other thing that is bad is when I rush through my test and don’t take the time to think things through.  There are a couple of times when I froze cold during a test because I actually forgot part of it!  Thank goodness for a reader!! Also if I didn’t have help and guidance from my trainer I probably wouldn’t successfully complete my tests (scary to think about!).

Here are some ways to overcome show day nerves:

-Take a deep calming breath and think about the task at hand

-Take some time to review your test for extra memorization

-Talk out your strategy with someone who came with you

-Have fun and just ride your horse!!!

Having horse show jitters isn’t necessarily a bad thing and sometimes great things come out of it.  You may be nervous as heck but have a fantastic test! This happens to me quite a bit and I never know what my outcome will be.  I figure I just need to go with the flow and let things happen as they come.  It would be interesting to hear some other ways show nerves are dealt with!!  How do you overcome them?

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