Most athletes have butterflies prior to the big game. When you, as a horse back rider and competitor have a case of nerves, your horse can feel it. Remember:
what goes in the brain, goes down the rein
Keep these simple tips in mind when heading out for your show to help you keep your cool while in the show ring.
- Recognize your nerves. Before being able to get a hold of your nerves you must first recognize them. Feeling queasy, nervous, agitated and irritable are all signs of nervousness. If you feel this way take a deep breath and relax throughout your body. Your body, when under pressure, tightens up and breathing and relaxing helps to get oxygen to your muscles and relieves tension in your body.
- Be confident you can do it. You will feel more secure if you know you are within your depth. If you are schooling 2’6″ at home, don’t enter a 3foot class at a show. Develop a schooling program to prepare yourself for the big day and be assured you can do this.
- Sleep. Get enough sleep leading up to the show. Rest assured you will not get to
much sleep the night before the show so make sure you are well rested on the nights leading up to the show.
- Get organized. Have a list and check things off as you put them into the trailer. Keep things organized and prepare your equipment in advance.
- Don’t be rushed. Arrive to the show grounds in plenty of time. Get a routine so you know what you should be doing while at the grounds.
- Stay away from negative people. Being around negative people just brings everyone down. Negative comments erode your confidence. If you need to be by yourself to review your round or class, go and be by yourself and concentrate on the good points of the round to help maintain your confidence.
- Know you belong. Don’t be intimidated by others around you. Concentrate on your horse and know you have the knowledge and ability to handle situations which arise at horse shows. Most situations which arise at horse shows have been dealt with while schooling at home.
- Get help if you need it. If you need help don’t be afraid to ask for it. It may be from a knowledgeable friend, your regular instructor or coach, if you get into a sticky situation with some last minute challenges, enlist the help so you can get your confidence back on track before heading into the ring.
- Know it’s all right to feel nervous. Nerves can work to your benefit. They make you feel more alert, and more engaged with your horse so use them to your advantage.
- Breath and have fun! You will be surprised how much fun you can have if you make the decision to enjoy yourself rather than win ribbons.