What can I do to calm me & my horse down during shows?

I had my second horse show about a month ago. It was my horses first show ever. We got three fifths, one fourth, one third, & two seconds. I'm pretty proud of her for that.

Anyways.... I get sooooooo nervous at shows, because of all the people watching me. I know that I shouldn't be because I'm not a bad rider I just get really, really nervous. My horse obviously sensed it at the show because she was so nervous. She never stopped moving. Ever people on the ground that held her bridle could BARELY get her to stop. I mean, it was bad. I was frustrated to the point of tears. I NEVER cry. That's how bad it was. She is a Thoroughbred so she is a little high strung naturally, but never as bad as she was that day.

I know lot's of people say taking deep breaths helps, but I was to busy fighting my mare to even talk to other people. Early before we left for the show she had some Ace under her tongue & she was completely calm all morning. Then as we continued into the afternoon she kept getting more nervous. My trainer said the next time we go to a show, she will bring the bottle & we will give some to her through out the day, but I don't want to rely on drugs to calm her. Is there any supplement of maybe a training technique I can use to get her to calm down?? What can I do to get more confidence in the show ring & calm myself down?

Thanks for your help in advance.

6 Answers

  • zakiit
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    I too am wary of drugs and some of them are not legal for competition. Also there is the risk of oversedating the horse and accidents could occurr. If you must use drugs - take some antihistamines yourself! They have a slightly sedating effect but not so much that you cannot function.

    The best way is to take her to different shows and for the first few times do not enter any competitions, but just tack her up and school her in the practise arena, concentrating on getting her to listen to your aids, sit deep, (keeping breathing is a very important part of life in general!), sing or hum to yourself and this will help with the breathing and relaxation.

    After schooling for a while, take her for walk around the showground preferably under saddle so that she can get used to all the sights and sounds and smells of the showground. Stroke her, talk to her, let her stop and look. It would be well to tie a green ribbon in her tail to indicate that she is rather "green" at shows and her posterior should be avoided at all costs - just incase!

    Then take her back to the horsebox/trailer - or whatever you call it, untack, feed and give a drink and small haynet to pick. Never leave her alone. Then bandage or boot her up to prepare for travel and take her home.

    It might take a few times, but soon she will become an old hand at this lark, then you could perhaps enter a clear round jumping course and have a school around. And think of people watching as jealous of your lovely horse and be proud. You can also mentally think of them all sitting on the toilet (but try not to laugh out loud, people might send for the men in white coats!) and remind yourself that they all go to the toilet and have their own issues!

    For her first competition I am worried that you competed so much, not giving her any time to relax and take in the sights and sounds. Take it slowly. You really want the horse to enjoy her first few experiences of a show.

    Source(s): Riding instructor
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You're probably not going to like my answer, but here it is: Any trainer that has to resort to using Ace on a horse before or during a show should be replaced. You lose your show nerves by being prepared and having your horse prepared. If you are prepared and you know it, you will go in and take care of business and forget what others are doing, thinking or saying. Of course people are watching you and your horse, just like they are watching all riders and their horses. I don't care what horse show it is, it is illegal to use Ace anyway, and not a safe nor professional way to deal with the issue. My advice is to spend more time on that horse and get him actually ready to go to a show, and you as well, then go and take care of business, your business, not that of everyone else. Just go into the class, have your mind on your business, watch the judge and ignore the others. You are clutching up and causing your horse to do the same. If you were confident in your skill, and what you know your horse can and will do, this would not happen. Again, I repeat, ANY trainer that has to rely on Ace to work with a horse, other than maybe doctor him at home, should be replaced, period. Not only does she lack the skills to help you overcome your issues, she lacks the integrity.

  • 1 decade ago

    I had a very nervous and scared mare, untill i worked with her and now she's perfect.

    Anyways, all horses will get a tad excited and nervous at horse shows, because of all the horses running around and every thing.

    So, first off the best thing to do is really get your horse to trust you and respect you and understand you at home and on the ground work. Even if you think you have a pretty good bond, you should kepp working on it. The more your horse trusts you, the more she will understand you when riding, and this will definitaly help at horse shows.

    And when you get to horse shows, take it SLOW and EASY. dont be rushed, relax and just wonder around giving your horse pats and treats. Get on as early as you can and just walk. If you can, go to a horse show and walk around but dont enter any of the classes. just spend the day there getting used to the atmasphere.

    Good luck, have pateince.

  • 1 decade ago

    honestly i was the exact same way. it takes time to be able to relax.

    you do need to breathe it relaxes you and your horse. if you horse doesnt want to stand still have her walk about the show grounds or go ride in the make up ring...you dont have to do hard work as long as her mind is busy and you are breathing and focusing you will be fine.

    also it helps me if i just think positive no matter what. i had a little girl tell me my horse was stupid i said ok and walked away smilin cause i know my horse is talented and beautiful and it only matters what i think.

    when you start to think of other people watching you...im serious now. IGNORE THEM!! who cares if they watch you cue with the wrong leg or your horse stumble. lol it happens. just focus on your horse, how your riding, your breathing, and what is coming next. Think ok.. i do this, breathe, then this, breathe, say good girl, breathe, go around the corner, breathe, cue her, breathe, relax, smile, HAVE FUN!!!, breathe. :)

    make sure showing is FUN! thats what it should be. :)

    just breathe have fun and relax. and if your horse wont sit still walk her around the show or walk her in the make up ring or ride circles...dont make her do something that might get you frustrated too.

    Source(s): ride show and train my appy mare.
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  • 1 decade ago

    I do this weird thing, I'm not even sure how to explain it but here it goes....

    before I get on I think, just another ride just another ride just another ride. Then when I get on any time I try to think about anything beside riding as perfectly as I can I tell myself to shut up. I go through the list. Heels down, shoulders back, chin up, eyes ahead, fingers closed, back straight, seat soft etc. I focus focus focus right through my horses ears.

    A drink of water always helps me too for some reason.

    ETA* also try to get your horse to the show a day or so before her classes if possible, try to ride everywhere you can, and enter all those warm up classes so when you get in your real classes you have all the nervous out of you!

  • calm yourself down before you get on your horse.

    sing a song to yourself and your horse. find one you both like and will work

    stop fighting her and just relax loosen up and show her that you guys dont have to get yourselfs all worked up for nothing.

    make sure your not so nerves ur giving her mixed signals dont wanna confuse her!

    Hope this helps and GOOD LUCK at your next show

    Source(s): 16 years of riding and training and 6 years of doing shows.
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