Some people just always seem to get nervous before shows or performances in any situation. What I'd be concerned most about (besides of course the uncomfortable feeling
) is how your horse is reacting.
The first reaction we get is the adrenaline. This is part of our survival instinct, but goes a little bit deeper than that. We produce adrenaline because, first off, it gets us more energy, and second because we can take in more of our surroundings. Something interesting about how the body reacts in addition to excreting adenaline is that the network of nerves surrounding our digestive tract releases histamines that inflammate the small intestine. This triggers immune cells from our bloodstream to go and gather in the imflammated areas. Now, why all this just because of the "fight or flight" instinct? Because that is a way of preparing for a potential slash or hit in the gut. If we get a cut right in our abdomen (our most vulnerable area) without the infection-creating bodily juices, but instead, with a constricted, immunity-cell flourishing bloodstream, we have a greater chance of survival.
When our adrenaline starts pumping, our minds often begin to race. We might start to think things like "Oh god, oh god, I gotta tack up, gotta go faster, hurry what if I'm late, what if I forget to.....?"
This won't help the situation, though, not in the prescence of your horse, when there is not really a true danger.
We all are aware that horses are acutely sensitive to emotions and energy, right? Well, our thoughts create emotions, which then produce a type of energy. If we are thinking about worse-case scenerios--even SUBconsciously--
then we will begin to radiate an aura of anxiety. Our horses will pick up on this and assume we know about something stress-producing going on that they don't, and thus will begin to freak out.
(Wow this reply is getting longer than I expected......xD...hope you don't mind...lol.)
So now--how to reverse that? We need to start as close to the root as possible.
Now, since we can't really reverse our instinctual bodily reactions, we'll start with the second phase: Thoughts & Creating a Positive Energy.
When you get your horse out before the show, slow your breathing. Though the fight vs flight naturally raises your respitory rate, you have the power to stop that from progressing once you become aware of it. ;)
Next, I would just put my hands on my horse's neck. Close your eyes if you feel comfortable. Now, imagine a scene that brings peace and comfort to both you & your equine partner. One I usually picture a spring pasture with me sitting in the grass, Horse grazing alongside me, soaking up the sun. There is a little creek that runs through--I can hear it flowing--I can feel the sun--I can see my horse.
Got it? :)
Let yourself relax. That is a key point. Tell yourself, it's okay to be calm. It's great to be relaxed. Not everyone would think it, but you sometimes need permission from yourself to feel a certain way in certain situations!
Now that you have created a peaceful and enjoyable energy, you can release the image of the scene, but keep it as the backdrop of your mind. However, do not release the soothing energy. You can even imagine a orb around you (what color would it be for you? What shape?) and even one for your horse, as well, of that soothing energy that is protecting you from the inside, out.
If you get into the warm-up arena, and begin to feel your mind start speeding again, it's okay to halt, rest your hands on his neck, and recall that image or memory. Or, you can even just walk and feel
the motion of the horse. You are okay.
Lastly, I would suggest you either try this for the first time not on the day of a show, or to allow yourself to compete, but not worry about placing. Just think about getting into sync with you oh-so in-the-moment equine partner, and it will get better over time.
HOPE THIS HELPED!!!
I know I sure wrote a lot; let me know if you try this, or how the show goes, either way. :)