I think I may have posted something similar to this before but I'm posting this because the 2013 show season is starting up and I want it to be successful. My horse is always very unfocused at shows. He is always looking around (which wouldn't be a big deal if he didn't do it while I was riding, because I can never get his attention back on me) and whinnying at his buddy. Basically doing anything that doesn't involve being focused on what he's doing. He has never been so bad that he's bucked, reared, bolted, and that type of thing, but I can tell his mind is always somwhere else when I'm riding him. It's like he's got just enough of his attention on me so he can do what I ask of him but it's mediocre. Definitely not as good as what I've seen him do at home. Our first show this year was March 9th- a schooling show at the university. I signed up for Youth WP walk/ trot and walk/trot/canter. The last two times I've been to one of their shows there were no youth western riders there at all. So when I went last time I said that if there were a few youth riders I would show but if there weren't I would take the opportunity to just ride him like I would at home and not have to worry about actually showing. I ended up riding him in a big grassy area at the show for about an hour and a half. At the end of my ride I felt like we'd regressed. How does that even happen? I thought maybe if I rode him like I do at home he would begin to see that when we go to shows he has to be on his best behavior and do like he does at home, but that really didn't happen. He really is a great horse and I know that he's trying but it's very frustrating. The next time I rode him at home he did sooo amazing. I can't do anything at home to prepare for this stuff at shows because most of the time he's an angel at home! I just want to go to shows knowing that I have a chance to do well.
So, to get to the point of that really long story, can anyone help me with some exercises I can do with him at home or the show. Or just some words of encouragement because I'm overwhelmed. I get so excited to go to shows but then I wonder why once I get there.