Hi, I am new to this site. I have a show coming up in a couple of weeks. I really want to ride a horse named Dee Dee in the show but the barn owner is nervous about her going. I hav been riding her 4 to 5 times a week with 2 to 3 lessons a week. THe last show Dee Dee was it she was really nervous and reared and flipped over on a girl in the ring. The owner is letting me take her but I don't want to get hurt she is very big about 17.3 hands and I don't want Dee Dee to get hurt, so is there anything I can do to calm her down?
Well first, you could ask if you can take her to the show early and get her used to the surroundings- nothing ever goes well when you pull a 17 hand nervous horse out of a trailer, slap a saddle on it, and go for a ride in a place she's never been before:) if you can't, simplest way is to lunge her first. If you lunge her for a time, she will probs calm down and do alll her silliness while on the line. I know what you are going through, I'm heading to my green horse's second ever show this weekend. Of course we can only improve from last time... :) good luck!
Getting there the day before the show would be really great but if you can't do that then I would take it slow. Get her there early and walk her around, let her check out all the sights and just kind of hang out while everyone is doing their thing. I wouldn't even worry about getting on her for the first couple of hours, of course that may mean getting there at 6 AM depending on when the show starts. Then I would get her tacked up and lunge her. Not lunge crazy but let her stretch her legs and loosen up her muscles. Then I'd get on and mosy around before hitting the practice arena.
Every horse is different though and this idea may or may not work....
My advice would be to not hesitate to scratch if you think she isn't handling the show environment well. The more negative experiences she has at shows, the harder it will be to ever show her successfully.