Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: North, way up North.
• Horses: 0
That's pretty normal, especially if the horse is fairly young/new to showing. Think of it this way: he's in a new environment with different sights, sounds and smells than he's used to. There is a lot happening around him, with tons of people and horses he doesn't know. On top of that, he is expected to perform, not to mention that he will also pick up on any nerves you might have about showing.
I would suggest you cut him a bit of a break. As Cowgirls Boots suggested, it might be a good idea to take him to a few shows without entering just so he can get used to the environment. Feed him, groom him, tack him up and ride around in the warm up ring (being sure to give right of way to legitimate competitors). Basically do everything you would at a show without actually being in any classes. Make a fuss of him and let him know he's a good boy. And when you do finally take him to a show where you are entering classes, make sure you are riding at a higher level at home than you do at the show. For example, if you are doing 3' hunters at home, only enter hunters up to 2'6" in shows. That way you know you can do what is expected of you and there will be less pressure on both of you.
Also, although it's more time consuming, it might be helpful to arrive at the show the day/night before to help him settle in a bit more. I find that this helps with my greenies.