My 3 year old mare is going to her 3rd-year keuring (it's a big show where they judge conformation and movement of her breed) next fall, and I'm so afraid that she's going to act up. I've gotten her to the point where she handles well, and anyone can handle her most of the time. I say "most of the time" because today she decided to be a bit of a brat and wanted to start jigging while in hand. Her jigging has always been based on anxiety, and usually emerges at new places. I think that, this time, her jigging was just caused by lack of exercise over the weekend, and a nice cool day.
I would take her to the keuring site to get her familiar with the grounds, but it's 5 hours away, and I'm sure she'd forget it all anyway. All we can do is get there ahead of time and try to familiarize her to the environment quickly.
My problem is this: She's come a LONG way, has matured a lot, and usually acts like a saint. But I'm very afraid that she'll act up and possibly get herself or another horse hurt, as well as make herself look like an unhandled 3-year-old. (You wouldn't believe how many people choose to halter break their horses only a couple of months before this event!) There will be many other horses at the event, and trailers are going to be coming and going. I wish I could take her somewhere to get her used to a bustling environment, but I don't think that will be possible since my mother's trailer is 3 hours away.
Anyone have any helpful tips to get a horse to calm down quickly and quietly without making a scene? I always try to act as big and confident as possible while telling her to knock it off, then relax and exhale dramatically a few times. Sometimes it does the trick, but it might not. I need something else to try for the "just in case it doesn't work" moments!
And if I were able to take her to a county fair in the area, or some kind of event, what would you do to get her used to the hustle and bustle? Keep her around the edges of the event? Keep her tied to a trailer? Lunge her before taking her near the other horses? She does well around other horses, typically. Her meeting and greeting is usually limited to a squeal.
I haven't had to do this kind of training with a young horse before, and I don't want to do too much, too fast! Any advice would be much appreciated!