Calming Show Nerves
So I used to show frequently, like once a month for a yr and a half. Then I switched barns and didn't show for almost 3 years. Last Oct I took my horse to a show, just a local schooling show. We only entered flat w/t classes as it was her first show ever, and my first show in a long time. I'm very happy to report that we took a first, two second, a third and a 6th (<-- that was in champion. We could have done better but we were both tired and the champ class was our last class of the day. I probably shouldn't have done 3 classes in a row, either. Still, not bad with 16 people in the class)
Anyway, the week leading up to the show, I trained every single day. Typically I go to the barn 3-4 times a week, but that day I went out 7 days straight. Buuttttt....I was super nervous. The night before the show a bunch of family and friends went out to eat at one of my fav places and I just picked at my food. I couldn't eat. At the show itself I thought I was going to throw up at one point, and my stomach hurt like mad.
But then I enter the ring. And as soon as I do, I stop worrying and just RIDE IT. It's just the time leading up to the show that I get so nervous. And its not that I don't WANT to show, oh don't get me wrong. I LOVE IT. I love the atmoshpere. I love the people. I love getting ribbons. I even enjoy watching other people in classes I'm not in. I train at home to go to shows. I bought my horse intending to go to shows. But I just get so nervous and I don't know how to calm down until I enter the ring. And jumping classes? While I haven't done any yet with my horse, I did at my old barn. If I think flat classes are bad, jumping classes nearly kill me.
I do everything I can think of to relax AT the show. I lunge my horse first, I warm up, I'll just get on her and casually walk around the grounds. I just need any possible tips people with more showing experience (as all in all I've problably only done a show 15-20 times in my lifetime) do to calm down. It sounds so silly being put like this, because it makes me sound like I don't want to do it, and don't want to be there. I really do. I'm not sure what exactly I'm nervous about. Not winning? Sure it is disappointing, but there is always someone better than you. Not placing at all? Sure, it is a little discouragining, but you always try your best. Knowing that is good enough. Maybe knowing where you went wrong to practice more at home. Looking like a fool? Who DOESN'T have a "I'm so embarrassed!" moment from a show? I've already had a few myself. So I'm not sure how to pinpoint what makes me almost shake/feel sick just thinking "next week is a show!"
~He knows when you're happy
~He knows when you're comfortable
~And he always knows when you have carrots.