Bad First Show Experience - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-14-2015, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Bad First Show Experience

I've been pretty excited for my first show for awhile but it definitely didn't turn out like I thought it would. I didn't expect to win or anything but I placed second to last in all of my classes and got disqualified in my last one. I'm usually a pretty calm rider which is why I work well with this mare that I've been riding for awhile as she gets strung out and tense when the rider is but at the show I kind of forgot about that and the nerves got the best of me and I had a hard time slowing her down and getting any sort of downward transition because every time the loudspeaker came on, I tensed up and we sped off into a really broken trot or an unbalanced canter. I didn't do any jumping because my flat classes ended up being a disaster. In hindsight, I probably would have done better off with showing on one of the calmer been there done that lesson horses but I thought I'd be fine on this mare because I work really well with her at home. I'm just really disappointed with myself for not being able to get myself together I guess and take control of the situation and I've really suffered a blow to my confidence. Does anyone have any tips to get over this experience or did anyone else also have a bad first show?
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-14-2015, 06:47 PM
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I don't remember my first show, as I believe I was 5. But the first show I did with my previous horse, I was 12, and he was a 10 y/o previous GP horse, he took off around the jumping ring and I could not stop him. We cantered around the ring for a good 15 minutes before he decided he wanted to stop. Ha. I remember that like yesterday. At 14, my trainer put me up on a green horse I've never ridden before to do a 3'9 class. Needless to say, the horse went in the ring and refused to move. We were disqualified. I don't feel bad though, my trainer got on him and couldn't get him to move either. My trainer would put me in an eq class every now and then to ruffle my feathers. We never placed. My horse was just not the eq type. We took 2nd in the mini prix that day. Not every horse is built for every class, and same with riders. The more you show, the more your nerves go away. It's a learning experience for you and the horse.
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post #3 of 11 Old 09-14-2015, 07:14 PM
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pretend you are in a riding lesson and the loudspeaker is your instructor giving you 'orders' while you ride. the other horses and riders are other lesson 'kids'.
repeat to yourself as you go in the gate 'it's just another lesson'.
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post #4 of 11 Old 09-14-2015, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by EdmontonHorseGal View Post
pretend you are in a riding lesson and the loudspeaker is your instructor giving you 'orders' while you ride. the other horses and riders are other lesson 'kids'.
repeat to yourself as you go in the gate 'it's just another lesson'.
Really great advice! I also feel like everyone's first show is to get the hang of what a show is even like. Don't be too hard on yourself! Maybe ask someone to get a megaphone (not kidding) and announce things to you when you ride for a while just to learn to tune it out as background noise. We can't be prepared for everything! So come better prepared each time you go
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-14-2015, 07:56 PM
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I wouldn't "count" the first show as anything else other than practice getting out there! Once you get used to showing, you can start focusing on what place you get. Even though I haven't shown as an adult, I did a fair amount of showing as a kid, and I don't remember caring about placing until I got used to it.
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-14-2015, 08:19 PM
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Don't be too hard on yourself, everyone has to get "through" that first show. You didn't get bucked off in the ring or run the Judge over so that's good.
One thing you could do is have a loud radio going right beside the ring while you are riding at home. I remember with one of my horses I was showing for the first time, we were right beside the loudspeaker when the announcer came on and my poor horse just about had a heart attack. Another time with a green horse it spooked badly at something and we did almost run the Judge over, needless to say, we didn't place. I think the Judge would have placed us 18th out of 16 entries.
The next time will be better as you now know how your horse will behave at the shows and can work on those things at home to prepare.
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-14-2015, 08:21 PM
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Yup, if the first show went wrong, just chalk it up to experience and try to do better next time.

I agree about trying to block out everything going on around you.

You can work on your show nerves at home as well, get dressed up and prepare like it's a show day and have a friend yell at you with a bullhorn to replicate the loudspeaker. You can also have friends stand at the rain or in stands if you have them and yell and wave banners.

I would do this from the ground first then work up to doing it mounted just in case the horse doesn't react well the first few times.

"They see me rollin, They hatin, Patrolling they tryin to catch me ridin dirty"
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-14-2015, 09:19 PM
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It's a learning experience, you will look back and laugh. Keep at it, this will soon be a distant memory once you are winning everything!
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-14-2015, 09:33 PM
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You really will look back and laugh. Nerves can take over, you learn to expect them and take no notice.

When you go into the ring think of it like you are showing your trainer the best of your horse and training. Really you are doing just that, so results aren't something you look for, they are acknowledgement of your cumulative work. :)

Just a couple of tips. Often riders 'bunch up' in the ring (and not just novices either!) try and keep in a clear space so you can be seen. And remember to relax and enjoy the process :) it's supposed to be fun.

It's probably safe to say it will never be that bad again, you have a better idea what to expect now.
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post #10 of 11 Old 09-15-2015, 07:10 AM
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Welcome to the world of horses and the disappointments that come along with them!

There will be highs too, they are just a little bit harder to achieve when starting out!

First show nerves are bound to happen - many still suffer with show nerves fifty years on! Use it all as a learning experience.
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