How to Better Control Your Horse Show Nerves


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Do you find yourself battling with nerves every time that you head to a horse show? Horse show nerves are common, but if left unchecked, they can get out of control. These tips can help you to control your horse show nerves so that you have a more enjoyable time at every show.

Be Well Prepared

Nerves often originate from the fact that we feel under prepared for the horse show that we’re competing in. Start by preparing yourself and your horse months before the show. Take regular riding lessons, work hard, and note how you and your horse have improved. Make sure that you enter a show and a division which is appropriate for your level – it should challenge you and your horse, but you should also be capable of comfortably completing the movements required at the show.

Bring Friends

To lighten the show environment a bit, consider bringing a friend or two along with you. Even if your friends are showing themselves, you can help keep nerves under control by talking to each other and helping each other prepare. Horse shows are always more fun when you have friends with you.

Remind Yourself Why You’re Competing

Sometimes you can focus so intently on winning that you forget the actual reason why you’re competing. Remind yourself that competing really isn’t about winning – it’s about progressing and identifying areas where you and your horse can still improve. Remember that riding is a fun activity and that you do this because you love it.

Control Your Breathing

Before you enter the ring and while you’re competing, take some deep breaths. Focus on letting these breaths go all the way to the bottom of your lungs; visualize your lungs expanding down deep into your core. Slow, deep breathing can help to slow your heart rate, leaving you feeling relaxed and better prepared.

Use a Mantra

Come up with a mantra that you can mentally recite while you’re competing. A mantra is a short, positive phrase that you say over and over again for reassurance and to keep yourself thinking positively. Mantras such as “I am a good rider,” or “We are ready for this” can help to quell show nerves when you’re competing.

Horse show nerves can be restricting and can even negatively affect your performance. Put these tips to better control your show nerves to work and see whether you notice an improvement in your performance and comfort.

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