Fail to plan, plan to fail.
I’ve found that feeling prepared is the best way to combat horse show nerves. Some preparation begins several weeks in advance, and some occurs literally right before the class begins.
* Several weeks before the show, I work with my students to set our goals. Sometimes, our goals stay similar with minor changes, and other times, our goals change drastically depending on multiple factors. It’s important to have a confident grasp of your goals at each show. The goal is rarely about winning, however we find that when we accomplish specific goals, we are rewarded with top ribbons.
* Goals can be as basic as riding straight after each line and using all of your space in each corner during a short stirrup course, or they can be more advanced such as slicing a jump and balancing your horse to execute a rollback turn in a 3’6″ equitation course.
It’s also important that we look prepared. Making a good first impression is very important.
* During the week right before the show, we make sure that our horses are properly clipped, and that their manes are pulled correctly.
* The day before, and each day of the show, we make sure that our horses are properly bathed, and that our tack is cleaned and conditioned.
* The moment before we enter the ring, our freshly cleaned and polished boots are wiped down.
* When we walk into the show ring, we want the judges first impression to be that we look the part, and are prepared. When a judge sees a properly turned out horse and rider, who starts their course confidently, he or she anticipates watching a good course.
So, we feel prepared when we walk into the show ring with a solid understanding of our our goals and know that we have the tools and the ability to accomplish them. We look prepared when we have properly clipped, groomed, and braided horses, with clean tack and clean boots. All of this helps us to feel prepared and combat horse show nerves.
Pleaser feel free to contact Carolyn Bell and Fortitude Farm at Fortitudefarm@gmail.com