You’re totally fine at home, schooling like a pro or jumping 1.10m with ease, but as soon as you see the white boards of a dressage arena, think of the bell ringing for the start of your jumping round or step into a show ring, you go cold.
The first key to solving show nerves is understanding why you get nervous when you compete and identifying exactly what you’re afraid of!
There are 3 main reasons for nerves:
Here are our 3 top tips for winning the battle with your show nerves:
1. Accept them as part of the horse show experience.
Once you accept them, your attention can turn elsewhere, the nerves will then be lowered and can be moved into the back of your thoughts.
2.Think about how your show nerves compromise your riding, and compensate for that.
If you are a timid rider, focus on becoming decisive or “making it happen.” If you feel yourself becoming too aggravated, focus on your composure or even your partnership with the horse, rather than worrying about relaxing.
3. Give yourself a break
Understand being nervous is a natural response to a competitive situation in which you want to do well but cannot control everything that happens.
There are a lot of moving parts to this sport; you work hard and you are hungry to succeed. The more you respect that, and respect ourselves, the less vulnerable you are to feelings and thoughts that bubble up and make you question what you're doing at the barn at 4 am drinking cold coffee and eating stale donuts…
Most important of all, remember to ENJOY YOURSELF!