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Overcoming Show-Ring Nerves

This topic contains 13 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by riding for Christ riding for Christ 1 year, 8 months ago.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • sunbleachedbay Original Poster sunbleachedbay
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 10

    I started riding again after a couple months off, when show season starts again, what are ways I can overcome my nerves in the show ring and be confident?

    I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse - John Galsworthy.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Pretend you are schooling. Believe that you have the prettiest, smartest, best trained horse in the world who never puts a foot wrong ever. You know you can do it. Your confidence will be transmitted to your horse, and both of you will be fine. If only I could do all this – I’ve become a complete coward. But, it does work. My horses do much better when I truly believe that they will.

    It is never the horse's fault

    sunbleachedbay Original Poster sunbleachedbay
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 10

    Thanks! I definitely will use this!

    I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse - John Galsworthy.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Go for it. I returned to riding after 20 years, and in two seasons my horse earned himself 49 ribbons, mostly blue. He’s 22 and I am 67 – if we can do it, so can you. We even had a bad fall (he was lame and I tore all the ligaments in my shoulder), but we recovered and still ride, although I am leery of cantering now.

    It is never the horse's fault

    sunbleachedbay Original Poster sunbleachedbay
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 10

    Wow, is everyone ok? And ok thanks:)

    I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse - John Galsworthy.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    We are both fine now, other than that my shoulder is no longer connected to my clavicle.

    It is never the horse's fault

    sunbleachedbay Original Poster sunbleachedbay
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 10

    Wow.

    I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse - John Galsworthy.

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 249

    Part of not being nervous at shows is the rider’s attitude and reason for showing. If you show to win, and that is your only goal, it can be hard not to be nervous. But if you show to have a good time with your horse, and perhaps spend some time with other horsey friend, to measure your progress from & improvement from one show to another, and to generally have a good day with people you like & a horse you love, it is much easier to not be nervous. If you are nervous because other people might not think you are a good enough rider, then you are allowing people who don’t really matter to you to control your actions and make you forget why you like riding to begin with. At the end of the show season, what will you really remember, even years later? The good times you had, or how many ribbons you did or did not win?

    P.S. Relaxed riders typically have more relaxed horses, and relaxed horses listen to their rider better and are more likely to be in the ribbons, so not caring about the number of ribbons can actually lead to being awarded more of them.

    sunbleachedbay Original Poster sunbleachedbay
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 10

    Thanks! I will use that, every time I used to go into the show ring it was always about ribbons but I never did very well, and now I’m focusing on my horse and making memories.

    I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse - John Galsworthy.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    I used to show for ribbons, but now it’s just for fun. Also, I get a thrill out of being 67 and still able to ride!

    It is never the horse's fault

    sunbleachedbay Original Poster sunbleachedbay
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 10

    Haha I bet, I want to be like you, be 60 and older and be able to ride

    I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse - John Galsworthy.

    stephanie_ducharme
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    You’ve gotten some great ideas to help you out and the winter to put new patterns (of thought) to practice.
    Another suggestion is to really look at what’s happening when you get nervous. What thoughts (all of them) are coming up? Afraid of failing? Messing up? Afraid if not looking, knowing, riding well enough? Fear around your horse? Fear of what your instructor might say? These are just examples, the list goes on. Once you’ve identified what’s happening now be clear about how you WANT to feel in the ring. In control? Proud? At ease? Breathing? You determine the state you want to be in, the relationship with your horse.
    Next, list what’s already going well. Instead of beating yourself up or worrying yourself into a tizzy, breathe and picture what you and your horse are already good at doing together. How does that image feel? Practicing riding those feelings in your mind is very beneficial to building your confidence.
    Now, practice riding in your mind the way you WANT to feel. Notice how it’s easier since you’ve practiced riding the good stuff you already do?
    Now take it to the ring. Whenever you feel those negative, nervous thoughts or body tension come into your riding, breathe, and go back to the positive feeling/sensation you’ve been practicing. Ride from there. You’ll notice and change your pattern thousands of times before it becomes the new normal. Stick with it. If you can train your body to ride, you can train your brain to ride with confidence. When nerves or fear come up, you’ll have tools to work with and improve your experience every time.

    SpringMoon Acres SpringMoon Acres
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    One technique I have found that will help make you and your horse more confident in the show ring, try to make what you do at home harder then what the show will be. Make your jumps a bit bigger then the show will be, that way when you get there they will seem small and boost both you and your horses confidence. When your practicing on the flat ask for harder moves try to get flawless canter transitions from the walk or halt, try riding without stirrups. All these little things practiced on a regular basis will make everything you do in the show ring seem that much easier when you get there.
    I have found many of my students have responded very well to this technique and are so relaxed and actually make comments on how small the jumps seemed or how easy the flat class was. Hope this helps!

    riding for Christ riding for Christ
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 118

    Whenever i show, i can get nervous, but i act like its no big deal, i do this daily (that kind of attitude). Do it for the fun of it. No presure. If you are nervous your horse will know and he will be nervous too.

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