Head In The Game

Horse showing isn’t for the faint of heart before you add in baby horses. I have been oh so lucky with my baby horse. Annie is incredibly smart and tries really hard. I have to hold up my end of the bargain though. At the horse show this weekend I let my nerves get the best of me when she was a little up which made a slightly nervous baby into a very nervous baby. It was honestly a really good reminder that while I do have the best little baby ginger she is still a green horse and needs me to be patient and supportive. I felt pretty bad about myself when we finished our over fences classes and that pretty much determined our fate in the flat class. The combination of my attitude and nerves made for a tense baby horse. Lesson learned. Next show will be my opportunity for redemption. Also not forgetting my pre show mimosa every again! Bad juju!
Having Houston back in my life has been a blessing for my attitude though. It is so nice to get on a horse that I made and remember that when I first got him I dealt with the same things that I am going through with Annie. Somehow I managed to (with assistance) install some pretty awesome buttons and Annie is next!
 Do you guys have any good tips for helping with a young horse’s nerves? And your nerves?

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  1. I’m highly competitive, so I can get crazy nervous. Lately, however, I’ve been managing really well because I tell myself that the show doesn’t actually matter. I mean, it does. I still want to win. But it wont kill me to lose. I still try my best, but it’s more like: I’ll try my best but I really don’t care what actually happens, etc. Basically what I did in college haha.

    As for horse nerves – I find that when I am calmer/don’t care/don’t demand more from the horse than I would during a normal schooling ride, the horse is much calmer. I also work the crap out of Fiction to tire him out a bit, since he just has so much energy. I’m trying an experiment now with Mare Magic and it seems to help him focus during our rides. We’ll see how it goes with our show this month.

  2. I will be in this same spot next month…with my own green little red mare! Will be sure to have the makings for an adult beverage on hand and will keep reading others comments for tips!

  3. With babies I always think of shows just as learning opportunities. I recognize that we’ll probably not do super well against the experienced horses and I just want to make it a good experience for my horse and hopefully get some good learning moments in.

  4. I just try to remember it’s a process and no matter what happens, it’s not the end of the world. It’s easy to get bogged down in the details 🙂 As far as horse nerves, it’s all about experience, the more they get out the better. I used to avoid difficult situations, now I try to expose Alex and help him through them so he understands he’s going to be OK. Although it’s not as fun, we do actually learn more from adversity. Annie is a smart cookie, I’m sure she’ll continue to surprise you 🙂

  5. This is me right now, post-ankle breaking. I keep thinking I have the nerves beaten out of me and then I’m proven wrong. I’m turning to booze…Annie is so adorable, you guys will get there!

  6. I’ve done a bit of everything: extra time for a little gallop outside, or actually dismounting during the ‘hurry up and wait’ part of things. You know your horse best, so do what you think she needs. That’ll only tighten your bond too!

  7. I am a basket case in general with constant anxiety issues, regardless of location. The thing that helps me the most is reminding myself to breathe, as well as just counting the rhythm.

  8. I’m such a huge perfectionist, but I have to remind myself that when I ride difficult horses, I’m doing something not everyone can do, and I can’t compare myself to professionals or other amateurs. My favorite thing to do is pick a song and sing it to myself as I’m riding a course; in jumpers, I talk to Lexie non-stop and that has been great for both our nerves!

  9. I used to make my coach say something funny to me as I was going into the ring. It was usually a joke or dirt word. Whatever it was it made me smile and laugh and remember to have fun.