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Old 07-31-2014, 04:40 PM   #1
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Show Jitters

Does anyone have some tips for relaxing/calming down at a show?

I have a show on Saturday that we're (my horse and I) are prepared for, but I always get extremely nervous before my first class.

Any ideas?
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Old 07-31-2014, 05:20 PM   #2
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I was told to sing a song in my head. You Are My Sunshine was suggested. But every time all I can think of is 'I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay, I sleep all night and I work all day'. I think it's Monty Python.
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Old 07-31-2014, 05:22 PM   #3
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I almost forgot, have fun and good luck! And try not to be tense so your smile will look natural, not a grimace.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:45 PM   #4
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I will try that, thank you!
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Old 08-01-2014, 09:33 AM   #5
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I am one that I will put headphones in and get in the zone right before the class. And remember to breathe.

Good Luck!
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:39 AM   #6
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So, how'd you do?
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:03 PM   #7
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Even though the show is past, thought I'd tell you some things that I've done, incase you go to more.

Remember to breath...sounds foolish but it's true, sometimes it's easy to tense up and hold the breath.

Sing a song in your head or, outloud. Make up your own lyrics to keep it silly (helps you to not be so serious & keeps you off auto pilot)

Play patti cake w/ the friend next to you. Yep, done it!

I tend to get on just before my run and hang back away from the arena. Keep my horse and I calmer.
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:41 PM   #8
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We did alright, thanks for asking! My equitation class went very well, even after a few years of not showing! My mom said that a lady she was sitting next to was complaining about how my Morgan's head and neck shouldve been long and low like the the qh's.It was just a local show with mostly stock horses, I think there were maybe two other non-stock type horses. Anyway, the lady's comment made me giggle and relax.
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Old 08-04-2014, 01:45 PM   #9
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Good for you! My boy is just a 1/4 Morgan and has the Morgan body so his head is never low like the real stock horses, either. That's one reason I want to get into western dressage. The horses move much more naturally.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:15 PM   #10
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At open shows, non stock horses are not meant to move like AQHA horses, and any judge that is judging an open show, regardless of personal; background (this is of course theoretical and idealist standard ), does not just judge horse against horse, but ratHER AGAINST THAT horses breed standard.
Thus, if a Morgan horse is performing closer to ideal of Morgan western pl, then an AQHA horse to AQHA standards, then that Morgan should win.
Far as equitation, it is on the rider-have a good and exact pattern, hitting those markers, and a correct equitation position, the level of that horse's head carriage means not a thing!
Open shows are all breed shows, so no specific breed standard is used (or should be)
The winner should be a horse that moves closet to it`s own breed standard, thus a Morgan is not expected to move or have the topline of an AQHA horse, nor is that Morgan expected to have that level of self carriage on a loose rein, as a stock horse
As for relaxing, visualize your ride,block out all observers in the stands, breathe and ride
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:37 AM   #11
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Sounds like it was a success! Way to go

My show later this month was cancelled but I hope to do another one someday.
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Old 08-07-2014, 02:25 PM   #12
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I used to get the jitters so bad, there was a time (or a few)when I was sick to my stomach the morning of the show. I always used to get so nervous which in turn made my horse nervous - making me more nervous, and it escalted into a whirling ball of nerves chipping into fences, and spooking around rail classes.

And then one day I had a lightbulb moment of sorts,(What was I so nervous about?) and I was weirdly calm, and went into the ring and did great. What caused said lightbulb moment - I will never know, but it worked and has worked ever since. Sometings that I do if I get nervous include breathing deeply and correctly (not hyperventilating). In through the nose, and out through the mouth and breath using your whole lungs and support with your diaphram and tummy muscles. Six usually does it for me because I need to concentrate on doing it correctly. Singing, as mentioned, and I will count to myself like a metrinome to keep pace and keep calm in a class.

I also understand the joys of showing a Morgan in Stock horse land (half Morgan in my case) most judges here are only familiar with the QH standard and didn't have a clue what to do with him. He was an all star in the show ring though, so we usually ended up pinning based on the fact he almost never put a hoof wrong, despite me interfering with him.

Glad it all went well for you. Shows can be great fun!
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Old 08-07-2014, 02:29 PM   #13
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Showing never made me nervous but all the going's on could be a bit disconcerting for the horse so I would hum Toreador. My mare was so used to this I could actually control her speed by the beat in the humming and it kept her relaxed. Bad nerves are caused by focusing on oneself. If one instead focuses on the horse and all it's needs it helps to calm those jitters.

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Old 08-07-2014, 04:48 PM   #14
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I totally disagree Smilie. I've often seen open shows where the judges are breed specific and the horses that fit into what they look for in their breed shows will win. Sometimes open shows have a tough time finding a judge or they back out last minute and they're stuck with whoever they can get and they have an idea in their mind about what a western pleasure horse looks like. Not to mention that how does a judge know what breed a horse is when it comes through the gate? My boy is only a quarter Morgan and half Quarter Horse so a judge would expect him to move like a Quarter Horse I guess? He has the body of a Morgan.

I've seen a judge kissing at a TWH that didn't lope but was doing the running walk because she didn't know any better. She was trying to 'help' the rider. I happened to be in the same class but my Walker did lope.
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Old 08-07-2014, 05:07 PM   #15
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My experience is in line with NorthernHorseGirl's. Where I grew up you either had to conform to the QH breed standard or put out one heck of a ride/round that they couldn't justifiably not place you. Not how it should be, but unfortunately how it is.
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernHorseGirl View Post
I totally disagree Smilie. I've often seen open shows where the judges are breed specific and the horses that fit into what they look for in their breed shows will win. Sometimes open shows have a tough time finding a judge or they back out last minute and they're stuck with whoever they can get and they have an idea in their mind about what a western pleasure horse looks like. Not to mention that how does a judge know what breed a horse is when it comes through the gate? My boy is only a quarter Morgan and half Quarter Horse so a judge would expect him to move like a Quarter Horse I guess? He has the body of a Morgan.

I've seen a judge kissing at a TWH that didn't lope but was doing the running walk because she didn't know any better. She was trying to 'help' the rider. I happened to be in the same class but my Walker did lope.
I am talking of ideal, and the way open shows technically are supposed to be judged.
I agree that it takes a great judge to have that expertise, esp at the smaller shows, but I have taken enough judging clinics to know that is SUPPOSED to be how open shows are judged.
I will be the first to admit that this ideal judge is elusive, although i have shown under a few that had the expertise
In my case, it was myself showing Smilie under an Arabian judge/trainer, and he placed me to win over a pretty good Arabian in western pl
A judge might not know a half bred or grade horse, as to breed, but any judge with a solid horse background can certainly tell an Arabian from a stock horse or a Morgan
I agree that at those small open shows, often the person judging isn't even carded, and I have seen some pretty poor judging. You don't take those placings seriously, but consider that if your horse works well, then you had a good show
My comment was in regards to that women that said the horse should move more with the topline of a stock horse, which is incorrect
You do not change the way you ask your horse to move, depending on the 'flavor' of the judge for that day at an open show, but rather how your horse has to go at shows that count
I also won a large open English class, with Smilie, against TBs, Arabians and other more traditional English type horses, and under a judge from a Dressage background
I have also experienced very bad judging at open shows, having someone with an English background, and no clue of reining, judging
My horse was the only one doing flying lead changes, correct rollbacks and spins. When I rode up to her in order to drop the bridle, for bit inspection, as is done in reining, she had no clue, patted my horse on the head, and said 'you have to learn to take it easy!'
The horse that won, dragged a hind lead both ways and the second place horse did simple changes, wallowed around in the rollback
I figure if someone with no clue decides they are qualified to judge, then let them make fools of themselves, because chances are, someone watching is going to notice!
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