Whether you're a seasoned horse show veteran or a first timer, nerves are inevitable.
Most importantly, remember that everyone gets nervous. Even the most experienced riders get butterflies before they enter the ring. Acknowledge your nerves and allow yourself to feel them, but don't dwell on them.
The best advice I ever received was from my dad, it’s called Box Breathing. It is simple, effective and easy to remember, and when I see my Dad in the crowd making a square shape with his finger, it’s the perfect reminder.
Box breathing is simply breathing into the count of four, hold it for a count of four, and exhale to a count of four, then hold it for the count of four. Visualize a square during each breath cycle.
It is important to be prepared both mentally and physically for your horse show. This means practicing at home so that you are familiar with the movements and courses, and also being sure to warm up thoroughly before riding.
With these tips in mind, you should be able to approach your next horse show with confidence and excitement rather than nerves.
Take some deep breaths, focus on the present moment, and remember what it took to get you to this very moment.