How to Deal with Pre-Show Jitters

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Nikki and I are going to make our 2009 show season debut in 5 days.  I’m sure pre-show jitters accounts for my crabbiness yesterday (sorry to my husband and kids).  So, today, I’ve come up with some ways to deal with the jitters:

1.  Ride:  O.k., this one may seem fairly obvious.  When you have a competition coming up, you should practice, right?  Right.

2.  Practice in a relaxed way:  Now is not the time to cram for the test!  I’m trying to ride very relaxed; going out with really no expectations and just running Nikki and I through our paces.  Trying to hit everything the judge may ask of us on Sunday:  Walk, trot, canter, canter pick-ups from the walk and trot, sitting trot, halt, back, stand quietly.

3.  Prepare early:  Get all your stuff ready – clean tack, clean boots, pull horse’s mane, trim whiskers, bathe horse.  Gather up all your clothes – hat, shirt, pin, coat, gloves, breeches, socks, sweatshirt to wear in the morning so you don’t get dirty.  Get together all the other miscellaneous stuff you need for the day for you, your horse, and your “support staff”.  The last thing you need is a final moments panic about where something is.  Having everything in place will give you a sense of calm.

4.  Schedule your day and your “people”:  What time does the show start?  What time is your first class?  What time do you need to arrive at the show in order to give yourself and your horse a relaxed morning?  How long do you need to warm-up?  What time is your trainer arriving?  Who is your “support staff” going to be?  Do they know their job?

5.  Do not host a “We Survived Kindegarten” Party for your son’s entire class (or some other large event) the same afternoon as the show.  I’ll remember this next time around.  For this time, you can just learn from my failure to consult my calendar.

6.  Food:  What are you going to eat for breakfast that will be enough to get you through the morning?  Bring snacks.

7.  Prioritize the rest of your life to allow ample time to do steps 1 through 6.

8.  While doing steps 1 through 7, do not turn into a snarling, grumbling, stressed out, crazy person.  Doing so will make it difficult for your husband, children, friends, etc. to support your dream.

Wish us luck!!


(Danelle left 8 Women Dream in March of 2010 and is still working  on her dream is to become an accomplished equestrian)

  • Dawnda

    I can’t wait to read about your experience!

  • I’d love to have you guys! But, you have to promise not to laugh – this is a super beginning show. It will be me and a bunch of 13 year olds! No jumping, just walk, trot classes and maybe some walk, trot, canter. Maybe you should wait ’til we get to some bigger shows.

    But, if you decide you must – its at Hoofbeat Park in Healdsburg. Dry Creek exit, turn left, go back under the freeway, its on your left, almost immediately. Can’t miss it. I’ll be the old one on the giant grey horse. Show starts at 9 and we probably won’t be there much past 11.

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    I want to come watch and cheer you on … I’ll make Heather drive. ;-)