Kristy and her handsome horse, Spartan, join our team from Ohio! We were able
to chat with Kristy about her tips and tricks for handling horse show nerves, just in time for her next dressage show!
Horseplay: We're so excited to hear how you deal with horse show nerves! This is something that plagues many of us that compete. Do you have any specific worries about competing, or do you experience more generalized nervousness?
Kristy: My worries come from not doing as well as I would like after all my training. I train 5 days a week to make every ride even better and I worry that I'll let my trainer and myself down. I fear what I was taught will be forgotten and all our hard work will go to waste. I also have generalized show nerves due to being in a new environment.
Horseplay: Do you have any tools or tricks that help soothe your show nerves?
Kristy: To calm my nerves I take deep breaths, do some stretches, listen to music, and visit with my horse. Also I have a pep talk with my trainer and focus on my ride compared to everyone else's. While these don't eliminate the nerves completely, they calm them enough to do well.
Horseplay: Does your trainer have any specific advice that you feel cracks through those nerves?
Kristy: The best advice my trainer gives is to not worry about over stressing about my ride and just have fun riding my horse. She always tells me that I know my tests and that I should just ride them. Also I am told that my horse will pick up on my nerves and things will fall apart. I need to relax and just let things happen because the placings will take care of themselves.
Horseplay: Do you have any tricks that help you remember your tests?
Kristy: Some of the tricks I use are memorizing the test after printing it off and then riding it over and over before show day. I practice and break down each part to remember it and make sure it is perfect for the show ring. Also, on the day of my test I review everything again in the warm up arena. Having a reader is an excellent way to help get relaxed knowing I have someone to rely on in case I forget something.
Horseplay: You have a show coming up, what are you doing to prepare both you and your horse?
Kristy: I am preparing myself and my horse by thinking ahead about how I am going to memorize my tests and what we need to do to execute each move perfectly. I'm taking time at home to memorize and draw out the test on the dressage white boards so I can figure out placement. During training sessions I ride the test and then break down each part individually to see what needs work. Also I do breathing exercises during the week to stay calm and not get too nervous.
Kristy, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us! We LOVE breathing exercises as a way of calming nerves, and love the idea of going over your test on a white board! Brilliant! Wishing you and Spartan much continued success this season!