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MoonLadyIsis
Nov. 8, 2011, 08:55 AM
So I am trying keep my nerves in check for greenies first away show....I already purchased rescue remedy and am hoping that works but I'm open to any other suggestions.....thanks in advance!

Dapple Dawn Farm
Nov. 8, 2011, 09:49 AM
My ex (a psychiatrist) would prescribe propanolol for people with "stage fright/ show nerves".

Laurierace
Nov. 8, 2011, 09:52 AM
I would talk to your Dr. OP but I would go with a couple of Benadryl for myself.

SunkenMeadow
Nov. 8, 2011, 09:56 AM
Mimosas with breakfast...wine with lunch...hard alcohol if you are there any later than that

slp
Nov. 8, 2011, 10:20 AM
I would talk to your Dr. OP but I would go with a couple of Benadryl for myself.

Benadryl causes a LOT of drowsiness, I don't think I would want to be on a horse where you will need quick reflexes.
When I used to play a lot of tennis I would often get very nervous before a match...I found if I took 3 OTC ibuprofen about an hour before I played it really helped my nerves. A friend that was a pharmacist agreed that it worked for that, can't remember the reason she gave me but I sure noticed a difference.
(Rescue Remedy doesn't do squat IMO.)

hasahorse
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:45 AM
I have the same problem. My doctor just prescribed Xanax for me. I take one before a jumping lesson, which of late has been giving me great anxiety. The difference is night and day. Before, I couldn't get through a lesson without panicing. Even though I "knew" nothing was going to go wrong, the receptors in my brain just kept firing that something would. I would be so paralized with fear that I would be lucky to steer in the correct direction. Now, I can canter around the course and actually think about what I am doing and where I am going. The Xanax just shut down the parts of my brain that were drowning out everything else. I can't believe it took me this long to start taking it. I have only experienced one side effect, which is I do get a bit sleepy - not to the point where I am going to pass out asleep, but if I were to lay down, I'd have a nice nap. I have only noticed it when I have sat down and just relaxed after I have been moving around or riding.

For the record, I tried pretty much every other method - positive statements, visualization, talking with everyone about it, having a glass of wine before - nothing made a difference until medication.

For some of us, it really is better living through chemistry.

kris578
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:53 AM
valerian is a natural herb that works like xanax if you want to try that as well . .helped me. .dosage is different for everyone but 1 or 2 (depending on anxiety) worked for me taken about 1/2 hour before ride.

shoponee70
Nov. 8, 2011, 12:06 PM
Perfect Prep needs to make a human version for us! :)

REscue Remedy is 27% alcohol- so BE CAREFUL with that stuff - that said. it does take the edge off for those of us with little alcohol tolearnce (myself - lol)
It did work for me, i had a hormonal emo breakdown at a show a few weeks ago.. totally let my hormones take over and phsyche me out. the RR really helped me put everything back into focus.

that said - take it easy on the sugar and caffiene the morning of the show, it'll just make your amplify your nerves and make them even worse if you slug down tons of coffee or soda. Its like putting gasoline on a camp fire.

Go to bed extra early, and wake up half an hour earlier than you planned so you can take your time getting to the show grounds. It's green - its going to make mistakes, cut yourself some slack and the greenie and remember this is FOR FUN...

drugs- if its not a rated show and you know its going to be silly talk to your trainer about maybe giving it half a cc of ace before you leave for the show to take the edge off the greenie. ( would probably put YOUR mind at ease if you at least THOUGHT that anyway) :) it'll probably have done its job and worn off by the time you ride anyway.

drugs for you The Valerian works as well, not sure how far in advance you should start it or how long before to make it peak at the right time. Go to your nature store and ask about it. They can probably help you out :)

mustangsal85
Nov. 8, 2011, 12:12 PM
Avoid caffiene... trust me that is hard since I am tired and wanting something to wake me up! But I try to eat a good breakfast, at least something with substance like a bagel and cream cheese or a breakfast sandwich. I have also taken a small dose of Xanax to take the edge off and it did help me a lot. I did not need a ful dose.

Nelzeagle
Nov. 8, 2011, 01:06 PM
Star of Bethlehem, another Bach Flower Remedy, is good for courage & fortitude. Better than Rescue Remedy IMO. Take it (a drop on your tongue) about 20 minutes before your event.

PonyLady29
Nov. 8, 2011, 01:33 PM
I'm not big into taking mind altering medication while riding a 1200lbs animal. That being said I find Rescue Remedy to be a great relief for stress. It seems to take the edge off without altering my mind.

kookicat
Nov. 8, 2011, 01:43 PM
Rescue Remedy made me worse, to the point where I had a panic attack just before my cross country course. Never had one before, or since, so I'm blaming the Rescue Remedy.

Carbs/protein (like a chicken sandwich) seem to help me.

CrimsonInClover
Nov. 8, 2011, 04:52 PM
My ex (a psychiatrist) would prescribe propanolol for people with "stage fright/ show nerves".

Propranolol is a beta blocker so it will effect heart rate and blood pressure. If you have blood pressure or a heart rate on the lower side of normal (low to mid 60's for HR or 110's/60's or so for BP) this may not be the drug for you. Xanax is a wonder drug for many and it does come in a variety of strengths. You could always see about a prescription of 0.25mg and possible only have to take half. With any drug, prescription or OTC, you definitely need to try them more than once before stepping foot on your horse. You never know how they are really going to affect you. I have given Xanax to patients and it hype them up, or I have given 0.25mg to a patient that had never had it before and they slept 16+ hours. Go see your primary physician and see what their advice is! Good luck!

Appsolute
Nov. 8, 2011, 05:11 PM
Forget the drugs, study up on some breathing techniques. Not only will regulated breathing relax you, by a natural release of chemicals in the brain, slow controlled breathing on your part will help relax your horse, improve your focus, and your riding.

I learned at ton through taking a centered riding clinic, but there are many books out there, and other resources. It doesn’t have to be riding based either, read up on breathing techniques! (a – car- driving instructor I worked with also emphasized breathing techniques for relaxation and control)

HGem
Nov. 8, 2011, 05:50 PM
Forget the drugs....

I agree. I neither give myself nor horses drugs. Ever. And yes I do get nervous. The year I qualified to 4-H Districts I literaly almost puked before going in the ring. I bit the bullet and just did it. The experience must have helped because oddly enough I did not experience as much anxiety at States.You just gotta show, show, and show some more. The nerves disappear when it becomes second nature. It is also important not to view shows as anxiety causing things. I personally view them as fun and while I consider myself a serious competitor, if I don't do well I don't care. I just try to ride my best and don't think about the judge, other competitors, or spectators :winkgrin:

hasahorse
Nov. 8, 2011, 06:23 PM
It is all fine and good to say "no drugs" if that works for you. However, some of us have exhausted all of the other options, and medication is the only thing that works. I have shown since I was 7, and I've probably been to more shows than most people on this board. Sometimes, nothing else works.

OP, if you need medication to help you, even if it is just one time, do it. Why not have the best experience you can?

MoonLadyIsis
Nov. 8, 2011, 06:51 PM
I actually have propranolol for stage fright....but I never even thought of taking if for riding! I can ask my shrink for a new script if need be) I used to get really bad exam anxiety in high school/college and that worked wonders. Xanax was WAYYY too strong...it knocked me way out...

jen-s
Nov. 8, 2011, 09:20 PM
Mimosas with breakfast...wine with lunch...hard alcohol if you are there any later than that

This. ;) Seriously though, I have anxiety being watched while riding. Whether it's a group lesson or a horse show, but there are SOOO many more people at horse shows. So, I tend to start with mimosas and move to margaritas by lunch. But then again, I moved to eventing and we have lots more fun at horse trials than I ever had when I was in the hunter ring. ;)

stolen virtue
Nov. 8, 2011, 09:36 PM
"But then again, I moved to eventing and we have lots more fun at horse trials than I ever had when I was in the hunter ring. "

I've always suspected this. LOL

I have had great results with beta blockers and showing. I just cannot drink and ride and I always drive to the showgrounds also. Give beta blockers a try and if you need more try something else. But really, have fun, you paid your show fees and deserve your 3 minutes in the ring regardless of the outcome !

SomethingChronic
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:01 PM
Mimosas with breakfast...wine with lunch...hard alcohol if you are there any later than that

hahahahahahahahahah

lintesia
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:48 PM
Another vote for beta blockers. I have a prescription for the smallest dose possible (I think each pill is 10mg) and then I take only 1/4 of a pill. I have this medication for performances, but I just tried it at my most recent horse show and was pleased with the result -- I could focus without being jittery with nerves.

blackcat95
Nov. 9, 2011, 10:08 AM
Another vote for Rescue Remedy. I used to get horrible anxiety at shows but never did anything about it, I'd just deal. But I took a really bad fall (at home), that eventually led to me freaking out/ throwing up/ doing anything possible to get out of the show ring and totally psyching out my horse. Rescue Remedy took the edge off enough for me to talk myself back down from panic level, and that helped me eventually overcome my anxiety. It was like each time I took it and then showed successfully, with less anxiety, the anxiety next time lessened. I don't use it anymore, because I don't need it, but it really helped take the edge off.

tasia
Nov. 9, 2011, 11:52 AM
Try the xanax. Just enough so you feel "normal"

Xbittersweet
Nov. 9, 2011, 12:02 PM
Forget the drugs, study up on some breathing techniques. Not only will regulated breathing relax you, by a natural release of chemicals in the brain, slow controlled breathing on your part will help relax your horse, improve your focus, and your riding.

I learned at ton through taking a centered riding clinic, but there are many books out there, and other resources. It doesn’t have to be riding based either, read up on breathing techniques! (a – car- driving instructor I worked with also emphasized breathing techniques for relaxation and control)

This!! I do the Jumpers and have begun doing some centered riding on the side to branch out and see what else is out there and I love it. It really does help. Also, sometimes you need to take a step back and do easier things for a while. You shouldn't need drugs just for riding

ktm2007
Nov. 9, 2011, 06:53 PM
Careful with Benadryl if you haven't taken it. I am one of those people that has the adverse reaction- I get twitchy and very anxious/hyper. Not pleasant

As far as getting a benzodiazepine to help calm your nerves (IE Xanax, valium, etc). Careful. I don't fly well, so have to take something to fly. I take a very low dose, and there is no way I could ride well. So, I guess if you go this route test it out before the show. Plus, these can be really habit forming and addicting, so careful.

cadance
Nov. 9, 2011, 10:35 PM
if you're talking RX, I think Klonopin (clonazepam) is a good choice as opposed to Xanax. Klonopin is similar to Xanax in how it affects your brain and the way it makes you feel, but it has a longer duration and has a gentler onset (whereas Xanax hits you pretty hard all at once and then zonks you out). Klonopin is much easier to function (ride) on. As someone who has taken Xanax for years, I would definitely not recommend riding while under the influence of it.

if you're talking NON Rx, deep breathing is amazing and can really make a huge difference! just takes lots of practice to get your body 'programmed', but it totally pays off in the moments when you don't have time to wait for a pill to start working.

quietann
Nov. 10, 2011, 09:25 AM
Another Rx alternative: Buspar (busiperone). It's a different mechanism than Xanax and other benzodiazepines, non-addictive, won't make you feel "fuzzy" unless you take a lot, or combine it with alcohol. It "takes the edge off" so to speak. It probably would not help for a severe case of show nerves, though.

Jaideux
Nov. 11, 2011, 08:17 PM
Please be careful with any "natural" remedy. They are not regulated by the FDA, and so the advertised dose may or may not be what you are actually ingesting. Sure, the pills in the bottle average 10mg as advertised, but that means one pill could have 1mg of active ingredient and the next one has 19mg! Yes it averages to 10mg but BOY are those two pills going to have very different effects on you! So even if you do try out the medicine in a lesson a few time, they day you take it at a show you can't assure that you are taking the same exact dose.

Additionally, the natural remedies ARE a medication, and you need to report any that you are taking to your doctors/other care providers to make sure you don't have any harmful interactions or accidental compounded effects of medicines where 2+2=7.

A beta blocker is likely your best bet as a first-line defense. It does not have the same reflex/drowsy problem associated with the benzos, narcotics, antipsychotics, etc already listed here, but it IS important to understand the impact it will have on your pressure and heart rate. If you're showing in a cold climate, you may be even colder as a result of decreased perfusion. If you are prone to low pressure naturally or by dehydration, your pressure may drop on this medicine which could be as mild as a little dizziness or be a full-blown fainting spell, depending on a variety of things including whether or not you're experiencing any anxiety when you take the medicine!

I personally recommend avoiding dizziness and fainting in all equine-related pursuits :)

Good luck

(And yes, I used propanolol for stage fright- amazing how much better my natural vibrato sounds than the "fear vibrato" lol)

boosma47
Nov. 11, 2011, 08:29 PM
valerian is a natural herb that works like xanax if you want to try that as well . .helped me. .dosage is different for everyone but 1 or 2 (depending on anxiety) worked for me taken about 1/2 hour before ride.

Ditto this! Often might add an ibuprophen or a dramamine (tho this one might get you too sleepy).

Tuesday's Child
Nov. 11, 2011, 08:30 PM
Out of curiosity, I am wondering why those of you who find all these medications, etc. necessary in order to show, actually show? I do NOT mean this in a snarky way, I am genuinely curious. FTR, I had a drink or two at my last show (first time doing jumpers - showed in the baby jumpers division!) and it helped calm my nerves, so I am not judging anyone!

hasahorse
Nov. 11, 2011, 09:03 PM
Well, for me, I need medication because my brain makes me think that all sorts of horrible things are going to happen. I know that they won't, but the medication helps keep my head clear and allows me to actually think and breathe while I am on course. I stop worrying about everything else and just think about what I am doing.

For me, nothing else has worked. It didn't matter how many times I visualized the course or how many positive statements I said to myself. My brain just wouldn't let me relax and go.

FAW
Nov. 11, 2011, 09:15 PM
Try Lexapro. Works

stolen virtue
Nov. 11, 2011, 09:26 PM
Out of curiosity, I am wondering why those of you who find all these medications, etc. necessary in order to show, actually show? I do NOT mean this in a snarky way, I am genuinely curious. FTR, I had a drink or two at my last show (first time doing jumpers - showed in the baby jumpers division!) and it helped calm my nerves, so I am not judging anyone!

I actually used beta-blockers when I was showing a very crazy mare. She was my first horse and I had never shown before.I needed to be calm because she would naturally not be and I needed to learn to ignore her craziness.

I don't take medication anymore to show unless I have an issue with something. I actually found the beta blockers taught me how to be OK when showing. My next horse loved to show and I did not take anything except Imitrex after showing.

lintesia
Nov. 11, 2011, 10:04 PM
(And yes, I used propanolol for stage fright- amazing how much better my natural vibrato sounds than the "fear vibrato" lol)

Just curious -- do you play an instrument or sing?

chillydc
Nov. 12, 2011, 08:53 AM
May want to try L-Theanine, it is very helpful for anxiety.

Jaideux
Nov. 12, 2011, 11:25 AM
Just curious -- do you play an instrument or sing?

I sing, primarily classical soprano pieces, although I do love love love musical theater.

blackcat95
Nov. 12, 2011, 12:30 PM
Out of curiosity, I am wondering why those of you who find all these medications, etc. necessary in order to show, actually show? I do NOT mean this in a snarky way, I am genuinely curious. FTR, I had a drink or two at my last show (first time doing jumpers - showed in the baby jumpers division!) and it helped calm my nerves, so I am not judging anyone!

For me it was because I'd showed for years beforehand without meds, and then I took a bad fall that totally shattered my confidence in riding in general. I eventually got back to riding and jumping at home without an issue, but for whatever reason all my fears about riding manifested in the show ring, and overcoming that was just another part of the getting back to normal process. The Rescue Remedy took the edge off just enough that it brought me from "absolute panic" mode to "ok, I acknowledge that I'm scared... what can I do about it?" mode. Eventually I stopped using the meds, because I didn't need them anymore. They were just a tool.

ljc
Nov. 12, 2011, 01:49 PM
I asked myself that question every single day for some 40 years! (I started showing when I was six; retired my A/O hunter a few years back). From when I first started jumping until my last lesson, I threw up every single time I jumped. I never figured out what made me nervous -- I'm a good rider, never took a bad fall, had wonderful horses and great trainers. Was very successful showing at the A level. Twenty years ago, I started taking xanax before showing & it made a world of difference (although I would still throw up, at least I could function). I never took it before lessons, however, for no real reason that I can remember. And the second I got on my horse, I'd be fine. Days where I'd have an early class and then a late one were tough for me, however. And when George Morris was judging at one show, I was nearly catatonic! (Perhaps I thought he'd call me a dumb blonde as I cantered by? That's a joke, people). I saw sports psychologists, regular shrinks, etc. - no one could offer solutions (other than xanax). I never once considered quitting the sport or changing disciplines, either. Hunters were in my blood.

Anyway, the only answer I could come up with was that it felt so good afterwards, if that makes any sense. (I mean, after I was done jumping -- whether a round or a lesson -- not after I was done being sick.) Think I was addicted to the high of conquering my nerves enough to lay down a perfect round.

I'm the same way about going to the dentist. Never had a bad experience yet I need serious drugs to go because I get so sick ahead of time.

It's amazing I had such a successful showing career and have good teeth!

ktm2007
Nov. 12, 2011, 04:57 PM
To the above poster: I am so glad you wrote that about the dentist...NO ONE in my family understands the serious fear I have of that place. I'm not crazy?!?!?:lol: