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Trying to get over show nerves... Critique Me *Update-Succes!*

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  • Trying to get over show nerves... Critique Me *Update-Succes!*

    I figure COTH will forever be more critical than a judge, and a larger audience than at a local level show, so if I can post vids of myself here, maybe it will help me get over horse show nerves. Feel free to critique. I'd post a history, but an audience doesn't get your bio before they see you ride.
    November 2010
    Feb 2011 (in jumping saddle)
    Feb 2011 (dressage saddle, saddle fitter appt Thurs)

    **Update** 3-13-11
    This has been fantastic for my show nerves! Having a routine so that we are prepared in warm-up, and reminding myself it's not a big deal (there's a handful of spectators) really helped too.
    We rode Training Level One and Training Level Two today. I've written comments below the videos in descriptions.
    I've decided we need to practice taking that 45 minute break between tests because he gets squirmy and a bit bracey for the second test (in this case TL1 was our second of the day).
    I welcome critiques
    Last edited by Petstorejunkie; Mar. 14, 2011, 01:02 AM. Reason: critique added to title
    chaque pas est fait ensemble
  • Original Poster

    Wow, 50 people have viewed and no one has anything to say?
    Surely I don't cause an audience to be speechless
    Please, I welcome critiques.
    chaque pas est fait ensemble


    • #3
      show nerves...

      coming from a non professional rider... I woudl have to say that you are a nice rider and I don't see anything in your videos that you should be nervous about for Training Level. Your rides look calm, relaxed and comfortable. Sure there are always things to work on, but that is between you and your trainer.

      Showing is really between you and your horse, no one else. Set your goals, work on them and go to the show planning on accomplishing them.
      When I showed with my mare our goal was to calmly get through the test w/o leaving the arena at a dead bolt! I have a friend who gets so nervous at shows that her goal is to remember her geometry and not get lost in the test. However at some point you have to decide if its something you enjoy doing. No one said that just because you ride dressage and train that you have to show. Its expensive and stressful at times, ask your self if you are getting out of showing as much as your putting in to it.
      If you love it ...do it and have FUN!
      Proud owner of Vienna Cuvee
      Versache x Queen of De Nile


      • Original Poster

        Thank you.
        Thankfully my show nerves are of a very manageable proportion. Unfortunately, they cause old bad habits to crop up (like my lowered hands, tense thighs in my downwards, and toes sticking out) So I figure the more I can convince myself it's okay to be seen, the less pressure i'll put on myself, and the better my scores will get.

        I've been without a trainer for over a year since I moved, so my "trainer" has been my education, and my video camera critiquing myself.
        chaque pas est fait ensemble


        • #5
          What I see is what I would expect to see at training level. What helped me at that time was 2 things. A video of my tests-the best teacher, and going into the ring with my ONLY goal being relaxation . Not to care about position, going off course, none of that. Keep doing it until your test comes back with comments about your softness, relaxation and rhythm.

          I do think that you 2 look real nice!


          • #6
            I couldn't watch the video (I have horrible connection) but I feel I can talk about nerves.

            I am a long time sufferer. I like to show..and I feel it about half way through the test.

            Some of the things that help me,
            *be prepared, know the test inside and out and be able to pick it up from any point.
            *go with a friend, I have someone I show with and we do our own think once we are at the show and it is not untill after we both are done to we converse but it is nice to know if you need...someone is there.
            *Usually load all the stuff the night before.
            *Leave enough time to school before your test and walk around to relax
            *I have a little "vison of my nerves" that before I load I lock him in a stall.
            *I reduce the amount of caffeine to 1/2 cup of coffee and thats it before I go and only water untill I am done showing. I also avoid sugar.

            Then somewhere after all that I remember to breath and I am supposed to be having fun...about half way through the test. lol


            • #7
              I've been told that the best way to overcome show nerves is to show. A LOT.
              "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht


              • #8
                Briefly watched the last video. I am in no way a trainer or judge. I think you may want to shorten your stirrup by a hole. I see some lower leg instability and reaching at times. I like to do a exercise when I take my leg out of the stirrup and rotate it so my leg is more parallel to the horses' side and toes point straight ahead. This places my leg in a better position and really makes it easier to use my leg aids more effectively.


                • #9
                  Firstly, not a trainer at all here and only low level dressage/event rider, but the main thing I saw was your hands - push your hands forward and thumbs on top, elbows bent. To me your horse looks like he's "curling" a bit in his neck, and I think if you encourage him "up" and into your hands he'll come a lot more through and use his hind end properly. Overall however you both look really nice. On shows just focus on relaxing. I always used to set goals unrelated to winning ribbons that were achievable, so you can focus on personal accomplishments as opposed to the actual showing/competition itself. Good luck!
                  "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                  "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


                  • #10
                    I agree with Moogles re stirrup length. But overall I thought your upper body is so nicely still, straight and relaxed and your hands looks soft and level. I'd love to have that right now Good luck with upcoming shows. Your boy is lovely
                    You see a mouse-trap. I see free cheeze and a challenge


                    • #11
                      I agree with Moogles and Willow&Cal on the stirrup length. (critique is mostly based on the last video) Sometimes it was hard to tell if you were sitting or posting.

                      For what it's worth, I liked his trot better when you were posting - he was more forward and seemed steadier in the bridle.

                      I thought your transitions were really good, nice and soft, and your position was very good too. I saw a couple points where you were collapsing the inside rib to the hip - I think we are all guilty of that. I know I always do it on my horses' bad sides when I'm trying to get more bend (why do I always think I can bend for my horse? )

                      Don't forget that a lot of times your score sheet won't list every little thing you did right because that would take too much time. The judge is conveying to you the things that need work, although most will throw in a compliment or two. So even if a judge says you are tense or stiff, you may have had really nice following hands. What's not on there can be almost as important as what is. Don't think of it so much as a critique but as a blueprint for an even better ride next time.


                      • #12
                        Best way to get over show nerves...don't take the test or yourself so seriously.

                        Can't watch the vids right now, but that's the biggest secret. You need to learn to laugh at mistakes and just ride the moment/movement you're performing and think too far ahead or beat yourself up when something goes wrong and keep reliving it and worrying it will happen again.

                        Like the bumper sticker says, "Sh** happens!" And when horses are involved.... you get the picture.
                        "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"


                        • Original Poster

                          Loving the suggestions, thank you!

                          I definitely need to shorten my stirrups, especially if Meaty thinks I was sitting for any of that I did nothing but post the whole video at the trot. That does mean what I suspected, that my horse prefers a bit more airtime.
                          I'll address it with my saddle fitter tomorrow, because I'm concerned I may not have room in this saddle to go up a hole. If that's the case... twist my arm... I'll probably get the used antares monoflap they have on consignment.

                          I've noticed the big thing about my hands lately is the forearm is coming up, but then I'm bending my wrists and flattening my hands. I think some of it is coming from my shoulders. Notice how the text on my shirt was kind of rounded? It's straight on the shirt . Working on the base of my shoulders coming together... all that working green beans has taken it's toll on my upper body position. I'm going to pick up a few short rulers to tape them as a physical reminder, and see how that goes. (barf, I've just sent her an email requesting her to bring it)

                          Meaty, that collapsing trunk... argh. Thanks for catching that. I noticed it briefly, and sort of brushed it off.
                          chaque pas est fait ensemble


                          • #14
                            I used to have a similar problem with my hands... If you have someone on the ground that can literally just get after you about that one thing - that helped me improve immensely!! My trainer used to just get me to take a quick glance at my hands in the middle of a movement - it was usually followed by some cursing and then correcting them lol


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                              Loving the suggestions, thank you!

                              I've noticed the big thing about my hands lately is the forearm is coming up, but then I'm bending my wrists and flattening my hands. I think some of it is coming from my shoulders. Notice how the text on my shirt was kind of rounded? It's straight on the shirt . Working on the base of my shoulders coming together... all that working green beans has taken it's toll on my upper body position. I'm going to pick up a few short rulers to tape them as a physical reminder, and see how that goes. (barf, I've just sent her an email requesting her to bring it)

                              I think you are right about bending your wrists. I couldn't figure out what I was seeing (that makes no sense haha but can't think of another way to describe it) but I think that's it - I used to have this problem too, and my trainer would tell me to imagine balancing a full tea tray. Keeping that image in my head when I practiced alone really helped. I had the rounded shoulders issue too - especially when I started riding more greenies, so I feel for you there. One thing you can do to help that is hold a crop behind your back. Sounds weird, but it helped me.
                              "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                              "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Moogles View Post
                                Briefly watched the last video. I am in no way a trainer or judge. I think you may want to shorten your stirrup by a hole. I see some lower leg instability and reaching at times. I like to do a exercise when I take my leg out of the stirrup and rotate it so my leg is more parallel to the horses' side and toes point straight ahead. This places my leg in a better position and really makes it easier to use my leg aids more effectively.
                                ^^^^^^ Yes. I can't comment on show nerves but you look nice together. I could not pinpoint what exactly was going on with your leg ( which is a great position) but jiggly.

                                Moogles stated it perfectly.

                                Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                                • Original Poster

                                  I had my saddle fitter out, and we tried shortening my stirrups a hole and i looked like i was ready to point at a jump. It had been about 5 months since she'd last been out and she added quite a bit of flocking to the front which helped my position of my pelvis quite a bit. By the end my horse had a stretchy trot and a much better seeking freewalk.
                                  I'll take more video Monday or Tuesday and post it with the newly fitted saddle and see what everyone thinks.
                                  chaque pas est fait ensemble


                                  • #18
                                    Nice horse -- I have a hard time with these types of videos but I did watch some. I think you will do just fine in training level.

                                    I wasn't sure if this was supposed to be your stretchy circle in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_rsjNrQZgI) but you just sort of threw the reins at him around the 2:30 mark and he just lost balance didn't stretch at all. I would really work on this because you'll get marked down there. Your horse needs to learn how to follow the contact and stretch down and over the back while remaining on the bit.

                                    The other thing I noticed about your riding was the posting. Sometimes it is hard to tell if you are posting at all because your butt barely leaves the saddle. If you post like you really mean it, bringing your hips up and forward, you will be dictating the tempo and stride length for your horse rather than just following his "bump." This is something that took me awhile to learn but makes all the difference in the world. See this video of Steffan Peters warming up. Notice how his hips come up and over the pommel?


                                    Now, go and ride like Steffan.


                                    • #19
                                      I couldn't watch but a bit of the last video. I don't think you need to necessarily shorten your stirrups but it would help if you concentrate on "long leg", stretching the calf down and opening the hip more. You seem to be collasping the right shoulder (I don't think it's the shirt) and I agree with a bit more purposeful posting. Sorry I couldn't watch more. Nice pair. JMHO
                                      Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


                                      • Original Poster

                                        well the quality of this one is like a sasquatch sighting but if anyone wants to put on their beer goggles and play "where's the pony?" Here's a video from today.
                                        I've been sick, and haven't gotten to work out for a week, my horse has been worked less this week and today he seemed stiff, resentful, and cranky. this is about 35 minutes into the ride. we ended well, but there were several moments i'd ask him to stretch his ribcage and he'd give me the finger.
                                        I did find after our ride today that his butt muscles were a bit tight, so i gave him a massage, electrolytes, selenium, and E.

                                        Next ride is monday, and if he's still mr. cranky pants i'll trailer him for a trail ride somewhere.
                                        chaque pas est fait ensemble