Ask an Expert

Mentally Prepared for the World Show

October 31, 2011

Get mentally prepared for the AQHA World Championship Show with AQHA Professional Horsewoman Lainie DeBoer.

AQHA Professional Horsewoman Lainie DeBoer shares her tips on mentally preparing riders for shows.

For more of Lainie’s insight on how to develop a mental preparation game plan, check out “Borrow a Trainer” in the November 2011 issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal.


I’m really excited to say that I qualified for the AQHA World Championship Show! I’ll be competing in hunt seat equitation, and even though my trainer and I have been working on my equitation and my communication with my horse, I’m still worried about this being my first World Show.

Do you have any tips for overcoming show jitters?


Here are a few strategies I use to help riders’ mental preparation:

  • Watch videos of your rides. After a go, riders often put a lot of weight on things that aren’t important in the big picture – they’ll focus on the one-point penalties and miss the minus-fives. Watching the video opens your eyes to the entire ride, not just what you have a habit of focusing on.
  • Use visualization techniques. Walk into the competition ring and feel what your body does and think about releasing tension. Replay a round in your head with mistakes and then imagine yourself fixing them, to the point where you are happy with your round.

Are you a current subscriber to The American Quarter Horse Journal? Journal subscribers can read Journal Plus, the Journal’s online bonus magazine, for FREE!

  • Learn to block out distraction and be in your personal bubble. (Head to the November 2011 Journal Plus for a past Borrow a Trainer exercise to teach you to deal with distraction.)
  • Explore breathing and relaxation exercises to help calm yourself, and learn the difference between being nervous versus anxious. With my youth riders, I like them to “name” their butterflies and talk to them.

Also, I always have my riders watch videos of all World Show preliminary goes – you can buy them through envision!, official videographer for AQHA world shows.

Best of luck to you at the AQHA World Show!

– AQHA Professional Horsewoman Lainie DeBoer

For more insight from Lainie on how to mentally prepare yourself for a show, read “Borrow a Trainer” from the November 2011 issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal.