For anyone who has been following Dr. Karen Sharf's advice on Healthy Rider, she has a great video on leaving your fear at home. What you may not know is Dr. Karen has helped me enormously in dealing with my own fears. Here's how it worked for me.
Dr. Karen first suggested to me that I start by giving my fear a name. I named it "Blob." Not very interesting, but there it is. Then she asked me to come with an image of what my anxiety looked like - short or tall, what color, etc. What I came up with was a tangle of purplish-brown hairy lines with cartoon eyes, hands, and feet. Right away, my own creature was sort of cute in an annoying way. He only came up to my knees, so I was the one in power. But the greatest thing about creating a separate persona for my fear was that it then existed outside of me--no longer within. It wasn't a part of me, it was a little being I could order away from me if need be.
For example, if I was going to a reading and was nervous, I could imagine this hairy beast, tell him he was not allowed to follow me (bookstores tend to frown upon purple hairballs hanging around, don't they?). Dr. Karen said to give him (see - already he has a gender, ha!) one spot in the house where he was allowed to exist and banish him to his spot when you want to get rid of him.
Eventually what happened was that I began leaving Blob in his chair more and more often and started to forget he exists.
It's a great way to alleviate horse show nerves and it's something you can suggest for your children if they are having anxiety of any kind--school, summer camp or horse show stress.
For more talk about managing anxiety or learning disorders in your kids or yourself, come visit my blog www.waitsatthewindow.blogspot.com.