First horse trial ever and need help with a few things....
So, I am very excited to announce that I will be attending my first horse trials in the beginning of May but with the excitement comes a little worry :?. I would love some suggestions on what y'all have found to be a lifesaver or essential to have :?: (This event will go on for two days over a weekend but my horse will be stabled there two days before it starts because at this that's how it works)
Any tips or pointers for cross country or dressage and taking in the crowd or nervousness? (there's always a TON of people watching everyday) I have competed in show jumping and dressage and my town always has this show so I want to do it haha
Anyone have any tips on time readiness, planning, or organization? I'm really excited but really would love ANYTHING that y'all would find helpful to me :-) Thank you for reading and hope y'all have some helpful tips haha
If you have access to a small whiteboard (wipeboard?) it makes planning super easy. I hung one up in my trailer and I write what time I ride, what time I need to start warming up, and what time I need to start tacking up. I do this for dressage, SJ and XC.
I also have a checklist of all tack (for horse and person) that I need and I go through it the night before every show. Organization is a great way to make the day less stressful. I have a horse that gets so nervous when we go to shows, so it's nice to have everything already planned out- one less thing to think about. Also, If you can walk your courses the day before, that usually helps me (mostly because I can't leave my horse in the trailer or tied to go walk it on the day of the show).
I give my horses about 30 minutes of dressage warm-up and then 15 minutes of SJ warm up. It really depends on the horse, but I like to give my green horse an extra 5 minutes of dressage warm up than normal so she can see all of the commotion and settle down (a little). For XC, I always ride like my horse is going to stop. It helps me keep my shoulders back, and we never have stops, but again- it depends on the horse.
As for nervousness- it's something I have always struggled with. I find that breathing really deep helps a lot, but only for a little while. I try to turn my nervous energy into something usefull, so I pretend like I'm showing off for the crowd or someone I want to prove wrong. This at least helps me focus on riding well.
Mostly, just go and have fun- you will get hooked :)
Yay, that's so exciting!!!
I would try not to worry about all the people watching. Usually the lower level don't have that many spectators anyways for dressage, there'll be slightly more in stadium and xc though.
Like Ashsunnyeventer suggested, definitely make lists and plan a schedule for yourself, giving yourself a bit of extra time for everything. It will make all the difference having everything planned out ahead of time so you don't forget anything, instead of rushing around and then being frazzled when you get on your horse or realize you forgot something. I like to take my ride time and work backwards. So for dressage at 10am, say, I like having about an hour warmup. So I need to be on at 9am, tacking up/change clothes at 8:30am, braid at 7:45am, feed at 7:30am, etc. And then I'd come feed around 7:15 just to give myself those extra 15 mins just in case.
I'd get my numbers ready the night before, pin them on my saddle pads or bridle ahead of time, and put my xc numbers in the holder. Make sure you have your armband handy for xc and stadium, I like to attach it to my crop when I'm not wearing it so I don't forget it, I always carry a crop while jumping, even though I've used it maybe once on my horse in the past 5 years, haha. Check what kind of stabling they have, some places have open pen type stabling instead of actual stalls with a door, and you have to bring your own stall guard, so find out ahead of time what you need. Some horses do fine with a halter tied across those stalls, other weasel their way out and you don't want to be chasing your guy around if he gets loose. Use buckets hooks or twine for hanging buckets, make sure you bring 2 water buckets as well. Also a fork and muck bucket or wheelbarrow for mucking, that is usually not provided.
Hmm, what else? With stadium and xc make sure you check when the courses are open for walking and schedule that in too. I would plan to walk xc twice as well, the first one I usually memorize the track and look at the jumps, then the second time I already know where I'm going so I can concentrate more on the terrain and how I'm going to ride each jump and kind of make a plan. Your first time out I wouldn't worry about time at all concentrate solely on you and your horse having a super positive outing. So if that means going a bit slower, trotting some fences to let your horse have a better look, I would definitely do that. An extra set of hands to help you out is never a bad thing, but if it'll just be you there, planning ahead and organizing everything will definitely be very important.
I'm so excited for you! You'll have to let us know how it goes:)
For organization, I would suggest a tack trunk, with a handy checklist of all tack, clothes, and supplies you'll need.
I have this tack trunk:
Horsemen's Pride Trunk
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Good luck RunningJumpingHorses!
I agree with everything ashsunnyeventer and albertaeventer said.
Make sure you are orgainsed. It will make your weekend a lot less stressful!
Before an event, I like to make sure I have my horses show box in order a week in advance... that way I can go out and grab extra supplies or wash things that may have been over looked if needed.
I pack my float (horse box, trailer, lorry - whatever you call it) the night before, as I clean my gear it goes staright in. I make sure I have all my necessary boots and pads as well as rugs and feed in there.
My horse gets washed the night before and depending on my start times either plaitted the night before or at the venue. I don't know if it will help much, but I do up a list like this before the event and use this to make sure I haven't forgotten anything... This is what I used for Capel a few weeks ago.
I always get to the venue with minimum 2 hours to spare. It allows me to get my numbers, settle my horse and set everything up before having to start getting ready. I like to start getting ready about an hour before my times (it normally takes me about 15 mins to get me and my horse ready) and then I can do last minute checks before warm up. Depending on which horse, what class and how well they have settled, I do anywhere between an hour to 15 mins warm up. It will be a matter of finding what works better for you and your horse.
In terms of nerves, I still get nervous before classes. I am better now, but I found it helps to figure out what you are getting worked up about... eg Dressage - forgetting the test... if you know your test, you will be fine. Even if you make a mistake it isn't the end of the world. Everyone makes mistakes. :)
Show Jumping - Forgetting the course? Worst case, you get eliminated... but provided you walk the course and then before you go in take a second or two to look at the course again.. you should be fine.
XC... That can be scary, but just keep calm, don't think to yourself "oh my horse will find that frightening" as you will be subconsciously telling your horse that it is scary and you will more than likely have a problem at that jump.
Have fun! Eventing is a blast and the only one who can put pressure on you, is you... Just go out there, remember to BREATHE and enjoy a fun weekend with your horse. :)
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