Need Help Preparing for First Event!
I am going to do my first event ever at beginner novice in the first week of August. My horse and I currently do hunters anywhere from 2'6" to 3', but I want some help preparing for this event, as there are no eventing instructors in the area and my instructor is a hunter/jumper one.
What type of fitness plan should I have for my horse and I? I am most worried about stamina on cross country. Could someone write out a fitness plan for us so we will be prepared?
Dressage - What should I work on for that for the BN level. Also, I don't need a dressage saddle do I? And does my horse need to be braided? It's Catalpa Corner Charity Horse Trial in Iowa.
I plan to get out on a cross country course to practice and make sure Casper is game for the jumps and the water. He's a pretty fearless jumper so far, though, and I'm really super excited.
Also, where do I get a card for my medical armband? And what kind of boots should I buy for Casper for the cross country phase? Do I need to wear a coat or a polo for the stadium part?
Also, can someone give me the dimensions of a dressage ring? I'm going to make a makeshift one to practice in.
Any other advice?
Eventing is a lot of fun, but like you said requires stamina. One thing I do for my horse is put him in a nice hand gallop and gallop him for a while. It calms him down and gives him a work out. How many jumps will be on the cross country course? Make sure you practice taking him through water, because all courses should have a pond you have to cross. We have a cross country course and I take Jax around it several times giving him a break between each time and he does great stamina wise, just make sure your horse is worked frequently. I use professional choice SMB boots for cross country, and equifit boots for stadium. You should have the proper saddle for dressage, only because some judges might deduct points for it, and it helps to have the proper tack. I ride in a polo during stadium and cross country, most people do. You can get a arm band with the card on Chic saddlery for a good price.
Oh and the size for a dressage arena are 132ft by 66ft, and taking him on a cross country course would probably be a good idea, because some of those jumps are very intimidating to horses lol
Above post was pretty good at hitting everything, so just a few notes of my own opinion ...
As for the braiding in dressage, I would say definitely. Dressage is a very 'clean' disciplene, so it can only help, and I would worry about being deducted points if I didn't braid.
Though the saddle, you can probably do without the specific Dressage and CC saddles. An AP or just CC should be fine if it's just a schooling or local show. The judges are people too, I'm sure they realize not everybody can afford to have seperate saddles at all levels. Now, when you get higher up in class, and ranked shows, you might want to consider making that purchase.
Jim Wofford recommends that your horse be able to easily canter double the length of your cross country course. I would work on trot/canter sets over varied terrain (trails, hills) as well.
I also recommend a real dressage saddle if you plan to stick to eventing. If not, then you can get by with the same saddle for all three phases. I would braid as well. It's a pain, but its experience. Many dont braid for low level shows but I always do to get the practice.
For xc, boots with strike plates are great, but it also depends again on if you're planning on sticking with eventing because they can be more expensive. A lot of lower level eventers use Woof or Davis boots, which are inexpensive and get the job done.
I hope to stick with eventing, but I want to see if Casper will do alright in it. Like I said, he's not too spooky about any jump. I was more spooked by a rolltop one time than he was. Also, I want to see if I have the guts to do it lol. I've always wanted to, but I want to try it before I commit to it. So we'll see how it goes from here.
So you say trot and canter sets over varied terrain. For how long should I do one set, how long should I do the slower gait (walk or trot?) in between, and by how much should I increase in a week?
Also, I have the armband, just not the card for it. Is there a place where I can just print a card off or do I have to buy one?
I'm linking an article by Jim about xc conditioning. I don't know you or your horse's current physical condition so I can't really write out a set schedule. But reading this should give you some idea on where to begin.
Jim Wofford: The Eventing FAQs of the Matter from Practical Horseman | EquiSearch
You can print out the medical card through usea.
Oh golly, do I need to worry about studs for shoes then too? My horse is only shod in the front...
Hah, well my horse is a little out of shape as am I. We do a riding lesson once a week for an hour - spend 1/4 trotting, 1/4 working out other stuff (cantering, circling, whatever) and 1/2 jumping. I plan on hacking out more at home, but to actually practice anything, I have to wait until our grass field is cut.
What should I be practicing for dressage, specifically? I guess faster transitions for us, and nicer circles. And getting Casper straight. And on the bit. Oh, I think I just found out what we should practice lol.
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