It’s tough being a rider sometimes. There’s just so much for us organise! Here are 5 tips to help ensure your competitive season is a successful one.
1. Check your equipment is safe.
Are you aware that riding hat regulations have changed? When buying a new riding hat the British Equine Federation advises that people should look to buy hats that are marked with PAS015, the new VG1 specification, or the revised EN1384 (once it has been published).
If your hat is marked (BS)EN1384 then it will not be permitted by most major organisations (BS, BE, BD, The Pony Club) after this year.
When dealing with horses, safety is paramount, and you can't afford to take any risks. Make sure you've serviced your lorry/trailer and riding equipment at the start of the season to avoid any accidents. For example, if your lorry/ trailer have been sitting around the tyres tread may look fine but the tyres could well have started to perish.
2. Get yourself fit.
Make sure you are ‘riding fit’, is often overlooked by riders who spend all their time getting their horses fit, but fail to work on their own fitness. You only need to speak to top eventers, such as William Fox-Pitt, to understand the importance of riders being in peak physical condition, to enable them to perform at their best. Having a training schedule for both you and your horse will help put you in a strong position.
3. Be organised (the 7p's).
"Proper, Pre, Planning, Prevents, P*ss, Poor, Performance"- this military adage couldn't be more apt than in the equestrian world.
Preparation is key to success. Don't be the person who learns the dressage test on the way to the event, or who parties the night before and turns up the to the show hung-over forgetting their saddle (we've all been there!). For the cost and effort you go to in trying to compete it's not worth being disorganised.
Bring a spare of almost everything. It's tough being organised when you have horses - there's just so much to remember. Don't just think about the equipment that you need to take with you on the morning of the show!
If you don't have a calendar buy one so that you make the right qualifiers and target the right shows. Do proper planning to make sure you get your entries in on time!
4. Know the rules.
Rules change all the time so make sure you are aware of them. If you are jumping - will two stops or three stops lead to elimination? What does it mean if you show jump in a Table A5 class, verses a Table A7 class? Get up to speed on the rules of the sport before they catch you out!
5. Wear sun cream.
Seriously, it's important. I couldn't count the amount of riders I've seen getting sun burnt at the shows and horses whose noses have turned a shade of bright pink! Pack some sun cream for both you and your horse.
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