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Five Things You Need To Do Before Your First Event

1. Know your goals and aspirations. Do you want to move up the level this year? Are you aiming for a big qualification, badminton grassroots or a three day - possibly Bicton? Do you want to conquer your nerves? Or have fun with friends, no pressure added? Really consider what success will look like for you. How will you get there? What are the steps you need to take? Do your events align with the steps?

2. Essential maintenance for your horse - vaccinations, worming, saddle checks, health check, physio, chiropractor. Also consider when you have done that for yourself, you don’t want to be the cause of your horses pain. When was the last time you took your tack apart and checked all the stitching and looked for wear and tear? Check all the equipment you will use. Do you know where it is? Is it in good repair? When was the last time you used your hairnet, your cross-country boots? Definitely don’t forget to get your lorry or your trailer checked out as well. You can’t be too careful.

3. Know your rules. There are different rules for each member body i.e. BE, PC, RC. Know the requirements for each level - that means the height of the jumps, the distance that’s required and your speed cross-country. Look at the dressage tests, know the requirements and the new rules for this year …does your body protector comply?

4. From knowing rules in point 3, you know the speed and distance requirements for your cross country. Are you and your horse fit enough? Do you have a fitness plan in place? Have you factored regular workouts for yourself into your routine? Just mucking out and doing the horses is not enough.

5. Routines - not only for the weeks proceeding but also for the day of the event and the days after. How are you going to manage your energy? You want to enjoy it and not feel exhausted, the same goes for your horse. They may need lots of long slow work to settle them the week before or they may need short and sharp, to spark them up. Do you have a packing list so you don’t forget anything? Have you made a warmup plan? Make sure you work out your timings for the day and allow extra for emergencies and unplanned faffing. Have you planned when and what you will eat or drink during the day for optimum performance? Think about energy snacks and how much water you need. Be clear on the intention/goal for the day - set yourself up for success.

Following the event, include some rest and recovery time as well as reflection. What went well? How can it be better? - remember “failed to plan plan to fail". But most of all, remember to enjoy it! This is for your and your horses' fun!

Now get ready for your event! ❤️

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