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Top tips for your first event of the season from ReadySupp Rider Coral Keen

  • At the first event of the year, we can all feel a bit rusty, so allow yourself plenty of extra time. Time to tack up, warm up, walk the course, get there, so you don’t add any extra pressure onto yourself and are in the right mindset. There is nothing worse than being rushed!
  • Go through all your kit that you need and really check everything over. Make sure it is all cleaned and that your stitching is good.
  • Make sure you have been cross-country schooling on grass somewhere, as it is a different feeling for both you and your horse, especially if you have been used to riding on a surface through the winter.
  • It is always a good idea to practice riding in a dressage arena. A trick for white boards, is to go to your local DIY store and get white gutter piping, so you can set up an arena at home. This helps to get back in the swing of being in the right size area. It can also be really beneficial to get out to a local dressage show and get your ringcraft back up to speed.
  • Get use to wearing a stop watch again and practice using it during your canter work so you can get a feel for the speed you need to be going at the level you are entered at.
  • If you have an air-jacket, get it serviced before the start of the season.
  • With first events of the year, there is always quite a build up and this can create extra nerves. But the trick is to do what you do at home and don’t change anything. Try not to change the way you ride as any tension goes straight down the reins. Horses pick up on it this and then behave differently. Stay in your zone and try and be as relaxed as possible. 
  • Make sure you horse is event fit. So, you don’t have to worry about this on the day. Also, as a rider you also need to be fit and feeling prepared. 
  • Make sure you have a good meal the night before and eat something the morning of the competition. Your body has to have fuel! You couldn’t drive your car without any petrol/diesel so don’t expect your body to perform if it is running on empty. 
  1. Some practical points. Don’t forget your horse’s passport and check that their flu jabs are up to date. Remember to take the passport and your hat to the secretaries to get checked and tagged. You don’t want to find yourself in the warmup in a pickle as you haven’t had your hat checked for this season. 
  1. Finally, make sure you enjoy it and whatever the outcome use it as a building block for the rest of the season. 
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