Eventing advice from leading rider Harriet Morris-Baumber.
Eventing is a difficult and demanding sport which attracts tough competition, therefore to help your chances of success it is important to prepare yourself fully for the competiton ahead. In this issue EquestrianClearance.com sponsored rider Harriet Morris-Baumber explains how British Showjumping and British Dressage competitions can benefit an event rider.
Make Sure You Are Prepared
I have been to several British Showjumping and British Dressage competitions recently because I find them extremely beneficial for myself and my horses when I am getting back into the swing of competing.
When horses have had a break over the winter, BS and BD competitions are brilliant for giving you a chance to practice in a competitive environment without the pressure of having to do all three phases in one day. They are especially good for getting young or naughty horses going before the ‘real’ competitions start.
I find these competitions are good for highlighting the areas in which you need to improve before you enter your first event. A major bonus I find from doing British Dressage competitions is the feedback you get from dressage judges, this lets you know where you could have picked up more marks or what you did really well which gives you something to work on.
I really enjoy the dressage phase and have been to a quite a few British Dressage competitions recently. BD classes are a great way to practice before the event season starts as it allows the horses to familiarise themselves with the competition atmosphere again without the cross country speakers blasting out. Also for the cheekier horse or the ones that get lit up at events it is great to go to local/smaller competitions to get them more accustomed to working in around other horse and the competition environment.
There is another very important aspect that you can also benefit from by going to a few smaller shows and that is, you soon realise if you have forgotten any important equipment that should be in the horse box and that may have been taken out over the winter. It is easy enough to manage at a dressage or showjumping competition but you might not be so lucky when eventing. My sponsor EquestrianClearance.com has a vast array of equipment on the website so I make sure I stock up on all the essentials.
BD dressage tests do tend to be a bit more difficult than BE dressage, although British Eventing have made their dressage tests more demanding this year. Therefore competing in British Dressage competitions can really set up for the season ahead and hopefully give you an edge.
However there are some limitations when it comes to competing in British Dressage classes. British Dressage has rider groups so if you have won points Eventing check with British Dressage which section you can enter.
British Showjumping also plays an important part in my Eventing preparation. I have been to a few competitions lately to jump some small courses to knock off any dust gathered over the winner and getting the horses used to others jumping in the collecting ring. It is important not to rush back into jumping big classes, and to build the confidence up slowly.
However it is important to read the rule book before competition in British Showjumping competitions because I once got told off for jumping a horse which was competing on a ticket before a horse that was registered.
British Dressage and British Showjumping competitions are not just for preparing for the season ahead. I find them extremely important to go to throughout the season. You cannot run your horse at an event every weekend therefore it is important to maintain ‘match practice.’ I also find these competitions are a really good way of improving your performance in these phases and smoothing out any problems you have incurred during an event.
For someone planning to start Eventing this year at BE90 level, I would recommend that they do a few British Dressage prelim competitions and aim for British Novice showjumping, but perhaps start off with a smaller class. Our local showjumping venue run an 85cm clear round class before the British Novice so that would be an ideal starting point.
For those competing on a tight budget planning is key. Avoid having to pay late entries and see if there is a discount for entering in advance. Although these competitions are more expensive than unaffiliated competitions you know you are going to get good quality courses and judges when you enter these competitions. If you are going for the October - March membership package be sure you will make full use of the membership and not plan to give your horse a two month rest
Another alternative to taking out a full membership is competing on a ticket, although you will have to pay a bit extra on the day to enter a class you will not have to pay a lump sum at the beginning of the season that you may or may not take full advantage of.
Lastly to get the most out of competing at these events make sure you video everything. It is amazing what you will learn by watching yourself perform again. It is a really good job for a non-horsey partner or parent as they will feel involved rather than a spare part. It is the cheapest form of horse training.
For more information please visit www.equestrianclearance.com
*Material supplied courtesy of the Horsemart National magazine, April 2010 – available at all good stockists nationwide,
Email email@example.com today for more info!
Click the button below to subscribe to the Horsemart National Magazine