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28 November

Head Out With Confidence and Download the Perfect Checklist

author image Edeline Bourrier Edeline Bourrier
Head Out With Confidence and Download the Perfect Checklist image

Are you ready to leave the yard for a competition, lesson, fun ride, venue hire or hack? Don't let the surprise amount of admin get you stressed. Make sure all your bases are covered by writing down the important info on one piece of paper - having all the necessary information in one place to help avoid stress. So, how can you ensure you head out with confidence?

To give yourself the greatest chance of keeping calm at a competition:

  • Allow plenty of time for the journey, arrival, preparation, and warm-up.
  • Have a support crew.
  • Have the show schedule and arena maps in a folder so everyone knows what’s happening and where!

1. What can you do to help your horse before you leave?

Try to keep your horse’s routine as normal as possible - quantity/time of feed, turnout, & amount of exercise etc.

Remember to start small and build a partnership. If you have a new, young, or inexperienced horse it is sensible to go to a local venue for schooling before introducing longer journeys and other horses at larger venues with competitions.

2. How to work out your timing?

Commit to set timings and writing it down on paper will help you cement your schedule. Consider when you’ll need to…

  • get up
  • leave the house
  • load
  • leave the yard
  • arrive
  • warm-up
  • be at your class, classes or lesson
  • arrive home by

It is often easier to work this out in reverse, starting at what time you must be at your class or lesson. This way you can think about how long it takes you to prepare, allowing you to consciously think about your plan. Allowing extra time will help you feel more confident and in control of the situation.

3. What do you need to do to get ready?

When it comes to clothing, it is often easier to have this lying out ready or packed the night before. This way, you don’t feel under pressure on the day you leave. Consider whether you will be wearing the same outfit all day or if you will be driving in cosy casuals or perhaps preparing for rain or shine? Think about what you want to look like when you’re sitting on your horse at the competition and use that as a checklist for each item you and your horse are wearing. It’s often easy to forget silly things like a hairnet or stock pin but it can be more major if you forget an item of tack or clothing, so make sure you follow a checklist to avoid this mistake! Early preparation makes it easier to motivate yourself to get out of bed in the morning if it’s a very early start, and spare items are important if the weather changes, or perhaps something gets dirty or damaged. Remember that checklists also need updating, so if you change a piece of tack or need different equipment for different disciplines, add that to your checklist ready for your next competition before you forget!

We often worry about our horses behaving differently at competitions, remember to set realistic goals and expect your horse to be unsettled at the start. It is better to be surprised about how good they were rather than disappointed about how alert they are. Be the calm, organised, consistent person that your horse knows and plan to put your training into practice. If that plan A doesn’t work, remember that there can be plan B C D (…) to reach your goal!

Sign up to our newsletter to view the perfect checklist!

Key things to consider:

  • Tack
  • First aid kit
  • Grooming kit
  • Washing off kit
  • Water/water buckets
  • Snacks & liquid to keep you energised
  • Treats & hay to keep your horse happy

We hope you have a wonderful time with your horses and ponies, please let us know how you get on and remember to tag us in your socials.

author image About Edeline Bourrier Edeline Bourrier

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