We spoke to our south-west brand ambassador Ali Dane to find out her show day secrets.
Plan your movements for the day and all timings as soon as possible. Sometimes you can’t do this until you get your times for the competition, but always make sure that you know where you should be and when. One of the best ways to do this is to keep a laminated piece of plain white A4 paper in the truck or car and write the timings and movements for the day on it in a whiteboard marker, then pin it up somewhere everyone (helpers, long suffering other halves, people who have come specifically to watch you) can see. Then they all know where you will be and when, and won’t have to stress you out asking every five minutes!
If you haven’t been to a certain venue before, plan your route to the competition in advance – don’t always rely on a satnav! Look carefully at the schedule for any extra directions given by the organiser/venue, as well as keeping up to date with any road closures/diversions/traffic on your planned route. I always try and leave at least 15 minutes earlier than I really need to… just in case!
The key to managing multiple horses (especially when eventing) and to ensure show success is to be super organised. Pack your equipment and the horses in the reverse order that you’ll need them, so there’s as little juggling around as possible. Make sure that you have a really good helper with you, who won’t need prompting – if necessary give them a little laminated card with all the timings on (see point one) to wear around their neck.
Keep your tack and boot cleaning equipment in your truck or car. Competing invariably involves waiting around for results, so why not use the time to get all the mud off everything as soon as possible?
Keep waterproofs (both human and equine) and a change of clothes in the truck/car (including spare underwear!) just in case.
You can buy olive oil in a spray can that is meant for humans to put on their hair to rehydrate it… but it works brilliantly as a natural sheen for horses’ coats just before you go in the ring. We keep a bottle of it in our grooming kit with one of those sponges used to make cars shiny, so our horses get a quick once over before they go into the ring… and hey presto, super shiny ponies!
Remember to keep up to date with Ali’s brand ambassador blogs to find out what she’s been up to with her team of horses.