In todays blog we are bringing you our top tips for managing competitions alone. Now that the lockdown restrictions are being lifted and venues are looking to start competitions again, we can begin got prepare for competions again.
However the competitions will be quite different from what we are used to and for many of us it means we will be going alone with out our show friend, or taking a non horsey member of our household alsong with us.
As venues beging to run competitions under social distancing rules they will also be learning and adapting how to best make it work, therefore it is going to be quite different from what we are used to.
This change and lack of control can start to cause fear in some people and make competition nerves even worse, especially if you have now lost your usual support network. However that should not stop you getting out and enjoying yourselfs, so we have created our top tips to help you navigate and enjoy competitions.
Firstly i have a lot of experiance competing alone, i have done dressage, jumpin and showing competitions alone, i have been to local day shows, through to stay away national championships and qualifiers such as Search For A Star alone. It is completly managable, and enjoyable.
The key is ORGANIZATION, the more organised you are the smoother things run and the less stress there is involved.
Start by doing as much of the prep work as possible the day before. Bath, plait, clean tack and pack everything ready – we have a load of free downloadable packing lists here to get you sorted.
We also have loads of fantastic luggage items to make show days easier, more organised and less stress full. You can check them out here.
Make sure you have also tested your lorry and trailer are working fine and good to go, well in advance of the competition day.
On the morning of the competition get you lorry/trailer hitched up, pulled out and ramps down ready to go. Make sure all your gear is also packed and ready. This way if you start to run late, you can just stop, load up and go.
When working out your timings for the day make sure you add in buffer windows, so you have extra time if anything goes wrong. Look to add these in by starting 30 minutes earlier than planned, as due to social distancing the venues may be very strict on tinings, and if you arrive early you may not be allowed on to the grounds. You can always call the venue in advance to find out what their policy is.
Make sure you check the warm up policy as well, as again there may be strict timings on these rings, so you may not get the length of time you would like, which may mean you have to lunge or ride for a bit before you leave your yard.
Make sure you check the venues policies on cafes and toilets too. Some maybe offering a takeaway service on food and drink, however be aware that it may take a lot longer than usual to get your order, they may also be a card only place too, so check that out. If they are not offering food or drink make sure you pack your own – especially extra water on hot days. Look into getting a cooler box you can plug into your cigarette lighter to keep drinks etc cold.
If you are doing dressage plan ahead for learning your test or organising someone to call it for you, most venues for a small extra fee will provide a caller.
Finally remember it has been a long time since any of us went anywhere so the horses and other riders are all going to be excited and nervous, as well as trying to figure out how to make everything work around social distancing measures.
Take a deep breath and enjoy the fact you are able to take your horse out. Also remember the judge does not know your journey or the amount of work you have out in, or how far you and your horse have com. So make sure you set measurable goals for you, and do not base your goals on someone else’s opinions.
The Tidy Tack Rooms Team xox