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  • Nikki

Top Competition Tips from Riders

As we roll into competitions and mid-way through the eventing season, Rider Elite’s sponsored riders are sharing their tactful tips to help you!

1. 5* eventer George Hilton-Jones highlights the importance of preparation.

‘’Don’t be in a rush! Especially with the young horses Do as much as you can at home - it is showing them as much as possible. So, lots of courses with different fillers, barrels, planks, and bounces. This is just so they can jump without thinking about it.

At home we also build different xc lines with what I can in the school such as a few skinny lines and corners that can all be translated when you go out.

When possible, I try to get the horses out XC schooling as much as possible before we go out competing. It’s not about the size of the jump, it’s about the lines and learning, even at home this is important. My 4/5* eventers will start with little fences. I know they can jump, but it’s the control and understanding that needs to be in check.

I hate having a xc fault on the record so I will only go out when I feel they are ready to jump clear - preparation is key.’’

2. 3* Eventer Louise Bradley emphasising the importance of a simple thing when returning to competitions.

“Make a list! Especially after a break from competitions, I like to know that all the essentials are safely packed in the lorry. This helps eliminate any worry or stress from the day as you work through your checklist. This gives you more opportunity to focus on your riding and the competition ahead”.

3. Continuing the competition tips U21 2* eventer Poppy Pitt draws our attention on mindset.

“It’s easy at a competition to start wondering about other competitors and perhaps even which judges are there. These are all things out of our control and it may lead to feeling overwhelmed and not 100% focused.

Start to turn it around and focus on the things that you can control - these are the things you can change to help you and your performance. This could be staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, or simply focusing on you and your horses warm up before you compete.

It’s so easy to get fixated on the uncontrollable - when the small things we can control can help and not hinder our performance. Finding little tactics to help you focus on yourself is key!”

4. International Dressage Rider Jayne Turney takes our attention to the warm-up before your test.

‘Your warmup is so important! I think it’s a huge step to fixing a better test! Using lots of transitions in the warmup as you would at home to get your horse listening to you. It also helps get you as a rider to get into the right head space if you stick to a normal routine.’

Not forgetting your warm-up too!

5. Small tour dressage rider Rebecca Drane who also represented GB as a Junior and young rider takes us through her competition tip.

“Compete like you are training at home, just take that aspect at the venue you are at. This mindset helps reduce and even eliminate any pressure on you and your horse. I personally imagine I have a giant bubble around myself and my horse, channelling positive vibes in and imagining it is soundproof.

Thinking of your favourite song as you go into ride a test also helps creates a relaxed feeling. I find this creates a stronger partnership and helps with any nerves from the horse or rider!”

6. GB Junior Eventer - Izzy Hall wraps up the competition tips!

“Organisation before an event can help avoid any increase in stress on the day.

Preseason checks such as:

- Checking you know any rule changes, especially with bits!

- Membership, passports, and vaccinations are up to date

- Stud holes - these can be added as early as you start XC schooling

- Servicing/MOT on your lorry

Day before a competition checks:

- Writing down all times of your competitions when eventing or competing in multiple tests. It helps not only you but any helpers you have to keep track of time. It also helps work out when you need to start warming up

- Double check you know your test!

The more practically prepared you are in advance, the more time you have to concentrate on you and your horse, rather than having unwanted distractions and delays.”

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