Paul Gaff gives his 5 Top Tips for making sure you’re ready for your first BE80T!
• Make sure you have done and been competitive at a few prelim level dressage tests and competed at 80-90 at a few different venues.
• Had some successful and confident cross country schooling sessions testing yourself honestly over some of the fences you will have to jump but don’t push too far and knock either yours or your horses confidence.
• Go to a BE80T to watch so you know what to expect.
• Make sure that you are happy cantering in open spaces, up and down hills and that your fitness is good enough to stay in a light seat for at least 5 minutes.
2) Rider fitness is as important as horse fitness.
Everyone goes on about the fitness of the horse, but regularly forgets their own fitness.
The amount of times I have been at a show with a student or out walking the course and you see people coming out of the dressage, show jumping or cantering past on the cross country, never mind the horse, they are huffing and puffing and completely out of balance on their horses. If your core strength or cardio isn’t up to standard you will for sure make it more difficult for your horse, you also won’t be able to think fast enough because of the lack of oxygen to the brain, and reaction times become slower increasing the chance of an accident!
Go for a 10 – 20 minute walk/run 3-5 times a week to keep your own fitness up to scratch.
3) Don’t go straight into competition.
Make sure you have done your homework before heading to your first event! Like I mentioned earlier, find a BE80T to go and watch and walk the courses so you know what to expect. Turning up unprepared can be a disappointing and expensive mistake, I always say you should never enter an event without believing in your training at home and the quiet confidence of being able to place well!
4) Over view of things to focus on leading up to your first event!
• Scales of training and a good understanding of a quality canter and how to move the horse between the different gears!
• Do your homework: Check out an event and plan to run at a venue you might know or have already trained at so you enter with confidence.
• Rider fitness – 10-20 minutes of cardio 3 – 5 times a week. And cantering in a light seat 5 – 10 minuets.
• Horse fitness – 5-10 minutes moving between gears in canter out hacking over different terrain and including up and down hills.
5) Lastly – ENJOY!
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