Help! First Time Eventing Specator Requests Advice About Etiquette, Seating, etc.
Somehow I have convinced my very willing and wonderful boyfriend to drive 8 hours to attend the AECs with me this September. I never thought the idea would leave the start box (yes, pun intended!) but here I am, boyfriend in tow, ready to watch the best horses and riders in the nation (and Ca-nay-dea).
Unfortunately, I have never been a spectator at an event - let's just say that if there were AESCs (American Eventing Spectator Championships) I would not have qualified.
I have only experienced events as a working student or competitor, so I'd appreciate any sort of advice regarding best places to sit to catch the action, spectator etiquette, groovy goings-on, course walks, vendors, etc.
Just go an enjoy! There's not a bad place to view anything at CH. I think they are talking about having some kind of covered seating that you pay for, but I haven't seen it.
You can stand all around the big dressage/jumping arena, sit on the hillside, etc. On the x-c course, there's a sort of pole barn structure for spectators to stand under by the water complex. You can wander the course, i f areas are not roped off. Just be aware at all times of where the hroses may be going.
As far as etiquette goes, I'd say it's the obvious basics: don't be snarky or ugly about people's rides, always yield the way to horses trying to get to or from the arena, etc.
I haven't been up there since May, and I understand that there has been a TON of building since then, but it's all very open and spectator friendly. I can't think of a place where you wouldn't be welcomed.
Some nights I stay up cashing in my bad luck; some nights I call it a draw. -- fun.
I have been watching your post and no one has helped you. I know you are a newbie, so I have asked the moderators to move your post to the eventing forum. You should get many thoughts there.
Also on that forum, look up in the blue line for the "search" button. If you type in the key words, you should get many previous threads with info. The eventers are an enthusiastic lot, who like to help each other.
If you don't get responses, please p.m. me. (Click on my name, and it will take you to my profile page)
I am not currently eventing, nor am I going to this event to watch, but I'll try to help connect you.
Don't know about the AECs, but eventing is generally very spectator friendly. Most programs have an article on how to watch eventing (short version: on XC day you're welcome to walk the course, and actually go up to each fence as long as a horse isn't coming). The programs I've read suggest you watch a rider or two jump each fence on the course so you can decide which one you find most interesting, and then settle down at that one for a bit.
The hardest rule to remember is that a rider is eliminated if they receive ANY assistance while on course, and this is true for all phases. To the inexperienced spectator, it's hard to believe that yelling "Go!" to a rider that you don't even know could result on that rider being eliminated. That's why we all yell "Woohoo!".
Have a great time, and maybe yoou can come back to this forum after the event and tell us what you thought of it.
They don't call me frugal for nothing.
Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.
For Cross Country, I always like to start with the last fence and move around the course from last to first. That way I can always see the next horse coming toward me and I don't miss anyone or have them suddenly come up behind me. If I make it all the way around and still have horses left, I go back to fences I found most interesting the first time. I used to like watching the ten minute box but alas that is no more.
Sometimes the organizer will arrange to have a course walk for spectators. The really nice walks will have a very knowledgeable person lead it and explain the details of the questions and answers that each obstacle presents. The higher the level, the more decisions.
I suggest contacting the organizer now to ask about it. During the event, the organizers will be too busy to talk at length. We want you to learn the sport and enjoy it with us.
Nola, another possibility if you are arriving the night before XC is to tag along with a coursewalk given by a trainer for his/her students -- which can include upper level riders, of course!
The basic thing is to ask -- I wouldn't be surprised if you went around the barns the day before xc and asked, if you could get an invite to follow along on one of these course walks.
When I competed at AECs several years ago, my coach was one of the officials, and I couldn't get any coaching or advice from her. I found trainers I didn't even know were happy to let me ask them questions or tag along on course walks -- and I was competing against their students. I'd imagine they'd be pretty inviting to spectators.
The only cautions I can think of is keep your pets at home and avoid shiny, flashy, flapping apparel...and the best advice I have seen here is try to get in on a guided cross country course walk...you will get a thousand percent more out of watching the riders...okay maybe 1500%...but if anyone is offering, take them up on it!
Finally something I can post about! ☺
Ok a few thoughts from the boyfriend (soon to be husband) of an eventer!
My first any only experience has been Rolex so hope it is similar. First, I strongly recommend the course walks! Just recently started doing these. They are fun and very very informative plus the stories from the old timers are priceless! Next, keep things moving. I’m slowly beginning to understand and appreciate dressage but after seeing a couple of riders go can become somewhat boring. We often use this as a time to eat. Oh and the food! Make sure to play up the fair food! Most guys can relate to beer and food ☺
Cross country is very exciting! Some people like to stay all day at one jump. We try to pick out some interesting jumps and watch a few riders go through. And make sure to catch the finish! The venders are also a nice diversion. But please keep in mind that after hearing the phrase “do these breeches make my butt look big?” for the 100th time may cause his brain to explode lol Keep it fun and he should have a great experience!