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strategies for a one day horse trial?

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  • strategies for a one day horse trial?

    I know that in many areas one day HTs are the norm. We typically spread ours over three days here in area VII, so I've gotten used to having a lot of time to chill/clean tack/handwalk/walk courses/visit/watch/drink/etc at events. I'm finding it a bit daunting to imagine all of that happening in the course of one day!

    How do you manage your time/horses/riders at one day horse trials, especially juggling multiple horses and/or riders? I'm sure there are ways to make it work, and would love to hear them!
    --Becky & the gang

    "Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again. That's what takes a real hero." from storypeople.com

  • #2
    It's frantic.
    Get up early. Leave early. Bring rubber shoes to walk the course while it's still covered with dew and wet. Change for dressage. Change out of dressage stuff. Untack. Walk stadium if not walked on way back or to cross country. Wait. wait. wait. (Sometimes 3 hours between phases.) Change for jumping (stadium before XC then right to XC). Warmup. Wait. Warmup. Wait. Warmup. Wait. Then go, then go to XC, then go, then cool out, change AGAIN, wait around for scores, go home exhausted.
    Yep, that about covers it! Boy I miss the wonderful long easy days of Area VII!
    Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
    Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


    • #3
      Ditto the above and add "yell at husband because he forgot to read your mind and tell you you need something you forgot. . . or, Yell at husband because he's telling you to do something you should be doing, but you're so cranky you don't want him telling you that, even though it's right!!!"
      RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

      "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."


      • #4
        Bring a groom. Ideally a horse knowledgeable one. Bring a cooler full of drinks & snacks. Bring a big icewater jug.

        Do what you can to group your gear by phase, so that your dressage pad, saddle, girth, etc. are together, as is tack for jumping phases. (extra saddle racks can be very handy)

        There are many people who are going to pipe up here that they can do it all themselves alone, they prefer too, etc. etc. That is wonderful, but I find it VERY hard to do a one day (which is the only kind they have at my level in MD) without a spare pair of hands. Or 2.

        Set up a bucket and scraper in a spot at the end of your trailer, for sponging and scraping the horse after dressage; a separate bucket for drinking water.

        If you can walk the course the DAY BEFORE the 1 day, it's really helpful, especially if you ride early in the day. Otherwise make sure you can arrive in time to park, settle horse, and then go do your course walk before anything else, ideally.

        Just my $0.02.
        I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
        I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


        • #5
          I'm just about to leave for one this morning. Okay, it's really a derby but pretty much the same. DH is gone on another activity so I'm going alone as well. It's pretty busy. Get there, unload horse, pick up packet, walk xc course, get coffee, walk again, tack up horse, warmup, wait, warmup, then untack, settle horse, tack up again this time with xc boots, breastcollar, vest, armband, blah blah. Ride unspectacular xc round, untack, wait around, cheer on the grasshopper kids, wait some more for scores, go home. Luckily I'm only 1/2 hour from the site so easy in and out. Gotta go!
          Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert


          • #6
            First, take advantage of the new-ish rule that you can wear a polo for all three phases in a one-day format. Far less changing of clothes.

            Depending on how the event is run it can actually be OK.

            Walk all your courses before you get on the horse. Wear the same breeches all day. If your XC shirt is dark you'll have to find a light colored one for dressage and SJ, unless they run XC & SJ back to back and/or you are allowed to wear your XC gear for stadium. Then you just have to find a light one for dressage, which is still easier to deal with than a shirt, neckwear and jacket (NO neckwear if you are not wearing your jacket - option #5320 for getting eliminated in eventing)

            Not having to change MY clothes saves a lot of time.

            Ride dressage. Depending on how much time you have untack and relax. Or remove dressage tack and apply jump tack.

            The really compact formats where you ride XC & SJ back to back -I've seen it done in both orders, you only have to tack up and warm up once for both. I like SJ first because it's a good warm up for XC and you don't have to worry about a tired horse in SJ (don't pigpile on me about SJ being a test of soundness etc after XC - I know, but at Novice? And even Training your horse shouldn't be that tired after XC and you only have to warm up once.

            It can be a little frantic and help is always nice to have, but I've come to dislike going to 3-day long events because with only one horse you have a lot of time to sit around and I'm not much for sitting around.


            • #7
              Of course Hilary is right, the polo shirt and not having to change clothes is really wonderful.

              I second the idea of walking the course the day before if at all possible. The rules say it must be available by 3pm the day before which even if a workday should give you enoughd daylight hours to walk it before dark. This is the one where I take my time, look at everything, check the options, etc. Then, if you are a dunce like me and need to walk it a second time, you can jet around first thing in the morning; and also walk your stadium at the same time.

              Bornfreenowexpensive said once that she often walks the stadium no matter if it's set for her division or not, just to get the track -- you can imagine where the jumps will be for your division, but it's helpful to see where the dips are and the angles on the corners, etc. So that takes care of that -- and you do have to watch your time pretty carefully.

              I try to be organized - and minimal. One or at most two bridles. A couple of dry saddle pads for the horse. I bring loads of water with me, for horse, and for me, so I don't have to go walk somewhere and find it and haul it back. I bring a garbage bag with me, I bring a muck tub, all that stuff so I don't have to walk somewhere. Each little trip might be that 5 minutes I need.

              You will need to know a couple of things.
              What is the time schedule, and how long it takes to get places -- from the trailer parking to the dressage, trailer parking to jumping phases, etc. Also helpful is how things have run at the event before -- are they on time, organized, or sometimes late and disorganized? Before you get frustrated you have to sort of ask around and see how things go. Big events with 400 rides are often very disorganized. Small events with under 100 rides often roll right along and before you know it you're late, so do your homework.
              Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
              Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


              • #8
                I agree with the wearing of the same breeches all day long. I put on my breeches and then put a light pair of workout pants (yoga pants or whatever) on over them. I can still muck around and walk my courses or whatever and my breeches don't get dirty. When it's time to get ready for dressage, I pull off the workout pants and I'm already dressed. I also usually have my dressage shirt on (I wear a white tech polo, stock tie & dressage coat), I just wear a baggy tee-shirt over it until it's time to get ready. So all I have to do is whip off the workout pants, pull off the tee-shirt, add boots, stock-tie & pin, dressage coat and gloves and I'm ready. I then change into another polo for XC, add the jumping vest and I'm ready again. It's especially nice in sticky or wet weather. It's really hard peeling off or wriggling into breeches when the weather is humid or wet.
                -Debbie / NH

                My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/


                • #9
                  Well, I forego the tack cleaning and handwalking, and usually the drinking can wait until afterward!

                  I try to walk the course the day before if it's close, or in the morning before I start. I get my horse as clean as possible before we leave, braid, wrap his tail, clean out his stud holes and put in the road studs, and put shipping boots on. Get there, offer water, go walk courses/ get numbers etc. Clean manure off horse while still in trailer. Get tack out for dressage, fill water buckets, put on all riding clothes except jacket, hat and gloves. Get horse out, knock hay off, tack up, put on helmet etc., warm up and ride.

                  Come back, untack, unbraid, wash, flatten mane, change shirt, get jumping stuff out and dressage stuff put away, (if time, lunch and socialize) tack up, watch a couple of stadium rounds, warm up, jump, go xc. Cool horse out, remove studs, wrap, cram dirty tack into trailer, load horse, pick up dressage test/ ribbon, smoothie, wave to trainer as she goes by on sixth horse of the day, go home.


                  • #10
                    Most of the events here that are close enough not to stable (under 3 hours), we drive out the day before and walk the course. I also get up early to clean tack, ride and bath and braid my horse the day before.

                    Normally, phases have at least an hour between, sometimes more, so there is time to do a bit of grooming before tacking back up, but of course walking stadium might get in the way of that so I often tack up and bring my horse down so I can walk and get on.

                    Get there, groom a bit, tack up, get dressed, go down to dressage. Come back, sponge off, put in corks, tack up, go down to stadium. Come back, sponge off, retack, get changed, go down to xc. Its pretty fast, but not too fast IMO, just enough to keep you from crashing. Then its over in 4 short hours and you get to drink the beer.


                    • #11
                      Especially if I have multiple horses, I write out a pretty detailed schedule once I get my times. Allocating time to stretch, and change clothes, and pick up packets and such lets me see if I'll really have time to walk XC after dressage or what-have-you.



                      • #12
                        I use the minimalistic approach when I take both my guys to a one day. I usually have a friend or my trainer help me, but I do a lot of the work. I look at the schedule, figure out the best time to do certain things (walk XC, put in studs, etc). I don't do anything elaborately, just enough to do it right with no frills. I love having two horses going at the same level because it makes the day fly by- it's hard for me to imagine a HT held over two or three days; we are definitely spoiled in Area 2 .


                        • #13
                          As others have said, I write down everything I'm supposed to be doing at what time so all I have to do is reference the clipboard.

                          I do bathing,braiding and cleaning stud holes the night before. Believe it or not, just cleaning the stud holes and putting in new plug its saves a lot of time and frustration. I even turn my horse out after he's bathed and braided-I use the Rambo Dustbuster Plus.

                          Once I get my times, that's when I figure out exactly my timetable. I work backward from the time slots to figure what time I need to leave home, walk courses, etc. I have a sample time schedule I can post or PM to you if you're interested.

                          I second having help if it's possible. I can do it alone if I have to, but my focus is much better if I have someone to talk to during the day, as well as cool the horse, etc.

                          Be sure to sit down and rest every ocassion possible-even if you don't feel tired! Same goes true for eating and drinking. I make myself eat small amounts often and keep drinking-even if I'm not feeling thirsty.

                          If you can walk the course the night before, that's the best. I I go through it multiple times in my head so I'm sure I remember it. I also make little notes on the course map as a memory refresher. I don't tend to have the time to walk XC twice so I have to keep it fresh in my mind.

                          I like the one day events. It's easier on family time since it's only one day on the weekend instead of two. That being said, Area II does have a ton of events within easy commuting distance for me.


                          • #14
                            It's.... an adventure.

                            Many of the events around here are one day. I also do a lot of the Mini Trials (they're cheaper... and I'm a poor horse person), which are always one day.

                            I'll start by saying that you MUST have help. It would be near impossible to do it all by yourself, especially if you're working out of the trailer, etc. You always need an extra set of hands. Someone to hold your horse while you change clothes, someone to fetch a bucket of water for your horse while you untack, etc. It would be near impossible to multitask like that when you have to hold the horse constantly or if you left something in the car, what have you.

                            Also, it's quite exhausting. Doing all three phases in one day is like a little mini marathon. It's literally like... tack up for dressage, warm up, ride test, untack, maybe 20 minutes of "down time" before you have to change and tack up for stadium. Then from there, it's the same thing for cross country. I was at a one-day event yesterday, and I started tacking up for dressage at 11:15, and finished cross country at 2:45. During that entire period, I was either riding or changing tack/clothes. It goes fast but it's grueling. I would not be able to do it without the help of my mom, who is always right by my side at shows to help me.

                            Another thing... as hard as it is for you, it's also much harder on the horse. I think they need to be fitter to do it all in one day. Especially in this hot weather, hose or sponge your horse between rides if you can, offer them small but frequent drinks of water, and make sure to watch for signs of dehydration.

                            It's hard... but remember, it's supposed to be fun! So be safe, manage your time wisely, and enjoy!