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Novice 3 day questions

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  • Novice 3 day questions

    My daughter really wants try the N3day at Hoosier park, but since we know nothing about the long format, I am unsure as to what to expect. Has anyone done this event? We do not ride with a trainer so we cant really ask questions about it. We would be going in to it blind. Some questions we have are how fast is the steeplechase at the novice level, and what excatly are roads and tracks? How fit does the horse have to be? Does the horse have to braided for inspecction? What if you have a refusel on steeplechase? I have read alot of articles about it, but since I have never seen one I am not sure about any of it. If anyone can answer any of my "newbie" questions and maybe give me a bit more insight, I would greatley appreciate it.

  • #2
    The 3-days I work at are geared to be educational as well as competitive (Waredaca and Heart of the Carolinas) -- so excellent clinicians are there to teach some of this like, how fast is steeplechase and all about R&T.

    R&T are chances for your horse to warm up before steeplechase at an easy trot (Phase A) and then cool down before the vet box at a trot and walk (Phase C) so you can get checked out before you hit XC (Phase D).

    Yes, your horse needs to be braided or roached for inspection. He basically needs to be dressage arena ready but with no saddle. The jog person should wear "dress casual" (although some people go all out red carpet, LOL, I'm not that type) -- dress/skirt/pants/sweater/button down, all appropriate, just remember you have to RUN and it might be windy and I don't know about IN, but our ground jury won't give you a pass just because you flash them or fall down. Note: the rider does not have to jog sound, just the horse.

    A refusal is a refusal, no matter where the jump is, you are still penalized.

    Speed will depend on the event; at Novice, probably a nice hand gallop, not a Rolex all-out, LOL.

    One of things I loved about our 3-days is that, because of the educational nature, everyone is in it together. Competitors, families and friends help each other and there is no question too small to ask. I think the educational component at Waredaca is more interwoven with the whole event than the Carolinas, where most of the clinicing is done on the day before dressage, so give the organizer or hosting farm a call to see what the schedule generally is.
    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
    We Are Flying Solo


    • #3
      As wildlifer said, you should probably talk to the organizer to make sure you know the specifics of schedule and speeds/distances, as that may vary.
      You DO need to plan to have a "crew" for cross country day -- two or three people, at least some of them horsey, who can help out in the 10 minute box.

      Here are some links from the Waredaca page about their novice 3 day that might be helpful:
      Speed and distance: Note from previous years. Novice is at the top. If you scroll down, you will see a schedule from a previous year -- again, check with your organizer as events may vary, but this will give you some idea of the time commitment
      I wrote up an FAQ after going to a great prep clinic taught by Gillian Clissold; it was for the Training 3 day, but I think almost all of it really would apply to the Novice one as well:
      (ok, the first two sections, Qualifications and Schedule, I did not write, and may be fairly specific to Waredaca's event...)
      This should get you started!
      Have fun!!!
      She will definitely want to do extra fitness work -- more like what she would do for Training. I am sure some folks who have done a novice 3 day could give you a good idea...
      The big man -- my lost prince

      The little brother, now my main man


      • #4
        Oh, great FAQ page, asterix!! I had not seen that on there before.

        About crew, and again, this really depends on the event and you will have to talk to the organizer -- there are always people like me who don't have crew on hand for every event. Since this is your daughter, I'm assuming you can crew for her (lucky her!), but at Waredaca, there are always extra people to help out in the vet box (a whole class of vet students often shows up and stalks people, LOL) and other riders' crew don't hesitate to give a hand to someone who might be understaffed or confused or crewless, especially if you let the group know at the beginning of the event.

        Everyone gets freaked out about the vet box most of all and honestly, it's really a non-event. Your work is done beforehand (getting your horse fit so he pulses down quickly) so all you do is trot in, hop off, let the vets check your horse, take a drink and snack if you need one, adjust anything that needs adjusting and off you go. Just keep an eye on your time; otherwise, it runs very smoothly and again, there SHOULD be lots of help on hand.

        We just assume that, except for repeat competitors we know, that the people attending have never done a long format before as our default. So we expect confusion and questions and nervousness and come in prepared to help because we really want everyone to finish!

        If this is the 3-day that LAZ runs, I am SURE that they will be more than happy to help when needed. We're all eventers after all!
        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

        Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
        We Are Flying Solo


        • #5
          I'm by no means a trainer or an expert, but I did a T3DE and groomed at a few of the old LFs (Radnor and Foxhall). Here's my run down (I know you said you're the mom, but I wrote it from the rider's perspective):

          Arrival--informal inspection. This is pretty casual--just bring the horse by, talk to the vet about any blemishes or issues they should notice (for example, my mare had old wind puffs) so they don't spin (eliminate) you in the jog for something normal to that particular horse. I'd make sure the horse is reasonably clean, but no need for anything formal like braids. It takes place on arrival day, and there are no set times--simply a time window in which you should bring your horse to the designated spot.

          First inspection--they typically teach you how to do this, but it's great if you can practice in advance (in fact, I recommend it--can also be helpful for the future vet visit you hope never happens). The horse stands reasonably still while with the rider in front of the horse. They ask you to jog--move to the horse's left and ask the horse to trot off (a walk step or two is fine). Jog straight to the end of the lane, where there will be a flower pot or something similar. Slow to a walk, turn RIGHT around the pot, straighten out, and pick up the trot again. Trot PAST the original starting point. Make all movements easy--too quick a trot off or jerking back to a walk can make a horse stumble or appear uneven. You should not be dragging the horse. Use a whip if needed to get him trotting smartly up. Turnout for the jog was already covered.

          Dressage: Like at a HT, just a different test (often performed in a large arena).

          Endurance: Figure fit enough to do a 15 minute brisk trot, a 3 minute hand gallop, 25 minute walk trot, and then a 10 minute break. After that the horse should be fit enough to do a longer than normal, slightly more challenging XC than a HT. Prep work for endurance day should include lots of trot--and then some trot--and then trot some more. I would often do my normal jump lesson, then go for a hack--started out just a few minutes, then added on so I would often do 30 minutes or so of trot (with brief breaks) after the lesson.

          On the day, simply tack up your horse, walk to the start, and trot out of the start gate. There are marked flags just like on a XC course. They are numbered. Make sure you know the RT course. At my T3DE we rode around the whole thing in a pickup and got shown the course. You are typically allowed to hack it before the event (so after your flatwork ride on the day before dressage?). Often times the phase A and phase C have some overlap (i.e. you will meet riders going out on A as you are heading the opposite way on phase C). So you set out on phase A at a trot as your warm up. Some horses come out quite fresh because they hear the countdown, are wearing XC gear, and then only trot off! It's just a warm up--nothing to it other than the direction. It is timed, so a watch is good. Make sure to greet each gate judge. There are two reasons for this--one is because they're volunteering at the most boring post possible, and the other is so they are more likely to remember to check you off as having gone through the marker. During phase A as you get closer to the steeplechase, some people like to ask the horse for a brief burst of speed (not long, just a short mini-gallop). That's personal preference.

          You then have one minute from the end of phase A to the start of phase B. This originated so riders could adjust their stirrups up, but I didn't bother--just rode with 'em short. However, I ride really short all the time, including my hack work. Most people need it. If you're late off phase A, of course, you don't get that time, and if you're a minute ahead of that time, so much the better. You get a countdown and then go around the steeplechase. There's not much to this--ours was a track with a few brush fences, and we went two laps. Really simple, super fun! We had a "how to ride steeplechase" mini-clinic a night or two before. I think I was on the horse for a grand total of 25 minutes, and that included walking over, quick warm up, a brief set of instructions from one of the clinicians, a few quick jumps over one of the steeplechase fences so we could get a feel for the ride, and then walking back to the barn. Anyway, the end of the steeplechase course is also the start of phase C. That means the time of B ends and C starts at the same moment. There's typically a bit of a "slow down" area where you can come back from the gallop through the finish flags (you don't let up until after them) to a walk. Just after this somewhere is the "assistance area." This is where you want your helper to stand with a small wash bucket and sponge, a stud wrench, and a water bottle for you. Not much more--it's for "if you need it." I think I took a sip of water, we checked to make sure all studs were still in, and that's it. I didn't even stop--we did all that at the walk (it wasn't hot). There's no rule about how long you're there, but phase C is a cool down, so if you spend forever there, you tend to move faster on the actual course. I once had a horse where we spent some time tacking on a shoe, but otherwise my rider never stopped or wanted anything. As a rider I didn't either. Phase C is like phase A, only much slower--lots of walk as well as trot. I tried to stay as much in the shade as possible to get the max cool down before hitting the end of phase C. It's okay to come in a bit early to the 10 minute box, but again, it's also about cool down--the idea is not to push too hard! The last little stretch of phase C, where the vet can see you from the box, it's a good idea to trot in on a long rein. The vets want to see the horse move, and if you can do that before your 10 minute box time starts, so much the better.

          As you enter the box, the vet folks will have you dismount. While you are (or the groom is) doing things like loosening the girth, running up irons and covering the saddle, and putting on a halter over the bridle (loosening noseband/covering reins/whatever), they'll be checking the horse's TPR (temp, pulse, respiration) and making notes. You then have about 6-7 minutes to get those three things back to as close to resting rates as possible. Be generous with ice water (really slosh it on) and quick with the scraper, keep the horse moving, and keep the tack dry. Check the studs and other gear as needed. Ideally the rider should take a quick break and sit down away from the horse, but many riders are incapable of doing this, particularly if the groom team is either not familiar with a three day or doesn't know the horse. Remember, the whole thing needs to happen quickly, but if it's frantic the horse's pulse and respiration won't come down! You'll likely have a volunteer keeping your time and staying with the horse the whole way. After a bit they'll check the TPR again. Hopefully the horse will be fit enough to continue. The rider jogs the horse briefly, then it's off to XC. Incidentally, at this 10 minute box jog the vet will almost always find something to "be aware of" and mention it. Unless it's something you were already thinking about, forget about it. If they haven't eliminated you, you're fine, and you don't want doubt to affect the way you ride XC. The rider should (after all that fitness work) have a pretty good idea of what's normal and when to call it a day or when to keep going. Let your own knowledge of the horse guide your decision making process as it would on any XC course.

          The phase D is just like normal XC in terms of how it runs. The course is longer and a bit tougher, but you'll find if you've done your fitness work it will ride better after steeplechase than after jumping a few Xs, verticals, and oxers in a crowded warmup! After you finish, trot back to the vet box and let them see you trot again. It's a bit similar to after phase C only you can fully untack the horse (keep him moving as you do so) and there's no time limit. The vets must release you to go back to the barns. Take excellent care of him so he doesn't stiffen over the course of the day/night. A brisk hand walk or even a bit of trot late in the evening can be really helpful.

          Final day: Horse inspection almost exactly like the first--most riders prefer to rebraid that morning, but it's up to you. Difference will be that the horse will be more likely to be stiff. Some (particularly older) horses do better if you do a short (20-30 minute) light hack/flatwork to supple them up early in the morning before the jog. Just be sure to not work up a sweat and to get the saddle marks off before the jog! Then wait for the appropriate time, warm up and show jump like normal, keeping in mind that your horse is more likely to be a bit tired than normal and may benefit from more flatwork and fewer jumps in the warm up. Also keep in mind that the rider will be exhausted. It stinks when you get eliminated for forgetting your SJ course after all that work (what happened to me--I NEVER forget a course, but I did that day).

          LOTS of information, but really it's not that hard when you just go and do it. Good prep and planning are key:
          --knowing your horse's TPR and normal physical condition, body and behavior quirks, etc.
          --presentation (how to jog--takes no time at all to learn)
          --careful planning of 10 minute box--who will be the team, what gear will they have ready, who does what job, etc. Make sure you pick quiet spot in the 10 minute box, utilizing shade as much as possible, and setting out all gear, water buckets, sponges, towels, scrapers, and any extra tack you may think you need very early in the day on XC. Label every bucket, sponge, scraper, etc. You can never have too many of these items, and sharpies are your friend! When you leave the box after XC to go back to the barn, have a reliable person gather everything and bring it back. Clean and organize it as soon as the horse is settled so you know you didn't miss anything. Oh, and the only time I have ever, ever had a girth even show signs of damage? Steeplechase. One of the metal buckle pieces on my lovely, relatively new, leather girth broke so I only had one attached billet. So spare girth, stirrup leathers with irons already attached, reins (heck, whole bridle), boots, bells, shoes with studs, just studs/kit should always be handy. You can also never have too many towels. We laid out all the gear on towels, covered it with towels to keep it dry as we were sponging/out of the burning sun, used towels over the saddle to prevent its getting wet, put towels on the reins . . . Figure 3 smaller buckets with sponges, 3 scrapers, halter and lead, bucket of drinking water for horse (keep separate and separately marked), small chair for rider, snacks and drink for rider, tape (duct and electrical), scissors, and if you're like me, a small portable saddle rack for after XC so no saddle on the ground
          --get as much rest as possible
          --go to all the information sessions, even if you already know the information. Ask questions, talk to other riders, etc.
          --get as much information as you can from the organizers. When are the information sessions, where is roads and tracks, what other information do I need?
          --read through all the USEA information, including old and current rule books, everything on the website, any articles you can find--EVERYTHING. Feeling like I knew what I was doing before arriving helped me feel confident throughout.
          --Remember, it's supposed to be (and is) super fun, so enjoy it, learn from it, ask questions, get sleep, and most importantly, enjoy the prep work

          *Note to the OP--some riders can get very tense in the 10 minute box. As a groom I was instructed to ignore any personal, rude, or snippy remarks the rider would make. As a parent, obviously it's different. Remember that it's nerves and a whole lot of adrenaline, so have whatever talk you need to with your kid and potentially with other helpers. The 10 minute box must be a place to bring the rider down and settle her and the horse, not fight. One of the few times I was yelled at by my rider was in the 10 minute box (he was generally amiable), and he had no memory of doing it. Keep that in mind during prep, talk about it as needed for your situation, and save all discipline and fighting until afterwards if needed. The same applies to the horse. One of my charges was a total idiot in the vet box. I just did all I could to bring him down without fighting him. If he had pulled those stunts in the barn, I would have been all over him. In the box, I wasn't. The horses are just as keyed up as the riders and grooms, so keep an air of calm in all you do in the box.
          Last edited by Thames Pirate; Apr. 1, 2013, 05:32 PM.


          • #6
            One other thought for the OP, if for some reason your daughter doesn't compete in the Novice 3 day this year, consider making the trip to Hoosier and volunteer for endurance day. She would learn so much and it would take away some of the stress when she does finally do one.


            • #7
              Contact Lee Ann Zobbe (LAZ) on this board


              • #8
                I did the N3D at the HHP last year (almost, had to withdrawl in the Vet Box, but that is another story!)

                I didn't read any of the other posts.

                Essentially, I did no extra conditioning with my horse for the N3D. (I did a T3D in the past with another horse, so I knew what I was getting myself into) With that said, he was already very fit going into it because he is a TB that I spent the winter hacking up and down hills. I did not extra trot sets, no gallops.
                Even if your daughter hasn't been able to ride much this winter, there is plenty of time to get the horse fit. Add as much hacking and walking as possible and then add some trot sets if you are worried.

                Roads and tracks at the HHP. THere will be a clinician that takes her around before, You are allowed to hack R&T's. The speed is essentially a 4 min kilometer. I believe A is 4 Kilometers. (don't quote me) 16 min of a brisk trot. The only thing I don't like about R&T at the HHP is that there is alot of crossing over the paved road. But its unavoidable. I choose to stud my horse, and did not want to trot on the paved road crossings so that messed with my times a little.

                Then there is steeplechase.
                Ran at training speed. A clinician will give a clinic about riding steeplechase that she can ride in. All questions will be answered and after the schooling she will feel prepared to go out and do her steeplechase. They work on speed, and how to ride the jump.

                Roads and tracks agian.
                This (at the HHP) is almost the same track, same speed, a little longer distance.

                Vet Box
                A clinician will go over any vet box questions. There will be people there to help who know what they are doing.
                It will be the fastest 10 min of your life but its not as scary as it sounds.

                Cross Country and then back to the vet box to cool out.

                There is a jog Thursday afternoon to check soundness and again on Sunday morning.

                This is a really great experience, if at all possible, Go. We need to support the Long Format and the HT's that put them on so they can continue in the future!
                "Hell yes I can ride. I was riding when I fell off!"


                • #9
                  As someone who has volunteered in the box several times (and been a rider with a great crew), please do NOT come with no help assuming volunteers will help you.
                  It is terrifically hard to get enough volunteers to staff a long format (for one thing, we often run xc day on a weekday), and "helping competitors in the vet box" is not one of the jobs on the list.
                  That said, of course everyone is as helpful and friendly as you would imagine, but if you don't bring anyone, please, please spend some of the 2 days you will be on site before xc day lining up some help from the crews of your fellow competitors.
                  Because of the timing, it is easy to do this -people can help you when their riders are out on C, which is fairly long.

                  Every year we get someone who arrives in the vet box in a tizzie, with a hot underprepared horse, who has no help, no plan, and injects chaos into the whole area.
                  One time I went to help someone like this after my rider headed to the start box. She was halfway through her time, horse was not cool, and she had not even checked his shoes. He had a front bar shoe hanging off the side of his hoof.....needless to say, by the time this got fixed she racked up loads of time faults and was very upset. I assume she would have been more upset if she'd run xc on a clip but.....
                  The big man -- my lost prince

                  The little brother, now my main man


                  • #10
                    Have never run a 3 Day myself, but it's on my "to do" list! In regards to helpers, if your daughter has any pony club friends they would be well suited to be her crew. If any of them have done Event Rally, we come pre-trained in Vet Box procedure and are sure to be thoroughly prepared!


                    • #11
                      I agree--have a set groom team who knows what to do (who is holding the horse, who is sloshing on water, who is scraping, who is checking gear, etc. The groom team should all know that they WILL get wet, that they MUST be quick but calm, and that anything that can go wrong will.

                      Having all gear prepped helps. One person (chief groom or someone who has some horsey knowledge) will be in the assistance area and will check shoes, gear, etc. As the rider heads out on C (which is, again, mostly walk and light trot), the assistance area groom heads to the C box and lets the crew know what to expect (have farrier standing by, we'll need to replace the left stirrup, horse looks awesome, whatever). One other thing to have prepped--spare shoes with studs! Have your farrier, instead of resetting shoes, put on new ones and keep the olds (marked LF/LH/RF/RH) with the stud holes. Put the same studs you're using in the spare shoes. If you lose one on steeplechase it's easy for the show farrier to simply tack on the pre-studded, pre-fitted shoe quickly and you can continue cooling out and be on your way.

                      Bring everything in a wheelbarrow or box to the assistance area early, set up (except ice water, which you get just before the rider comes--but find out where to get it in advance), and use the wheelbarrow to bring gear back to the barn as the horse cools down after phase D.

                      Do not expect anything from the volunteers except jump judging or whatever, just as you would at any other HT. Do your own cool down, organizing, etc. just as you would at any HT. Make sure every helper knows his or her job.


                      • #12
                        Asking for a larger commitment both time & money.
                        Full Moon farm, Maryland
                        offers what they call a 1/4*
                        Before each part they have a guest speaker that explains it fully w/ QA. You then are scheduled a practice.
                        So.. teach you proper jog/inspection- you then try it.
                        walk the steeplechase w/ meter wheel- you then ride it
                        have a Judge explain a demo ride- ride roads/tracks
                        It's not a short cut for already having a prepped horse/rider, but it's great for a first time long format.