You’ve won your class/series or regional finals (well done!), and now you’re planning ahead for your first ever championship show. But what do you need to know or do in the build-up to the big competition day? The MirrorMePR Equine & Luxury PR Team share their top tips for having a fantastic time at your Championship Show.
Whether it’s the British Dressage Le Mieux National Championships or Horse Of The Year Show ensuring that your horses’ vaccinations, shoeing and saddle fitting are all beautifully coordinated and booked in well in advance will be one less thing to worry about the week before the championships. If you are planning a long journey, giving the lorry or trailer the once over and ensuring that all is in good working order is also advisable. You’ll need some help so find a friend who is reliable and will be able to commit to the dates and will be helpful as well as supportive.
Writing a checklist of things you will need to take with you will ensure you don’t forget anything before you leave the yard. You would be surprised at how many people forget their girth when they go out to shows!
Appreciate that Championships are expensive. As experts in equine luxury PR, we know it’s not just your entry fees, its the overnight stabling, the additional feed/hay, lorry hire, diesel, your food, your helper’s food. The list is endless. Cut down your spending in the lead up to the Championships so that you budget for the additional spend.
Don’t ask yourself what do I need? Ask yourself what you won’t definitely need. Packing his hard feed, taking plenty of hay/haylage and a certain amount of water from home is a must. Some horses just don’t like the taste of strange water and won’t drink it so if you know your horse is fussy, prepare to bring some full water containers. You will have to be careful of course on the weight of the lorry but remembering to take the basics plus a varied wardrobe for him and you in case the weather is less than kind is essential.
Your Accommodation (for him)
As experts in equine luxury PR, we know that if you are staying overnight, you might be lucky enough to get your horse into permanent stabling onsite, however for most though, the only accommodation on offer at shows can be rickety temporary boxes with less than secure locks. Make sure that your horse is settled in before leaving him for the night and check the locks are secure so you don’t end up having an escapee in the early hours of the morning! Get up extra early on show morning to feed and check him. Remember that your horse may have been disturbed by other people coming in to feed/skip out their horses. Keep your regular routine for home and be prepared to adapt it slightly when away. For example, getting down to the stable block to feed and give him a haynet first thing then heading back to grab yourself breakfast could make the difference between him fretting and relaxing.
As experts in equine luxury PR, we know a night in the lorry or pitching up a tent might seem like fun but don’t forget to take plenty of warm duvets and blankets, food and drink. Even in the summer months, the temperature can drop unseasonably cooland if you are planning a night in a tent, pitch it somewhere that if it does rain heavily, your tent won’t get flooded. If you want to be able to walk (and ride well) the next day, airbeds are your back’s saving grace from the hard ground.
Hopefully, you’ll have some friends or family tagging along with you, so organise your horse duties before you arrive and have a plan in place so that everyone will get some time out to eat properly and rest well. Being hungry and tired will make you grouchy so ensure you and your supporters are all well fed and watered!
Good Luck & remember to enjoy it. You’ve got this far with your horse so feel proud of your achievements and remember it’s the memories you’ll treasure forever, not the rosettes.