Set Yourself Up For Success

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Set yourself up for Success!

Think Backwards

By Jennifer Clover


Show Season is in full swing and many of you are experiencing the highs and lows that naturally go along with competing.  And just riding for that matter!

With that in mind, I have some planning thoughts on helping to make your next show as successful as possible.

Also, stay tuned for the next edition!

Think backwards:

This is one of my favorite planning tools.  It really makes you think about everything that you have to do to be at the in-gate on time, prepared, and organized.

Start with your actual ride time, and then micro-manage your schedule all the way back to your own wake up time.  Then think even more backwards to what you can do the day, days, even weeks and months before, to be organized and well prepared.

You have to take into consideration all kinds of factors such as how long you and your horse need warm-up, if your horse needs to be lunged or hand-walked prior, where trailer parking is in relation to warm up and competition arenas, time to sit and have a snack, bathroom breaks for you, watering your horse, etc.  The time it takes to go get your number from the secretary (there might be a line!).  Do you need to arrange to bring a grounds person/groom?  Does your horse need to a horse friend or person to stay with him or her while at the trailer? These are YOUR responsibility to think through!

Remember to also check your shoeing schedule.  Consider having your horse shod a week early if the show falls close to the next due date.  Vaccinations and coggins.  Don’t get caught with frantic calls to the vet!  Schedule all your vaccinations and coggins well in advance.  Allow at least a week, preferably two, after vaccinations just in case your horse has a reaction, etc.  Allow time for the coggins to be read and returned to you as well.

Alert!  Some shows have specific requirements for some vaccinations and require proof.  Read the requirements for the show(s) you are entering and plan ahead.

Now that you have looked at all of that, below is a sample of what I mean by Think Backwards.

Example:         10:45   ride time

10:15   warm-up

10:10   foot in stirrup at mounting block (it takes 5 minutes to walk to the warm up ring from the trailer area)

9:50     tack up

9:30     get dressed

9:15     groom horse

9:00     at trailer to rest, have a drink and snack

8:45     check in with secretary, ask if everything is running on time, pick up number

8:15     arrive at show grounds, offer your horse water, set up your trailer for the day so your things are organized and accessible, scope out location of arenas, warm up areas, port-o-potties, etc.

7:30     leave for show – leave enough time that a traffic delay or flat tire won’t ruin your day

7:15     load horse – double check the trailer for a correct hitch and that you remembered all your equipment

6:00     arrive at barn, catch and feed horse.  Bathe, braid, shipping boots on

5:30     leave home

Even the best organization can’t ward off some problems.  Some things are simply out of our hands or beyond our control such as weather, show delays, other rider problems, a hectic warm-up arena, and so on.  It is an inevitable part of competing.  BUT, you can significantly reduce the impact of these things on you and your horse if you are well prepared and organized otherwise.

Set yourself up for success at your next show!  Be the rider that is calm and confident at the in-gate, ready for a great ride, because you are prepared and ready.  Avoid being the rider, and we all know they are out there, that is rushed, flustered, and in a panic at the in-gate.  Think through the time schedule, what equipment you need, how much time you need, what help you need.  Then make a plan and go out and have fun!

Have a great ride!

Stay tuned for more Set Yourself up for Success ideasJ



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