Top tips

  • Don’t write downa competitor’s number before they’ve arrived at your fence – they don’t always run in programme order.
  • If you can’t read a number, don’t panic. Write down a short description of the rider or horse (rider wearing red-and-blue-striped sweater, for example) in the notes column of your sheet.
  • Stay alert – don’t doze off or leave your fence unattended, then find that you’ve missed half the competitors!
  • If you have a problem at your fence, such as a nasty fall, keep calm. If you alert control, help should be with you in minutes.
  • After the final competitor of the day has gone round, don’t leave your fence until the runner has collected your remaining score sheets. Check your pockets to make sure you haven’t missed any sheets. Return the flags, watch, walkie talkie and duplicate sheets to the organiser before heading off home.
  • Take plenty of warm clothes – the weather might seem fine but if you’re out in the open all day it can feel chilly. In the summer, suntan lotion and a hat are worth remembering.
  • Although you should be provided with refreshments during the day, if you think you might get hungry or thirsty, take some extra provisions to snack on.
  • If you would like to know more about what’s involved before you take the plunge, ask if you can sit in with a seasoned fence judge.
  • Finally, don’t worry – a first-timer will usually be given a more straightforwardfence that is less likely to cause problems or that has just one element.