28 questions all grassroots event riders ask themselves on competition days

  • From early starts to warm-up blanks and post cross-country elation, every eventing day is different but they tend to have certain elements in common.

    Here are 28 questions every grassroots event rider will surely have asked themselves at some point during their competition career…

    1. Why is that alarm clock going off?

    2. Why do I do a sport that requires me to get up so early?

    3. Am I already too nervous to eat breakfast?

    4. Why is my horse so dirty? I spent an hour bathing him yesterday!

    5. Why have half my plaits fallen out overnight?

    6. I’m only 20 minutes late leaving — surely I can catch that up if there’s no traffic?

    7. Why has my horse poo-ed all down his white socks on the way here — and will it affect my dressage mark if I just ignore it?

    8. Why am I the only person in this warm-up who can’t even get their horse on the bit?

    9. Why does that girl on the perfect grey keep glaring at me? Is it because I can’t get my horse on the bit and does she think it’s catching?

    10. Why did I forget everything I did in my last lesson as soon as I went between the white boards?

    11. Why are showjumping warm-up arenas so terrifying?

    12. Why has that woman just put the oxer up to 1.20m? No one here needs to jump 1.20m, for goodness sake.

    13. Why did that man walk straight in front of the upright while I was trying to jump it?

    14. Why is my horse such a saint that he jumped it anyway?

    15. What if I still can’t remember the course once I’m in the arena?

    16. Why did I think it was a good idea to put three strides in that two-stride double?

    17. Why did I lose all use of my legs on the way to the first fence?

    18. Am I going to be sick at any point between getting dressed for cross-country, walking to the start, doing my warm-up and actually getting into the start box?

    19. Do I have to jump any cross-country warm-up fences? Couldn’t I be like Ros Canter with Allstar B and pretend not warming up is a carefully thought-through tactical decision rather than a simple reaction to frozen terror?

    20. Surely it can’t be my turn already?

    21. Did he just say 30 seconds or 10 seconds?

    22. What if he stops at the first fence?

    23. What if he stops at the last fence?

    24. What does it matter that I did a 47 dressage/had four showjumps down when I have such a wonderful cross-country horse? Nothing can beat this feeling!

    25. Why does eventing require so much kit? I have so much wet and dirty clothing, tack and other stuff to clear up.

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    26. Where’s the picnic/burger van? I’m starving!

    27. Why did I do such a rubbish dressage/have four down showjumping/go so slowly? I could have been placed if only I’d remembered my test/sat up on take-off/kicked on the cross-country.

    28. When can I do it all again?

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