The countdown is on: 15 signs the eventing season is just around the corner

  • The countdown really is on for the 2020 British Eventing (BE) season,and for some it is 10 times more exciting than the feeling you had as a child on Christmas Eve. But with the impending season comes some sudden realisations, last-minute panics and a collective racking of brains…

    1. You need stud holes in your horses’ shoes, but the farrier arrived 20 minutes ago to do the set that your horse will wear to his March events and this fact had completely slipped your mind. You sprint across the yard to tell him in the hope you’re not too late.

    2. Your bedtime reading is the BE magazine, complete with a batch of schedules for the forthcoming season.

    3. Social media is awash with fellow eventers documenting their fresh horses enjoying pre-season cross-country schooling sessions.

    4. Talking of which, is the ground good enough for your favourite grass schooling venue to be open?

    5. You’re constantly checking the weather in the hope that the Beast from the East doesn’t make a 2020 appearance and scupper your early season plans.

    6. The social life you briefly had during the off-season is slowly giving way to the weekends you will be out competing and training.

    7. You take your horse to a dressage show to show off what your horse has learnt over the winter months. Your horse proceeds to act like he has never seen white dressage boards in his life.

    8. British Showjumping competitions are suddenly invaded by a brigade of eventers, hacking jackets, hairnets et al.

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    9. If you are not one of those super-organised people, your stud kit perhaps hasn’t seen the light of day since the last really wet, really muddy event you did at the end of last October. This means that you now spend half a day trying to scrape the rust that has accumulated on every single stud you own. *Top tip* leave them to soak overnight in cola (any brand will do), or failing that, a healthy dose of WD-40

    10. Then there is the matter of kit — number one, where is it? Number two, does it comply with the 2020 rules? Number three, does it still fit due to you wintering remarkably well…?

    11. Your bank account has taken a real hammering with registration fees for both you and your horse and early entries. You dare not look at the funds you now currently (don’t) have available.

    12. You brace yourself for that awful itchy feeling you get after clipping your horse, but are reassured by the fact this is the final time you will have to do it until the autumn.

    13. You can’t help but trawl the internet to look at cross-country course pictures of all the events you plan to do this season — it’s not quite the same as actually riding around them, but the virtual reality version will suffice for now.

    14. In a last-ditch attempt to maximise the chance of your horse going well you decide to join the gym and go on a juice diet — it’s all about the marginal gains according to the pros.

    15. Your times arrive for your first event. Your alarm clock will go off at 3am and you won’t be back home until way past dinner time, but it doesn’t matter because you’ve been waiting five months for this day!

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