7 key bits of advice for getting a young event horse out competing — plus 6 shows for you to get them going at

  • If you are lucky enough to have a horse in your possession who has never evented before, there are some key points to remember to ensure both of you make the most of your maiden voyage as a combination.

    Producing a young event horse is hugely exciting (for both of you!) and a privilege, but it is something you can rarely afford to get wrong. Here’s some helpful pointers from four-star event rider and producer of young horses, Georgie Strang (pictured), to get you on your way. Then, don’t miss our selection of great little shows, ideal for taking your young event horse to…

    1. Hire a dressage arena on grass beforehand. A 20x40m arena can feel very small, particularly on a young horse. It also gives your horse a chance to see white boards and work in an open space with no arena sides holding them in.

    2. Attend a few showjumping competitions to get your horse used to busy warm ups and see a variety of fillers.

    3. Know if your horse will stand on the horsebox by itself while you walk the course. Also check, if you are travelling with multiple horses, that the young horse is OK if he is left alone.

    4. Get out cross-country schooling to a variety of places to ensure your horse is confident with the different type of questions that come up at an event.

    5. Practice plaiting your horse up so he can get used to the feeling of having plaits in his mane.

    6. Have a practice doing studs at home and make sure the holes are cleaned out and ready to go on competition day. Then, if your horse is a bit excited when they first arrive at the event, you are already a step ahead.

    7. Get a clear plan in place for the day to avoid unnecessary rushing or stress, which can unsettle young horses.

    Now you’ve got that advice in mind, take a look at these low-key competitions available to enter where you can get your young horse off to a positive start…

    Unaffiliated dressage

    Date: 30 June
    Venue: Forest Edge Arena, Swaffham
    Details: “This show features a range of classes from introductory to elementary.”
    Enter now

    Eventers’ challenge

    Date: 30 June
    Venue: Priory Court Farm, Polegate
    Details: “This competition has classes from 60cm to 90cm where horses and riders complete a round of showjumps followed by a course of knock-down cross-country fences including two water complexes.”
    Enter now

    Summer showjumping

    Date: 30 June
    Venue: Mullacott Event Centre, Ilfracombe
    Details: “This event features a huge range of classes from 50cm to 105cm with a variety of qualifiers.”
    Enter now

    Combined training

    Date: 1 July
    Venue: Kingston Maurward College, Dorchester
    Details: “This event offers classes ranging from prelim to novice with the option of doing just pure dressage or combined training with showjumps ranging in height from 50cm to 90cm.”
    Enter now

    Unaffiliated one-day event on a surface

    Date: 1 July
    Venue: Tumpy Green Equestrian Centre, Cam
    Details: “This is ideal for those wanting to build confidence with all three disciplines held in contained areas, with lots of help and support available. Please note the size of showjumping and cross-country phases is the maximum for that class. Courses will include some jumps that are below that maximum. Heights range from mini lead rein and 40cm to 80cm, with most classes having junior and senior sections.”
    Enter now

    Cross-country clinic

    Date: 7 July
    Venue: Urchinwood Manor Riding and Event Centre,
    Details: “This clinic is with Andrew Lovell who has evented to advanced level as well as competing at prix st georges dressage. He is a BHS stage 5 performance coach and each session of this clinic will run for 1.5 hours and will be in groups of no more than five.”
    Enter now

    Visit equo.co.uk for full competition and training listings

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