Things I learned from… My First One Day Event

Having just done my first ODE on Paddy, and having done a few ODEs on my last horse, Betsey, I have learned a few things along the way – I also chatted to the good people of #twittereventing to get their ‘first timer’ tips too. Enjoy!

  1. Expect to get up at ridiculous o’clock – even if you have a ‘late’ dressage time.
  2. If you think you have enough time, think again – plan in an extra half an hour for a toilet run, coffee break, or something else!
  3. You will always need more hay than you have packed. Bring more.
  4. Most of this hay will end up on the floor of the trailer.
  5. Water. ALL the water, for horses and humans. You will ALWAYS need more than you will take…
  6. You will need to bring a lot of stuff with you – make a list and pack things in boxes by phase, in the order that you’ll need them in.
  7. You will still forget something from your list – make sure its nothing expensive that you cant buy in the tack van!
  8. Print off times on A4 and stick to door, have a clock or watch handy.
  9. Bring lots of clothes. It’s a long day and feels even longer if you or helpers are cold and wet. Make sure you have spares. In the unusual event of nice weather, you will sweat loads so will need lots of fresh tops.
  10. Pack deodorant for an in-between phase spray, a magazine in case you are in the prizes and have a 4 hour wait till prize giving, blanket, pillow, flask and sweeties in case the magazine is boring and you have a little kip.
  11. Pack a hair brush (for you!) – nothing like prize giving looking like you were dragged through the hedge you actually jumped clear over.
  12. If you’re trying to eat healthy, bring your own food. A chip van and lots of coffee will be all you’ll have to eat or drink all day. And on that note – don’t forget to eat!
  13. Eventing folk are very friendly and helpful – they will lend you something if you have forgotten it, or give you advice!
  14. Bring a spare copy of your dressage test in jods pocket in case you have brain failure 5 mins before entering at A.
  15. You say you don’t want to know your dressage score before the SJ or XC, but you do. And you’ll check the board. Multiple times.
  16. When walking the course look for things other than the fences that could cause a spook, change of surface etc
  17. You will be very confused about how long to warm up for each phase – is it too long? Too short? Is he sharp enough? Is he going to kill me?
  18. SJ warmup – 1 x cross, 1 x upright 2 x oxers & I leave it at that. No need to over jump when he’s faced with another 30+ to go.
  19. XC warm up – throw up before you get in there, not during.
  20. Despite having cleaned, tapped and plugged your stud holes the night before, you will still end up cleaning and tapping at least one stud hole the day of the competition.
  21. “All the gear and no idea” –  having the gear that people much higher up the levels have, makes me feel better about my ‘lacking abilities’.
  22. If you wear lenses, take a spare pair AND your glasses with you, in case one gets knocked out or damaged.
  23. Make note of where the photographers are so you don’t look like you’re crapping it over what would have otherwise been a nice photo
  24. Cigarettes. Even if you don’t smoke…..
  25. HAVE FUN and do every phase with a smile!

Natalie xo

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