I might not be the best rider in the world, but when it comes to competing, I am organised. Knowing everything is organised and I can find what I need when I need it, helps calm my nerves, and the day runs much more smoothly too.
My top tips for being (and staying organised) before, during and after a One Day Event:
- Make a list. I have a ‘One Day Event Packing Checklist’ that I use to pack up the car and trailer the day before the event.
- Check it twice. Once the horse is loaded and I am ready to buckle my seat belt, I will do one more run-through the list to make sure I have everything I need.
- Pack by phase. Everything is packed into the car in separate clear boxes (like this), by phase, in the order that I will be needing them in – I have a Dressage, Showjumping and Cross-Country box, and everything is stacked in the boxes so that I can take them out in the exact order I need them.
- And again, do more lists. I have tacksheets by phase which I run-through to make sure I have everything I need (or don’t need, e.g. martingales in the dressage!) for each phase.
- Leave it how you’d like to find it. I know when you’re finished each phase it’s a pain to put everything back and stay organised, but often you will have a wait between classes, or time at the end of your day to wait around for results, so make sure to re-organise your stuff back into the boxes, or into bags for washing at the end of the day. I like to separate the ‘washables’ from the ‘can just be packed away immediately’ items into separate boxes or bags in the car.
- Prepare for the aftermath before you mount. There is nothing worse than coming back from XC with a sweaty horse and trying to faff about pouring water into buckets or find your spanner, or tack up an excitable horse for showjumping after dressage. Before you mount for whatever phase you’re headed into, set everything up ready to go for when you return so you can dismount and launch straight into prep or cool down.
- Unpack & organise at home carefully. I have competition boots in a separate bag in my tack box so I can pick the bag up and chuck it straight into the car. I do the same with my competition grooming kit, and travel gear. It makes it easier to find stuff on a day to day basis, and also to pack the car quickly – a must when I am so busy!
I have attached a One Day Event Packing Checklist and a One Day Event Tacksheet Checklist by Phase for you to download and print out for your next show. Just click on the links below to view the PDFs.