If there is one thing that every event rider can relate to, it’s that combination of nerves and excitement and anticipation that comes in the form of pre-cross-country jitters. For some riders, that energy is best unleashed on the gallop out of the start box, while others need to find ways to unwind before they make their way out of the barn. We asked members of the USEA membership to chime in on their favorite pre-cross-country rituals that help them get ready to gallop across the country at each event.
Aiden S: “My mantra is ‘strong, capable, brave’ and I tell my horse over and over that I will not ask him to do anything that I don't think he can do.”
Caitlyn B: “I repeat to myself ‘inhale, exhale’ and always remind myself the most important thing is that both myself and my horse get home safe at the end of the day.”
Yeardly P: “I always say to myself, ‘you will have a clean safe ride.’ I also have a little pep talk to my horses and tell them the course and exactly what we are going to do at each jump.”
Taylor C: “I like to take a moment with my horse before getting on for any jumping phase, and trace Native American war paint symbols with my finger on my horse. Specifically: circle around the eye and nostril for enhanced senses, an arrow on the neck for victory, and zig-zag lines on the hind leg for speed. As I trace, I repeat what each symbol means to my horse. It’s a nice moment for us to take a breath and focus on our partnership before taking on a cross-country or jump course.”
Ashley E: “When I walk cross-country, I take pictures of each jump and primary landmarks between fences. Then I scroll through the photos and visualize how I'm going to ride each jump. This helps me develop and commit to a plan. I also have a "pump up" playlist full of upbeat songs to help me get in my groove.”
Ashley R: “During warm-up, I jump all but one. Then right before I head to the start box, I jump the one I didn’t so I can get a feel of how she will be with a ‘new’ jump.”
Laughter: the Best Medicine
Abby F: “I listen to “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan on repeat an unhealthy amount of times.”
Callia E: “‘Blast “Girls in the Hood,’ dry scoop pre-workout, and pull our tarot cards.”
Caroline B: “I always eat a bag of Welch’s fruit snacks while walking my course. Did it at my first show and have done it every time since!”
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has opened nominations for the annual appreciation awards through Oct. 29. This is an opportunity for the sport to recognize those horses and riders who excelled in eventing throughout the year. It is also an opportunity to recognize and honor the very important people who have served the sport tirelessly both in a non-riding capacity and riding capacity during their golden years.
Anticipation for the 2024 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship and inaugural USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL) Championship is growing, and the host venue, Stable View, is up for the task of making both events an unforgettable experience for all involved. For the first time, the Intercollegiate and IEL program championships will be hosted on the same weekend at the Stable View H.T. in Aiken, South Carolina, on May 4-5, 2024, creating greater unity between the programs and demonstrating a clear pipeline of participation in the sport from grade school through college and beyond.
The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has made five rule changes which will go into effect October 1, 2023. Familiarize yourself with these rule changes below to make sure you are in compliance before heading out for your next event.
With the goal of creating a pathway for young horses in the U.S. and participants of the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Program, earlier this year the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and USEA joined forces to launch the USEF/USEA Developing Horse Eventing National Championships for 6- and 7-year-olds.