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!”
Being spontaneous has paid off for Kevin Keane and Sportsfield Candy. “I bought him on a Wednesday and showed him on a Thursday,” Keane recalls about his first event with his Irish Sport Horse gelding, then 9 years old, at Plantation Field Horse Trials (Unionville, Pennsylvania) in September 2016. “I owned him for part of a day, and the next morning I showed up at a CCI and jogged him up for a two-star, and we went clean and clean and clean.”
THANK YOU to everyone who has already entered the USEF/USEA Recognized CDCTA Spring Horse Trials scheduled for Sunday, April 9 in Berryville, VA. We will continue to take late entries through Friday, March 24 using USEA’s Xentry system. If you still want to come compete, please enter! The late fee has been waived through Friday, March 24.
The U.S. Equestrian Federation announces the appointment of long-term US Equestrian employee Hallye Griffin as Director of FEI Sport. Griffin will assume the duties of former Director of FEI/High-Performance Sport, Graeme Thom, who has chosen to step away from his role to attend to personal matters.
The United States Eventing Association, Inc. (USEA) is thrilled to announce that Sidelines Magazine will not only be returning as a “Media Partner of U.S. Eventing,” but they will also be supporting the Association as a “Contributing Level Sponsor of the USEA Emerging Athletes U21 Program” and a “Prize Level Sponsor of the USEA American Eventing Championships.” Sidelines Magazine will give the USEA additional promotion and exposure through their printed and digital media products, while also providing prizes for participants at the AEC and EA21 clinics.