May 24, 2022

Tips for Successful Haul-In Schooling

USEA/ Meagan DeLisle photo

The following is provided through a partnership between STRIDER and the USEA. As part of our commitment to diversity, enabling access, and building capacity throughout the industry we are pleased to provide this content to benefit the sport of eventing.

You’ve likely spent some time scouring the USEA Calendar to line up your 2022 competition schedule. Now that spring has sprung, it’s time to plan some cross-country schooling outings to make sure you and your horse are as ready as possible. If you own or manage a facility that welcomes guests for haul-in schooling, you’ve likely noticed horses and their humans showing up in droves to get their practice in. A successful off-site schooling day has many, many moving parts. From paperwork and payment to safety, these best practices for hosts and guests will help everything go as smoothly as possible.

Get the “Paperwork” Done before Schooling Day

Typically, riders need to a) sign a waiver, b) provide proof of negative Coggins and/ or equine vaccination records, c) provide payment, and d) select a time to school. Being a great guest at a schooling venue often means taking care of as many of these steps as possible before you unload your horse.

Many venues now offer online booking for haul-in schooling which cuts down on a lot of back-and-forth to save time for riders and facility managers.

Guest Tip: Pre-pay for schooling and pre-sign any waivers before unloading your horse. And just in case, keep a copy of your horse’s negative Coggins and vaccination records on your phone- you never know when it might come in handy!

Host Tip: Whatever your process for schooling sign-ups, make it easy to find and easy to follow. Outline exactly what you need from visitors and how they should provide it on your website. Take time to answer any frequently asked questions, outline your policies for cancellations, etc., and provide maps.

Don’t Forget the Basics

Pack a first-aid kit, bring a buddy (or better yet, your trainer), and don’t forget plenty of water for your horse and for yourself.

Guest Tip: Be sure to clean up after yourself and your horse in parking areas, wash racks (if they’re made available), etc.

Host Tip: Let your guests know if water is available for use before they arrive, and be sure to provide day-of contact information in case of an emergency.

Have Fun & Be Safe!

After all that preparation is complete, it’s time to have a little fun schooling. Remember to keep safety first and be respectful of any areas that are off-limits at the schooling venue.

Guest Tip: When in doubt, just ask! You should have a point of contact for the venue, so if there are any questions the day of, be sure to reach out.

Host Tip: Clearly communicate where visitors should park and if any areas are closed/ off-limits to guests. You can invest in some signage like these customizable yard signs to save your team from having to police the parking lot and reinforce any of your prior conversations with guests.

As with most horse-related activities, preparation and communication are key for successful haul-in schooling ventures. Streamlined bookings and clearly outlined policies can help to eliminate a lot of day-of confusion and stress for all involved. Whether you’re welcoming folks to your facility or hitting the road with your horse this summer, have a great season!

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