Photography by Lorraine Porter
With the eventing season hotting up, we spoke to one of our amazing Ambassadors, Olympic eventer, Austin O'Connor for his top tips for success this summer..
Plan your competition day
Make a timetable covering from when you get up to when you get home. Have contingences in place for things that happen that are out of your control. Be flexible enough to cope with this.
At a competition don’t rush yourself or your horse
Careful planning will prevent this – the only things you can’t plan for are out of your control so that should be the only time you have to rush. You and your horse need to be in a calm frame of mind when you arrive so plan in extra time to allow for any minor delays.
Horses are individuals too
Each horse is different so plan the best warm-up for your horse and stick to it (within reason). Horses like familiarity and sticking to a familiar routine in the warm-up can really benefit nervous or young horses.
Don't be afraid to give your horse a mini-break (4 - 5 days off) occasionally after a block of say 4 - 5 events. It does the horses good to take a short break both mentally and physically, and at this time of year, you won't be losing fitness. They'll come back fresh and ready for their next lot of competitions.
Plan and prepare
Keep an eye on shoeing, saddle fit, vaccinations and physio sessions, you need to ensure you book in your farrier and your saddler to tend to your horse. Getting busy and neglecting all of these areas can have a negative impact on your performance and ultimately the welfare and comfort of your horse.