Ask the Expert: Celia Thomas
Although it feels like only yesterday that the show season ended, we are already gearing up for the 2018 season! I have been asked to discuss warm-up ring safety and protocols as well as checking in with the people who run the back gate at shows.
When you first arrive at the show, you and your horse will be coming to the show ring to practice over the jumps and get a feel for the ring. This is perhaps the scariest part of your day, but it need not be if everyone works together! Remember, you are NOT the only one in the ring and it is your responsibility to be aware of everyone around you.
Now is not the time to be a mouse, you must use your biggest outdoor voice and call your jumps ( ask your trainer if you are unsure what that means!), alert other riders of your intended path and watch for cross traffic! Always keep one ear open to your trainer and the other listening for other riders. Everyone does not have to be in the ring at one once, be safe, take turns and be efficient with your time in the ring. Jump your jumps and leave the arena, it is not social hour!
Next is checking in with the back gate person. Just because you have picked up your number from the office does not mean you are checked in to ride! Ask your trainer when they would like you to show and then come see the back gate so that they may get you on the list. You will be placed in a rotation of riders consisting of three to four people. For example, if there are 12 people in your division, there may be four rotations of three riders each. Ask the gate how many trips are ahead of you, multiply that number by two (the average number of minutes per trip) and that will give you a rough idea of how long until you show. Keep an eye on the schedule and keep checking in with the gate person.
When you come into the warm-up ring to prepare for your class, the same rules apply as the morning practice. Eyes and ears open, call your jumps and whether you want the inside or outside track. Safety first at all times, and please remember you and your trainer do not own the warm-up jump.
Sharing is a good thing!
Last but not least, be nice to your back gate person. Their job is to keep the ring moving, and to make the day go as smoothly as possible. Help them help you by getting to the ring on time or by communicating any delays you may encounter. Your course has been posted since early morning, know your course before you get to the in-gate!
Need help? Just ask, we all want you to have a successful day!
Now, tighten those chinstraps and I will see you at the shows!