Taking my turn as an organiser not a competitor

So this weekend it was my turn to sit on the other side of the table as an organiser for my Riding Club spring dressage show.

Now I often get the impression that people believe events organise themselves and take little time so I thought I would give you an insight in to just what is required for what was a relatively small show never mind a full BE event. Firstly there is the preparation, organising a venue, volunteers, refreshments, setting up, taking entries, sorting times, risk assessments, collating rosettes, organising sheets, thank you present buying, organising judges and much much more which thankfully did not all fall upon my shoulders.

One of my main jobs was organising volunteers. For a dressage event only running two arenas we only required a small number especially as one judge was kindly bringing their own scribe but still trying to find people willing to give up 3 or 4 hours of their day was near nigh impossible. I spent a large proportion of last weekend calling approaching 100 members to either be faced with a ‘no’ or an answer phone. Yes a lot had valid excuses but a return call to messages would have been polite, no? At one point I was rather concerned we wouldn’t have enough helpers but slowly people trickled back to me saying yes. Events can’t run without volunteers and that includes BE. I needed only 8 to run the day, a BE event will realistically need nearly 10 times that for one day alone. If you don’t already volunteer maybe it’s time you considered doing so? If you can’t sacrifice a full day jump judging offer to scribe for a dressage judge instead which is my favourite volunteering role!

For the event itself thankfully we had perfect weather and ground which made my life a lot easier. During the day I took on a number of roles including scoring, stewarding, tea/coffee/cake runner, sheet runner, test caller, photographer, judge co-ordinator, direction giver and general question answerer! In other words I was running around all day and I think sat down for about 5 minutes total from start to finish. I’m not lying when I say I was running about either, especially at the end of the day when packing up I ran approaching a mile (in rather unsuitable boots may I add!) to collect a road sign rather than driving an addition number of miles down narrow country lanes with the RC trailer which also needed to be taken home!

I must thank my secretary who I couldn’t have run the event without. One evening last week we sat in the yard coffee room (we are liveries at the same yard) for a good couple of hours organising the times, which was challenging when we had several multiple riders including one with 3 horses! Nevermind all the other work she did which was invaluable. I must also thank the volunteers who did give up their time especially the judges who refreshingly I thought were all happy to use the full range of marks (one test ranged from a 2 to an 8!) and the competitors for being nice to us all day especially those that also said thank you!

My job organising hasn’t quite finished yet though with several smaller jobs this week to finish off.

At the end of the competition after packing up I did though head back to the yard and ride both horses who were both incredibly well behaved which left me feeling rather virtuous and left me with a fantastic pedometer reading of over 20,000 steps which will help fantastically with a challenge at work where we only need to do 11,000 a day!

Fingers crossed I’m taking Fleur down to Bicton this weekend for a second novice run. I’m slightly apprehensive about the waters as haven’t had a chance to go schooling again in the last couple of weeks and also have a slight over reach boot issue but she is going as well as she could at home and infact working better than ever post dentist and saddle reflock other than points below withstanding!

My over reach boot issue which I would love your suggestions on is that she is still suffering slightly from the mudfever she had a while back. The scabs have all but gone but the skin is still a bit sore in places. I always boot my horses if galloping and/or jumping having previously had a horse who destroyed over reach boots for fun! Yesterday I did some fast work and afterwards she scared me rigid pulling up 1 or 2 tenths lame but it became evident on removal of the boots when she then trotted up 100% that the over reach boot was irritating her.

Now I have various options for Bicton:
1) Don’t put an OR boot on that foot. This is my last resort option!
2) Smother the heel with vaseline under the OR boot.
3) Use a rubber OR boot instead of normal material non turn ones.
4) Something else! Your suggestions are welcomed.

She has also made me go a bit hmmm this evening as is sore behind her saddle, nothing to make her lame or unlevel but enough to be noticeable to paranoid little me but she is going to have a last minute visit tomorrow from Equine Sports Massage Therapist Sarah Curtis to enable me to make a yay or nay judgement for Saturday.


Looking smarter by the day!

Oki seems to have taken a bit of a back seat but is coming on nicely. Yes a little bit fresh when I rode her for the first time in a week (due to my back) in gale force winds but in comparison to almost all the older horses was impeccable in her behaviour. Hell some liveries just didn’t even bother getting on as they knew they wouldn’t get any productive work out of their horses!

I managed to collar a fellow livery to video a few minutes the other day and the below is the result. To prove she isn’t perfect (and that I haven’t edited out any bad bits!) she did pick up the wrong canter lead once, the only time that session typically, but immediately corrected. We now have very convincing leg yield in both walk and trot which is benefiting her other work no end. Once I sort my back out properly (nearly there but as you can see still wearing a back support) and shorten my reins she is just going to continue to get better and better and I can’t wait to find a little quiet first outing for her. (I’m still hunting for something suitable!)


Today’s haul of fluff!

Oki is also finally starting to lose the fluff although it’s coming off her bum faster than her front so she looks like a bit of a cut and shut job with nice summer coat one end fluff the other (see above!). I’ve been spending a lot of time grooming her and to the left you can see today’s haul with still lots of it to come. She is definitely starting to look far less mountain bog pony and far more proper smart little horse especially now she is building up muscle as well. I want more top line but the bum is rounding up nicely!


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  • Rather you than me – being membership sec of our rc for a few years was enough for me…

    On the OR boot question – I’d go with the looser fitting rubber ones, not ideal maybe but better than nothing. We may have the same dilemma this weekend as I’m not sure whether our mare’s OR boot rub will have healed in time either…

    • Thanks Fiona

      Currently 50/50 on whether will compete as although her treatment today has loosened her up fairly well she by this afternoon had quite a spasm going across the back muscles behind her saddle. Not sure how she did it, no doubt being silly in the field.

      Will be reassessing tomorrow to see how she is but if in doubt (and she will tell me 😉 ) we will leave it until another day as there is no point risking her if I’m not convinced she is 100%