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How To Behave At Events

Of course “well” is the obvious answer, but stress sometimes gets to some people, shall we say?!

A couple of season ago I was wending my way through the lorry park at a big event, looking for a friend’s lorry. I happened to walk beside Ruth Edge’s lorry, and I got a big positive lesson in how to behave at events! There were lots of horses tied up along the side in various stages of tacked-up-ness, I have no idea how many Ruth was riding that day. A groom led a horse to her, tacked up for dressage, she was all ready to get on, and she looked it over and then very calmly said words along the lines of “Okay, he’s got totally the wrong bridle on, he needs such and such bit, and noseband, and also ____ ” (about the saddle or the boots, I can’t remember exactly.)
She was very polite, totally calm, and just said it very nicely. Maybe the groom (or WP) was new, but most importantly it genuinely sounded as if Ruth wasn’t upset or angered by it at all – it was just a minor problem that needed fixing and then everything would be perfect again… and the groom wasn’t chastened, she was just told very nicely how to sort it.
Considering the utter temper tantrums I have witnessed over the years (oh okay, and maybe performed a couple myself when I was a teenager, my poor mother…! but no excuses) this was an absolute revelation. I remember thinking “no wonder she’s so great at dressage with a temperament like that!” Maybe all great riders are like that, and that’s what sets them apart from amateurs who let their emotions get the better of them?! Who knows…?!

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