So we’ve finally made it to the Australian 3 Day Event…well almost. We’re about half way through our nine hour drive as I write this blog post. You know you’re in the country when you’ve seen more tractors than cars in the last hour!
We’ve had a surprisingly smooth final lead up to Adelaide with Bentley. His fitness is spot on, his coat and condition are exactly where I’d hoped they would be and he really seems to be enjoying his work at the moment. We had our final run in the 3* at Albury the other week over a tough course so all systems are go for what is hopefully a strong performance this week.
I’m also grateful to have been given the opportunity to ride Spider in the Stuart Tinney Cross Country Masterclass on Saturday 4:30-5:15pm in the Main Arena, so he’s coming along with Bentley for the experience.
Following the masterclass I’ll be heading over to the Horseland Trade Stand for a meet & greet if anyone wants to come and say hello.
Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has sent through questions for me to answer in my blog through my social media. I’ll do my best to combine the most common questions into some answers here.
We had a heap of questions around nerves, particularly nerves in the warm up. This is something I’ve battled with my entire career so if it’s something that you’ve grappled with then don’t worry, you’re not the only one! The difficulty is that although you learn to cope with them better as your career progresses, the pressure at a big event like Adelaide only magnifies what you’re already dealing with. The most effective strategy I’ve found is this – make an imperfect plan! I used to get the most stressed when things would go wrong or I would start to feel physically nervous. But the fact is, I’ve never competed in an event where everything has gone perfectly according to plan or I haven’t felt nervous. So providing I make it part of my plan, then when it does happen, everything is still going according to plan and I don’t get so stressed!
We had some more questions about what we would do different for an important event like Adelaide that we wouldn’t normally do. One of the things that springs to mind is to work with your farrier a few months out to make sure that the shoeing cycle your horse is on doesn’t clash with the event. Ideally, if you can work it so that your horse is seen a week out from the event then you’ll have nice, tight shoes without cutting it too fine. The length of travel is a consideration too. We prefer to do the whole trip in one go as not to risk unloading the horses in a strange area half way that may not be properly fenced should one of them get away from you. But a long trip does take a bit out of them physically, so we make sure that we preload each horse with vitamin & mineral, amino acid & electrolyte paste we make up with supplements from Hi Form, which we find really helps.
For Bentley we usually do our last gallop the weekend before the event. He’s naturally a fit horse being 70% thoroughbred so we don’t need to put in the miles like some of the heavier warmbloods. Some people do have their final gallop three days out from cross country day though, to use up older red blood cells & ensure that the horse’s spleen has a full stock of new, healthy cells to use as they’re coming out of the start box.
Finally, we had some questions about how you qualify for Adelaide. I can’t deny, it’s really confusing!! Next year the FEI is implementing a new grading system which hopefully should make it easier to understand, but for now, I’ll try to explain is as clearly as I can.
In FEI Eventing, there are essentially two different types of competitions. Events that have a long cross country course (CCI) and events with a short cross country course (CIC). The 2* and 4* class at Adelaide are long courses and the 3* class is a short course. If you want to compete in the 2* class which is a long course, you’ll need to have completed two short 2*’s and one long 1*.
If you complete the 2* at Adelaide, you’d then be qualified to do the 3* level at Adelaide the following year.
The 4* is much harder where you have to have completed two long 3*’s & three short 3*’s.
All of these qualifying runs need to be achieved with minimum dressage score, show jumping and cross country faults. Simply finishing the event isn’t enough!
We’re only an hour away from Adelaide now & I can’t wait to check out the course. I’ll be posting regularly on my Facebook and Instagram pages throughout the event for anyone who wants to see this fantastic event from the inside out!