Why you need to be a true Eventing fan if you ever want to be a successful eventer
Eventing is not a mainstream sport. If you tell non-horsey people that you are an eventer chances are they will think that you plan events or just look at you with a confused expression. Eventing is not broadcast on television channels on a regular basis like hockey, football and tennis. Unless you are an equestrian or have an equestrian in the family, odds are you will never have heard of Eventing. Since Eventing is not a popular sport amongst the general public, top eventers don’t reap big salaries and worldwide fame like the top players in other sports. However, this is a whole other separate issue with our sport.
Flashback to 12 years ago in 2006 when I just started Eventing… I was obsessed with the sport and the only way I could watch the top events was by purchasing videos at the local tack shop and watching them again and again in my living room. I literally watched Lucinda Fredericks and Headley Britania win Rolex no shorter than 92 times, my poor parents. Luckily, now, we are blessed with live streams of various events around the world that are easy to watch on our phones, laptops, etc. But I have realized something – not every eventer (even those junior riders who claim they have CCI4* ambitions) tune in and watch the readily available live streams. I don’t understand this. How can claim to be a dedicated member of a sport yet not watch the elite athletes in action?
I grew up in a small town where every male and most females were obsessed with hockey. Almost every boy in my elementary school and even high school played hockey on some team or another. And all of these boys watched every NHL game possible. They were true fans of their sport. Eventers need to take note of this and become real fans of our sport.
How dare you dream of riding around three and four-star events but not even spend any time watching the action from these events at every chance possible. Watching the elites in your sport compete is the best possible way to learn. Watching live streams from top events gives you the FREE chance to learn endless amounts of information. These are just a few examples of the things watching a live stream from an even can teach you:
- Where the top horses started out. Listening to the announcers will fill you in on the types of horses competing at these events and snippets of their history, including how their riders found them. This is useful if you ever plan on finding a top horse.
- What modern courses look like at the top of your sport. Right now, you probably aren’t capable of tackling a CCI4* cross-country course. But seeing what types of jumps are on these courses will give you a clearer idea of what type of exercises you should be practicing.
- How to ride various types of fences appropriately. Observe how the riders and horses are jumping each type of fence. Take a mental note of what happens when a duo clears a combination perfectly and when they don’t. You will start to notice patterns. People who approach the coffin complex to quickly are unsuccessful, those who spare more time setting up make it look effortless. There is so much strategy behind cross-country riding and watching it in aMove to Trashction at the top levels will help you ride better regardless of what level you are currently competing at.
- Who the up-and-coming riders are and how they got there. Watching the live streams will alert you to some exciting riders in our sport. They might not be winning these events but they are young and showing heaps of promise. The announcers tend to talk a lot about these riders and you will learn who they train with and other important bits of their background. This information is invaluable because it will give you insight to how you can eventually become one of these riders… Also, a great way to scout out your future competition 😉
So this year, make it your mission to watch as much live stream footage as your schedule reasonably allows for.This year will be the third year that the Event Rider Masters series has taken place and they do a stellar job providing free live streams from their events. Make sure you set the time aside to watch these events this season. You don’t need to skip your riding lessons to tune into live streams. But instead of binge watching that new series on Netflix, spend your time being a true Eventing fan. Not only will you be supporting your sport but you will also be learning invaluable lessons and information.