Friday’s Five – Tips to compete successfully at a CCI event


Friday’s Five – Tips to compete successfully at a CCI event

Competing at a CCI is a huge accomplishment in itself. By the time you make it to a CCI you have spent countless hours in the saddle training and have probably shed some blood, sweat, and tears on your journey to this riding milestone. CCI events are a true test of a horse’s fitness because the cross-country courses are more challenging and longer than at horse trials or CIC events. And let’s not forget that a top placing at a CCI makes for serious bragging rights and many events at this level now feature a healthy amount of prize money. There are few opportunities to compete at a CCI because there are not many on the calendar and they take a good deal out of your horse so you cannot compete at event-after-event at this level. Make sure you are ready to deliver a top-notch  performance at your next CCI with these tips for success: 

1) Arrive with a raging fit horse: There is no worse feeling than riding a tired horse on cross-country and still having several fences left to jump. When this happens, you need to slow down to give your horse extra time to balance and catch its breath or else you risk having a fall or a refusal. If you can feel your horse is too tired to jump safely even if you slow down, you will need to do the responsible thing and retire. Never underestimate how much more fit your horse needs to be to finish a CCI event healthy and sound than a regular horse trial. An extra few seconds of time can make a MASSIVE difference. Use this helpful advice from the Canadian Team Coach, Clayton Fredericks, to ensure your horse’s fitness work is up to snuff for a CCI event.

2) Jog your horse like a pro at the horse inspections: You will be required to jog your horse up in front of the Ground Jury twice: once before dressage and again after cross-country but before show jumping. These jog ups are to ensure that all horses are fit and sound to compete. However, having a horse that is a hundred-percent sound does not guarantee you will be ‘accepted’ and able to show. Countless sound horses have been ‘spun’ at jog ups because of poor presentation. You also want to look professional at these horse inspections to make a good impression on your peers and the event officials. Master the art of jogging up horses at events with these handy tips.



3) Win the ‘best turned out’ award: Some events actually do award a ‘best turned out’ prize but even at the events that do not offer this you still want your horse to look ready for the Olympics. If you want to be a winner you should look the part. Michael Jung never rides down centreline on a poorly turned out horse. Take your grooming game to the next level with these expert turnout tips.

4) Memorize every detail about your cross-country course: The key to a good cross-country run is knowing your course inside and out. It is important that you have every little detail about the course burned into your memory so you are ready to show it who’s boss. MINUTE MARKERS are something you must know. On CCI courses it is easy to start off too quickly, getting ahead of your minute markers but by the end of the course, your horse will have nothing left in its tank. You need to know the striding of numerous combinations and some may have black flag options that you should also know in case you need to take one. Between minute markers, striding and options there is a ton you need to remember. Make your life a thousand times easier by downloading this AMAZING app so you can study your cross-country course like you mean it.

5) Prepare for cool down: After you gallop through the finish flags, completing cross-country, it is time to cool your hard working mount down. At CCI events there will be a team of vets at the cooldown area monitoring your horse’s vitals to ensure it cools down well before it heads back to the stables. You need to have the right supplies on hand so you can start your horse’s recovery the moment you dismount. Remember to have these things at the finish so your horse can have the best cooldown possible.

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