Conquering that Daunting Debut at HOYS

In the run up to HOYS it is important to be as prepared as you can be without turning yourself and everyone around you into a nervous wreck!

The main aim is to be confident in the ring and to know exactly where you need to be at the show, when you need to be there and what will be required from you on the day. 

This is obviously where forward planning comes in and also having someone with you who has competed at HOYS before is great for confidence.

Without doubt it is a big occasion and the nerves are bound to be on overdrive as the day draws near.

There is such a build up to the event and it can be very overwhelming for any rider whatever their age and experience, and then it is over in a flash and can be very disappointing if you don’t come home with a rosette.

The hype and atmosphere there is amazing and to be able to enjoy the buzz and the feeling should be a very good experience for both horse and rider. The showing arena has an electric feel and is often very busy with all the horses and riders converging for their classes.

I try to look at it as a celebration and ensure any riders we are helping thoroughly enjoy the day rather than worry about winning or not. As long as the horse or pony goes nicely and looks well we will all be pleased, hoping that it is a positive experience for everyone.

In preparation we would always run through the day at home and visit an indoor arena but the horses and ponies keep to a variety of work including time in the field, ensuring the work load is as normal as possible.

My job on the day is to ensure that horse and rider enjoys the occasion and is ready for the ring. It is such an exciting event and often the first time can be very disappointing.

Once you hit the collecting ring you are quickly into the ring as soon as they are ready so keeping yourself calm and relaxed is essential for ensuring your horse or pony is stress free and ready to show themselves off at their best.


Jo’s favourite saddle

Jo rides all her horses in the Classic Show Saddle from Black Country Saddles.

Says Jo: “Without doubt the secret of a good saddle for showing is that when you sit on it for the first time it should be fabulously comfortable and after that you should never think about it again.

“A saddle should mould around the horse and provide a very close contact that allows you to sit into the horse and really feel their movement and what is going on underneath you.”