CROSS-COUNTRY RIDING - Prepare and stay safe

Cross- Country competitions have rules and regulations in place at all levels, minimising the risks to both horse and rider. There are a number of considerations that you should implement in your preparation.
 cross country fences 521331eaa497f
The correct standard safety equipment for the rider is essential
  • A currently approved skull cap.
  • Fitted, comfortable body protector (with or without shoulder pads) must not restrict the rider's movement.
  • Completed medical card including blood group, allergies and relevant medical conditions.
  • Appropriate rider insurance through a recognised club or association.
An unfit rider is a hindrance to the horse, loss of physical strength can cause the rider to hang on to the reins to keep balanced. Riders that continually alter their riding position will also un-balance the horse and disrupt their rhythm, loss of focus and confidence and may even result in a run-out, refusal or a fall. It is therefore imperative that both horse and rider are equally fit for the level at which they compete. (horse fitness read more)
Walk the course  
Prior to every event arrange to walk the course with an experienced trainer or rider to make sure you receive sensible and relevant advice, It is very important that you correctly measure distances between combination fences and learn all optional routes-once you decide on the route you will take and stick to it. Mixed messages and indecision whilst out on the course will reduce your ability to react and confuse the horse.  

Always consider and check the following: 
  • Suitability of the fences and distance of course in relation to you and your horse's ability.
  • Ground condition  - hard ground can create more strain for tendons - soft, muddy conditions will make it tiring
    and increase chances of over reach's and pulled muscles and tendons - awareness of slippery surfaces, can they be avoided?
  • Check the depth of any water complex and the soundest route through.
  • Any overhead branches or changes in light that may distract the horses view.
  • Facilities in the warm up area, suitable variation of practice fences, cool off areas, general layout of event to avoid
    being rushed or panicked on the day of attending your class. 
  • Availability of first aid for the horse and rider and a vets contact number.
Thorough preparation will minimise the risk factor and help make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable for both the rider and the horse 
More related horse jumping tips and exercises click here