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The Voice of the Riders: The perfect show schedule – part one

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
The Voice of the Riders

Putting together a successful horse show is not a piece of cake. The organizers have a lot to balance and take into consideration. There is always the economic part that plays a big role, then the audience needs to get value for their ticket money – and most importantly is of course the welfare of the horses that needs to be put before anything else. Then there are the riders and the grooms, the latter a key-group at any equestrian event that show organizers sometimes seem to forget. Getting everything right is a challenge for any show organizer… In this part of our new series ”The Voice of the Riders”, World of Showjumping asked a few of the top names in the sport what they would prefer if they had a say on the time schedule. 

Daniel Deusser (GER):

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Daniel Deusser.

“What we riders prefer and what is good for the organizers are two different things. I would prefer to go to the show on a Friday morning, ride three horses on Friday and Saturday and two horses on Sunday and then go home. To ride the most horses in the shortest possible time – that would be ideal. If the schedule includes the possibility to bring a young horse to build up, it is nice and then the time spend at the show brings more. We travel so much and we need a lot of horses to keep up with the show calendar.

On the other hand, the organizers have many ideas on filling the schedule and to make it nice for the audience.

A bad schedule is when you don’t have enough horses and you spread the show over too many days, that is just a waste of time for us. Sometimes, if we only have one class a day then we lose one day in our program. With the flight schedule, sometimes we need to be away from home for five days to ride five classes.”

Scott Brash (GBR):

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Scott Brash.

“At the end of the day, it cannot just always be about what the riders want. Ok, yes – in the ideal world we would have one class after another and it would be better for us and our staff. But, we do have to understand as well that we have to be thankful to these organization committees for putting up all these events.

It has to work for them, and if it works for them that the big class starts at ten o’clock Friday night then so be it.

We have to put up with that; at the end of the day they are the ones putting up these lovely shows with fantastic prize money. So we have to work around that, it has to work for everyone.

That being said, there are some shows that could be a little bit more horse, rider and groom- friendly. However, I think it is difficult organizing a show – it is far from easy to get it right every weekend.”

Maikel van der Vleuten (NED):

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Maikel van der Vleuten.

“I understand that for the organization, the show needs to be paid and so they invite a lot of amateur riders which takes up a quite a bit of time. However, the organization also needs to think about the riders and especially the grooms because when there are classes at nine or ten in the evening the days get very long. I think that every Sunday the show should be finished at five or six o’clock.

The classes should in my opinion in general not finish later that seven or eight o’clock in the evening, because for the grooms you need to count at least two hours of work after every class. If we could start in the afternoon, say just after twelve o’clock and then have three classes right after each other – that should be possible. Then everyone would have enough time to ride their horses in the morning, but still finish the day at a decent time.

Of course the organization have more details to think about than only the schedule. That being said, I prefer the shows where I can bring at least three horses with. As riders we always need to think ahead and bring horses for the smaller classes to gather some experience. Bringing a young horse with is great, then you don’t get bored.

I think it is hard to make everyone happy, but the times should be kept a bit more realistic.”


Text © World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen // Pictures © Jenny Abrahamsson // No reproduction without permission

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