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

Wednesday, 25 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 it all 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. 

Romain Duguet (SUI):

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Romain Duguet.

“I think the three-star show in Frankfurt illustrates what type of schedule is a catastrophe. The late classes in the evening are not a problem for me, but for the grooms the days get really long and it is not fair for them when they need to work all night and get up extremely early the next day. The organizers need to remember that the grooms have to drive home after the show, so after a long weekend with little sleep 500-600 kilometres to drive is really hard. I think this is something that the organizers are not thinking about.

I like it when there is not too much time in between the classes, I don’t care to start early or finish late but when we spend twelve hours at a show to ride two classes it gets really boring. Three horses plus one young horse is the ideal number for me; then you feel like you are doing a good job and also preparing for the future.”

Marco Kutscher (GER):

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Marco Kutscher.

“My ideal show starts on a Friday at lunch time, there are three classes in a row and on Saturday also three classes. On a Sunday there would only be two classes, maybe three if it possible. With all the shows we have – the number of shows being held nowadays is much bigger than it used to be – there is so much travelling involved and we spend a lot of time away from home. Very often at shows there is a lot of time in between the classes and we just hang around doing nothing. I think the organizers sometimes should think about maybe shortening the programs.

Three horses is a good number to have with at the shows.

The main problem is the evenings at the indoor shows, when it easily gets very late. For the grooms it is really hard, because they need to get up early the next day and often there is not enough time to ride the horses proper in the mornings.

I would suggest to shorten the program for many shows; we could get the same amount of classes done in fewer days.”

Henrik von Eckermann (SWE):

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Henrik von Eckermann.

“For me it does not matter if the classes are in the morning or in the evening, what matters more is that once we start, we should keep going. Not that we have one class at nine in the morning and another one at nine in the evening. If this is the case, there is a lot of time lost in between and the grooms will have a very long day. If the classes start late at night, the grooms are not getting any sleep; they need to work long after the last class is finished. The grooms need a chance to have a normal day and normal amount of sleep.

If I could choose, a show would start on a Friday at lunch time and there would be three classes. I would take three horses, even better would be three horses and a youngster. Being able to ride three horses every day, is the nicest. Of course the organizers have many details to think about and I have full respect for the difficult job they are doing.

If I would organize a show, I would put the main class on a Saturday evening – like for example in Bordeaux where the World Cup is on the Saturday. On a Sunday everyone is already hurrying home, so to have the main highlight of the show on a Saturday evening should be better for everyone – for the riders, for the audience and for the organizers also. I think it would also be better for the audience to start the shows later in the day, to have nice classes in the evening when people are done working.”


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

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