In the latest instalment of Ask WOW Saddles sponsored rider Francis Whittington, he answers a Facebook fan’s question about making it as an eventer…
Q. I know there is no easy way….but as a teenager starting out eventing what is the quickest and easiest route to take to become a professional (I know it will take many years) is it about right place, talent, dedication, social connections? This is what my daughter would like to do as a career after gcse, what would you advise how to start?
A. You are right, there is no easy or quick route to success in Eventing, it takes hard work, time, dedication, motivation and perseverance! In my opinion it is very important to learn your trade at the lower levels and then build and develop confidence in your own ability while learning and gaining experience from as many people as you can.
In order to succeed it is important to have a plan and structure to your training, the earlier you can get this, the quicker success will come. There are no shortcuts! Learn your management and horse care through the Pony Club, which is a fantastic institution, and basing yourself with a a rider is also advised, just choose the right rider.
Obviously the type of horse you have depends on your finances but if you can get in the habit of producing and selling early in a horse’s career you can set up your horse power from there. There is no harm to having a second string to your bow but if you really want to make a profession in Eventing then you have to commit to it. Good luck!
If you have a question you want to ask Francis, comment on this post or send us a message on Facebook and we will get him to answer in next month’s blog!
Is road work as important these days with the short format?
Francis says… In short the answer to this question is yes, roadwork is hugely important despite not running over roads and tracks anymore. I believe it is as important now as it was then. There was a belief that fitness levels would change with the demise of long format however roadwork is equally vital and I do a huge amount of it throughout the season. Even over the short format horses still need to be at the peak of their fitness and as athletic as they would have been before.
The key to utilising roadwork, as an old boy once told me, is to ‘walk fast and trot slow,’ and this is an ethos I still adhere to. I am very fortunate that I have a lot of hills around my yard so we trot the horses slowly up them. All of my team hack around 3 times a week on the roads, the older horses go for longer hacks as well as their canter work and I believe it really helps to tone their legs. It is not necessary to trot for miles and miles just steady trot work and this helps chill them out and unwind. Not only is hacking on the roads a useful preparatory tool prior to the start of the season, but it also helps keep the horses focused and fit throughout the year.