Getting ready for your first FEI

No matter who you are, doing your first FEI is a big deal! It’s something you have worked towards for a long time and once you have decided to do one it takes a lot of prep time. Here are a few tips to make sure you and your horse are ready for the big day.

  • Make sure you know if you have a jog. Jogs can be stressful, if you are doing a CCI-L you will have two formal jogs one the day before dressage and one in the morning before showjumping. If you are doing a CCI-S you most likely will not have any formal jogs but that is not always the case so make sure you check the schedule the event coordinators have released. Make sure you can run in the outfit that you are choosing. Also have a backup outfit you never know what might happen and you need to wear something else.

Make sure you have your horse fit. Your horse should already be in good shape since you are doing prelim but a CCI 2** is longer and will take a bit more endurance for your horse to do. Talk to your trainer about the fitness program for your horse and maybe consider putting them on Equi-Builder to help with this.

  • Have someone take a bag down to cross country warm up for you that has an extra set of shoes for your horse, the supplies to pack a hoof and an extra air canister if you are wearing an air vest. You always want to have an extra set of shoes in case one comes off in warm up, that way you have a quick fix.
  • The vet box moves fast, you get in there and have people trying to check your horse. You need to get the tack off and start sponging them down. It’s important that you know who is going to be in the vet box for you and one of them needs to have your halter. You need to set up your vet box before going up to xc making sure you have your buckets, sponges and sweat scrapers. Know where this stuff is so you can get to your stuff quickly and start cooling your horse out.
  • We all know our horses are subject to being drug tested and the list they test for is long. When you go to an FEI the rules and time your horse needs to be off drugs can be different from non-FEI events. Talk to your vet and trainer, they should know if there is anything you need to take your horse off of before the event. Another great resource is the FEI CleanSport app, you can type in the drug and the dosage and it will tell you everything you need to know.
  • Once you start doing events at the FEI level you, the rider,  are subject to random drug tests. The list of prohibited drugs is long and you need to make sure anything you take is not on that list. If there is a medication that is prescribed by your doctor that you need to be on but is also a prohibited substance there is a way for you to legally take the medication. The athlete must apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). This would allow the athlete to use the prescribed substance if and when the TUE is granted. The TUE application must be submitted to the FEI 30 days before the start of an FEI event and even then, it might not be granted in time. The TUE application and more information can be found here.