How to enter a horse trials?

1. MEMBERSHIP CARDS

HTC-Q : You must be a current member of the HTC-Q, either junior, senior or as a family (2 juniors and 2 seniors). The membership form can be found on the HTC-Q website.

EQUINE CANADA : You must have an Equine Canada (EC) sport license. You’ll have the choice of Bronze (Entry & Pre-Training levels), Silver (Training level), Gold (Preliminary, Intermediate & Advanced levels) or Platinum (FEI competitions). In addition to your sport license, you must check the box beside “Affiliate with Canadian Eventing” (20$ supplement) in order to get your omnibus. You can buy or renew online or print the form on the Equine Canada website.

HORSE PASSPORT : Every horse competing at the Training level and up must have an Equine Canada Passport. As with the membership card, this can be done online or you can print the form on the Equine Canada website. To order a horse passport, you will need a copy of the horse’s registration papers (or a declaration that the horse is not registered), a proof of ownership and a color picture of the horse, from the side, untacked.

CHEVAL QUÉBEC (formerly Fédération Équestre du Québec) : You must be a member of Cheval Québec as a junior, senior or family. You can buy or renew online (and save 2$) or print the form on the Cheval Quebec website.

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Once you receive your omnibus you can decide which events you want to attend and you will have all the informations required to enter it.

Don’t forget to pay attention to the opening and closing date of each show you plan to attend, your entry must be received between those dates.

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2. ENTRY FORMS

SHOW ENTRY FORM

Fill out all the show relative information based on the omnibus, then fill out the rider and horse section. The horse owner information must be filled out as well.

EC SL/-CE # : Your Equine Canada Sport License number

Prov #. : Your Cheval Québec (FEQ) number

PHTA # : Your HTC-Q number

FEI reg. number isn’t required unless it is a FEI competition.

You must always fill the qualification section, no matter what level you are entering!

Don’t forget to fill out the fees section on the right upper corner. Write your checks to the good person and don’t write postdated checks!

STABLING FORM 

You only need to fill one if you wish to have a stall at the show. If you request a tack stall, you will usually need to pay for a second stall.

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3. SENDING YOUR ENTRY

You must send your entry to the show secretary (not the organizer, unless stated otherwise). Make sure you send the following as well :

-Check(s) (enter your horse name and yours on it to avoid any confusion)

-COPY of your horse coggins (less than a year or 6 months old, depending on the show)

-Copy of all your membership cards

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FOR CANADIAN RIDERS COMPETING IN THE UNITED STATES

You must be a member of the USEA (US Eventing Association) and your horse must be registered with the USEA as well.  It is a lifetime registration for the horse. You can choose the Limited Status (up to Training level) or the Full Status (Preliminary and up).

If you are competing at the Preliminary level and up, you must also be a member of the USEF (US Equestrian Federation).

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In a future article, we will discuss how to enter a FEI competition.

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Five Points to Check for Proper Saddle Fit

  1. Balance

Place the saddle (without a saddle pad and without irons) over the withers and slide it back behind the shoulder blade. On a dressage saddle, the cantle should be a little higher than the pommel, on a jump saddle it should be even.

Use a pencil and place it on the seat. On a balanced saddle the pencil should stay in the center of the seat. If it rolls too far forward, the pommel is too low and if it rolls backwards, the pommel is too high.

  1. Wither Clearance

You should be able to place 2 to 3 fingers between the top of the wither and the saddle and you should also have the same clearance on each side of the wither, to allow the shoulder blade to move freely. White hairs, bumps or sores are signs that the saddle does not allow sufficient wither clearance.

  1. Gullet Channel Width

The gullet channel should be wide enough that the saddle rests on the back muscles of the horse on each side of his spine. There isn’t a “one size fits all” gullet channel width, but it is very important that the width is the same throughout the length of the saddle. When you place yourself behind your horse, you should be able to see his wither clearly through the gullet channel.

  1. Full Panel Contact

The next step is making sure your saddle panels are fully in contact of your horse, to ensure the rider’s weight is distributed equally on the entire available surface. Two of the most common problems are a saddle that bridges or rocks.

In a saddle that bridges, the front and rear of the panels are in contact with the horse, but the middle is not. This results in excessive pressure at the front and rear. To check if your saddle bridges, slide your hand between the panel and your horse and feel if there is any area where there is no contact.

A saddle that rocks has a motion similar to a rocking horse. There is excessive pressure in the middle and the rider’s weight will also shit to the front and rear when the horse is moving. To check if your saddle rocks, place your saddle on your horse without a saddle pad and push down on the pommel. If the cantle lifts up, your saddle rocks.

  1. Billet Alignment

If your saddle billets are not positioned correctly, your saddle will not stay in place when you ride, no matter what type of saddle pad or girth you use, it will most likely slide forward.

Once the saddle is placed correctly behind the shoulder, the billets should hang perpendicular to the ground and should be in the girth area (at the narrowest point of the rib cage behind the horse elbow). If the billets are too far in front or behind, the girth will always pull them towards the girth area and this will result in an unbalanced saddle.

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Tips for Buying a Horse

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If you are considering taking the leap and buying a horse, take a look at these handy tips so you can have a good experience in this process. Becoming a horse owner is a huge commitment, it is financially expensive and time consuming, but also well worth it if you buy an equine partner that fits your needs.

Before you begin

  • Make sure you are well aware of the various costs that comes with horses; veterinarian, shoeing, boarding (or keeping your horse at home), insurance, etc. Buying the horse isn’t what is expensive in the long term.
  • Make sure you have the time and energy to take care of your horse.
  • Assess your goals and needs, the horse has to be suitable for you; do you want to compete? Do you want a family horse?
  • Realistically consider your experience and the type of horse you want; do you need an older horse that knows the ropes? Do you want to bring a young horse through the levels?
  • Determine what are your deal breakers; it can be anything from price or build, to age. Write a list of things you don’t want to budge on.
  • Think of things you can compromise on; again, write a list!

Searching for the perfect horse may take a few months so be prepared for a long road and a few letdowns. The first step is telling your equine friends that you are looking for a horse, they may know of a horse that is not yet advertised. They are a lot of online horse classifieds as well.

When reading an ad, pay attention to what it says as well as what it is not saying. For example, why doesn’t it say that a horse is sound or vice free? Write down these questions so you won’t forget to ask the seller.

It is always best to ask plenty of questions to the seller before making the trip to see the horse.

Try to find out more about:

  • The horse’s experience
  • His temperament
  • His competition record
  • His health record
  • The reason he is for sale
  • If he is good alone and in company
  • His current lifestyle (lives in a stall or outside, ridden every day or once a week, type of feed, type of bit, etc. so you can replicate it at home)

If the horse still appears suitable, it is time to set up a visit. Try to take a trainer or someone of experience with you, they can see things that you don’t and will often be more objective about if it’s the right horse for you.

Pay attention when the horse is tacked up before the ride, it can give you good indications of his temperament. Use this moment as well to take a good look at his conformation. Look for clues that the horse was worked or made quiet before your arrival (sweat marks, lack of hay and water in his stall).

Make sure someone else rides the horse first and video the horse so you can have a look later, at home. If you are viewing multiple horses, this will help you recall them better at the end of the day.

Remember that your first impression counts! If the horse has good manners and temperament and you have a good connection with him, it is often more important than the type of the horse.

If you decide to go forward after viewing the horse

  • Ask if the horse is on any medication or supplement, for how long and why
  • If possible, view the horse 2 or 3 times before the purchase
  • Try to ride the horse in different environments or at different times of the day
  • Do a pre-purchase vetting with your own vet (at least, not the seller’s vet)
  • It is always best to include a drug test and X-Rays

The pre-purchase vetting isn’t a “pass or fail” type of test. Try to be present so you can discuss any issues with the veterinarian and ask for his opinion. A set bowed tendon might be a deal breaker for an upper level horse, but it may be fully suitable for a lower level or a pleasure horse.

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