If 10 Downing Street think they are busy preparing for an election they should come and spend some time in the horse trials office! The photocopier is whirring, the laminator is getting hotter and hotter and the ever expanding list of things to do seems to be getting longer and longer.
There was no such thing as a bank holiday this week for the team at the horse trials, as the event site started taking shape. The tradestand village was meticulously marked out so ensure all tradestands know where they are going. The paperwork required from each stand is quite something as we need to know things including tradestand size; health and safety policies; and insurance policies. The marquees have arrived and are erected and the tradestands will arrive for set up this morning (Thursday).
Signage has gone up around the site including sponsors banners, event signage and directions – there is literally a sign for everything! It is a really exciting time for the team as the event really starts to take shape and everything is looking in fantastic form. There is also an eerily quiet sense of calm around the site (apart from the event office) as the cross country course is finished with British Eventing signing off the course. The ground looks amazing and with it being such lovely weather the whole event looks blooming brilliant (if we do say so ourselves).
Competitors are allowed to walk the course from 2pm today and it is always an exciting time to find out what the competitors think about the changes we have made – some of which were designed, implemented and built in Autumn 2016.
There’s plenty of administration jobs to be completed this morning including the allocation of rider representatives, cross country commentary notes to be completed and handed out, and the finalising and printing of the daily routine – a pretty crucial aspect to the event so everyone knows where they need to be and at what time.
At 3pm the whole team have a contingency planning meeting to run through every eventuality that might arise over the weekend. There are plans in place for everything that could occur – both good things and bad. The whole team have a network of radios to be able to contact each other. It is so interesting to listen to the conversations on the radios as everything is discussed from rider falls and cross country fence repair to what time everyone is needed for individual prize giving.
Tonight we all get together with the horse trials team and have a very welcome couple of glasses of wine and dinner before the mammoth three days of competition. All the British Eventing team, horse trials team and plus one’s – who have to put up with team members being missing in action for weeks now – gather for a much needed social. And then it will be a very early night for us all as it will soon be 5am and the sound of the alarm clock will beckon!