XC - 10 ways to keep your horse calm at a start box
Teach your horse to be relaxed from the very first time you go into a start box - always keep yourself relaxed.
Make sure you are fully prepared before walking over to the start box. Check your girth, and all tack is secure, have you got your grease on? All boots taped?
If you have a stopwatch make sure you know the time for the course and your watch is set. Some people find it helpful to add on 10 secs so when the starter counts down from 10 you start your watch – 1 less thing to worry about as you go out.
If your horse does get excited by the start box don’t go over until you really need to,you don’t have to go at 2 minutes - it would be helpful to let the starters know that is what you are doing and why.
When you do go over walk around in and out of the box but no tight circles.
Keep yourself relaxed if it helps chat to the starter, the horse will pick up you are relaxed.
If you need to be kept occupied when they call a minute or 30 secs countdown in your own head, it gives you something to do!
Don’t go out of the start box fast, teach your horse early on to go out progressively, in trot if necessary.
Walk or trot in to the start box and canter out.
If you do need a lead in ensure you have a plan with your helper as to what happens when.