Having competed and volunteered at Bicton Arena, I thought it would be good to share some of my insight on the BE100 3 Day competition to help those of you who may be thinking of entering next season!

At the Rider Briefing, which is usually held on the evening before competition starts, the optimum times and distances are given for Phase A, B and C so that you have plenty of time to work out your paces and minute markers before starting.

The first two days consist of the Dressage phase which is held in the 20x60m grass arena.

Cross country day is made up of Phase A, B, C and D which seems like a lot but its great fun!

Phase A – Road and tracks: No need to warm up for it (hurrah!) this is your warm-up for Phase B.  Phase A is around 15-20mins long and approximately 2-3km. When you finish, you have one minute to get ready for Phase B.

Phase B – The steeplechase: My favourite! At Bicton there are around four fences to jump at 1m. The distances and optimum time will be given at the briefing.

Phase C – Road and tracks:   If you can ask your helper to be at the start/finish, they can check you still have boots and shoes on the horse!  Phase C is approximately between 5-6km, approximately 30 – 35 minutes.

When riding up to your 10-minute box – it is useful to trot towards your ‘box’ this will help the vets to assess your horse’s soundness.   Once in the 10-minute box your helper, can check over your horse, tack and replace anything needed. You will have a couple of minutes before your XC start time to practise over warm up fences.

Top tip – have your equipment in the 10 -minute start box before you start Phase A – bucket/sponge, spare tack, shoes (studs in shoes), a drink for you etc so that it’s ready for you to grab when you get there.

Phase D – Cross country:  The fun part!  This course is around six minutes long, which is a real test of you and your horse’s stamina. Helen West, Bicton Arena’s Manager and Course Designer, usually builds well thought out, challenging courses which are really good fun to ride whilst giving you plenty of questions.

The final day and providing everything has gone well, you have the trot up before starting the showjumping phase. Dress up and plait, be as smart as you can (there is a prize for this!). The trot up is in front of a vet and steward to show your horse is sound and ready for the showjumping. As soon as the trot up is completed you will receive your times. This phase is held in reverse order, the top 10 jump last and as you can expect, the course will be up to height.

My top tip – preparation, preparation, and more preparation!

I do a six-week fitness program for myself and Castle in readiness for the BE100 3 Day.

Bicton is an undulating course set in beautiful parkland, so make sure your horse is super fit for the duration of your stay.

The main thing is to enjoy yourself at a truly spectacular venue!

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