After the time of cold weather, holidays, cozy Christmas movies, practicing new freestyle moves, improving compulsories and a lot of fitness, the new season has started. It is the time to make new goals and make dreams come true. It might be possible that one of your goals is to compete in your first international vaulting competition: a Concours de Voltige International (CVI). If this is the very first time for you as a vaulter, it can be a real challenge to figure out what you need to know, what you need to prepare and what to expect. We have some tips for you and we asked some well experienced vaulters and coaches to give their advice.

A CVI is an international vaulting event. Competing in a CVI can be different from a national competition. For example, the rules may differ from the rules in your country. At an International vaulting event, we have to follow the FEI rules. The first step before you sign up for a CVI is that you take note of the FEI rules. If you know in which competition you would like to compete, you can also have a look at the schedule of the event.

Check out the FEI Vaulting Rules 2019.

> Schedule and entry

Every CVI has a schedule. This is a document where you can find general information about the
competition like basic rules, fees, the deadlines for your entry and the address of the showground. Your National Federation has to send your entry to the Organising Committee (OC) before the date of definitive entry. The FEI doesn’t allow you to sign up yourself.

> Some tips from Claire de Ridder (NED), Mara Xander (GER) and Leon Hüsgen (GER)

Claire: “Make sure you know where the showground is, that will help you to book a hotel near the
showground and not far away. This happened to me once.”
Mara: “Always check the rules, because they may differ from your own country. For example the time limit of the test can be more strict compared to national events.”

An also very important part of our sport is the music. It’s good to know how you should supply your music. Sometimes you can find information about this in the schedule, too.

Leon Hüsgen told us: “If you have to submit your music online, make sure it will be the right file and format.”

> Your horse

The horse is an important part of the team. Without them, no vaulting. In the schedule you can find information that can be important for your horse, like the kind of stable bedding they provide. When you would like to have some more information about the transportation of your horse, the FEI provides information about this on their website. Also, check on time if you need special documents when you travel to another country. Sometimes a health inspection before travelling is required.

For most competitions, your horse needs a FEI passport. These passports are obtained from your
federation. If you start in a CVI* or CVI** in your own country, there might be an exception. Also, your horse needs to be vaccinated according to the FEI Veterinary Regulations. So make sure the
vaccinations are all in order on time.

Be aware that you know what kind of feed, supplements or medication is given to your horse. Just like in national competitions, horses can be selected for doping control. You can find a lot of information about the FEI’s Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Programme on the website of the FEI. It is also good to know that there are anti-doping rules for human athletes.

Read more about the Veterinary Regulations 2019 of the FEI.

> Some tips from Diana van Klaveren (National Trainer Netherlands) and Leon Hüsgen (GER)

Diana: “It can be possible that horse feed or supplements accidentally contaminated with some forbidden substances. That is why you should check if the producer claims that their products are doping free. Also some horses refuse to drink other water than the water that they are used to, it is useful to try this out at home.”

Leon: “Always check the schedule to see if you need to bring your own straw and hay.”

If you have to bring your own hay and straw or other bedding, you really need to safe space in your car or horsebox for that. So it is good to know this early.

> At the competition

When you arrive at the showground you can ask the OC for information. Most of the time, your horse has to pass the vet first before you are allowed to stable your horse.
Before the competition starts, there is a horse inspection. You, your lunger or groom needs to present the horse and trot the horse up. Make sure the horse is clean, braided and is wearing a bridle number.
The person who takes care of the trot up, has to wear the national clothes or club clothes. It is useful to practice a trot up at home.After the horse inspection the declaration of starters will follow. And then the competition will finally start.

We asked Lambert Leclezio (FRA) and Lotte Geelhoed (NED) for some advice during the competition:

Lambert: “Vaulting is your passion, having fun is very important. Just imagine the competition is like a training. The only difference is that more people are watching. And try not to forget to take important things with you, when you leave the hotel… I forgot my freestyle outfit in Ermelo last year and I just found out while I was already doing my warming-up. Luckily the national coach was there and drove back to the hotel.”

Lotte: “Sometimes you can get really nervous. When this happens, try to tell yourself that you should have fun. If something goes different from what you expected, remember that every competition is a new experience. You will always learn from it and at the end you will make progress.”

So now it will be time for a real packing list for you and your horse. What should you definitely take with you to an international competition? Remember, this list is just a general list. You can add personal things, but you will find out that it is a real challenge to get everything in the car or suitcase. 😉

> Packing list for your horse

    • FEI passport
    • Bridle numbers, they are required on the bridle and halter
    • Horse blankets, if needed. But a thin waterproof blanket can be practical when the warming-up arena is outdoor and the weather is bad
    • Vaulting and riding equipment. Don’t forget the reins, you need them for the horse inspection
    • Grooming equipment like brushes, shampoo and plaiting bands
    • Some first aid equipment, but always check the FEI rules because some equipment is forbidden
    • Needles and syringe for example are strictly forbidden
    • Horse feed
    • Enough buckets for the feed and water. There is not always a direct water supply in the stable.
    • A folding wheelbarrow can by useful, although most of the time there are wheelbarrows at the competition
    • A folding saddle rack, note that it is sometimes possible to order a tack room

> Packing list for the vaulter

    • Your passport and your health insurance card
    • Some cash money. Especially when you have to pay the fees in cash
    • Shoes: vaulting shoes, running shoes and rain boots. Rain boots can be useful when the weather is bad
    • Your music on a USB or CD, even when you have to send it in before the competition
    • Normal clothes, pyjamas and some warm clothes. It can be cold, especially in the morning
    • Vaulting clothes for training and warming-up
    • Your vaulting suits for compulsory, freestyle and maybe for the technical test
    • All the stuff you need for your hair and makeup
    • Haft spray, if you use this in competition
    • Some first aid equipment
    • Toiletries