With COVID restrictions on spectators and the increased importance of communicating the flow of the show day to parents and riders - it has become even more necessary for show hosts to thoughtfully plan communications before and during their show.
As the IEA season has progressed, many shows have incorporated technology to help facilitate reaching those sheltering in their cars about what is happening in the arena.
One such example is utilizing the ZOOM meeting platform that many of us use every day as part of work/school as a simple "live-streaming" option.
1. Set up a Zoom meeting at least several days prior to the horse show. Email or text the Zoom link to all coaches/parents/riders.
2. Designate a volunteer to oversee setting up a tripod and iPad (or phone) in a good spot to see the arena. Make sure your device can be plugged in as it will need to last all day.
3. Opening up the zoom meeting when the show begins allows parents on the show grounds, as well as other family members at home the opportunity to see what classes are in the arena.
4. Stationing someone near the device to keep an eye on it and make helpful periodic comments on the progression of the show can be helpful. (Example: "Class 6, JV Novice Over Fences has just started and there are 11 riders in this class.)
5. Remember to refrain from personal conversation near the "live-streaming" device as it is being broadcast to your attendees.
Some show hosts have used the REMIND app (which many schools use) or a similar group texting app to send group texts during the show. A sample text might be "Class 3 is on the reverse way. Class 4 riders are mounting. Class 5 riders should be making their way to the paddock area."
Others have set up Facebook pages just for their horse show and communicated results and timing of classes. Some have used Facebook Live to broadcast their show.
Whatever technology you may use - it is vital to PLAN AHEAD and designate a specific person as a Communications Coordinator for your show as well as any back-up technology.
Do you have other ideas that have worked for your show(s)?
We'd love to hear them - send your comments/suggestions to IEA Communications Coordinator, Kimber Whanger at firstname.lastname@example.org.