Announcer Tips | United States Eventing Association, Inc. - US National Combined Training, Horse Trials: Dressage, Cross Country, Show Jumping

Announcer Tips

So, You’ve Been Hired as an Announcer!

  • Contracts are a good thing. They protect you and the person who hired you. At the very least, included in the contract should be: day fees, expenses to be paid by the employer, dates and times you will work, who provides the equipment, and a cancellation policy.
  • Many announcers are hired 6 months to a year ahead of schedule. If this is true for you, check in periodically with whoever hired you. If at no other time, 1 month out, 2 weeks out, and 1 week out. This will reassure BOTH sides that all is well. Reiterate flight arrival and departure times, rental car arrangements, tentative show schedules, etc. Is there a fancy “to do” on Friday or Saturday night? Are you eating with the judges or are there other arrangements? Exchange cell phone numbers in case of flight delays, etc.
  • If arriving the day/night before (a very good thing): find the show office, introduce yourself, get a program, and take a tour of everything so that you know the show grounds layout. Include vendor village, port-a-potties, the XC course, dressage and stadium rings, etc. Introduce yourself to vendors and ask if they are running discounts over the weekend, or if they have a “blurb” for you to announce. Try to be autonomous – the show secretary/organizers have a lot on their plate. It is always a nice gesture to make some announcements the day before the show, even if you are not paid for this.
  • On the show day(s), try to arrive no later than 1 hour before the first ride. Many crises can happen on show morning – try not to be one of them! Check in with the show office, and then check your show equipment – so you are more than ready and calm.
  • Stay as cheerful for the last horse as you do for the first. That last rider (usually BN) have paid their fees just like everyone else. Try not to sound like you’d really like to be done so you can catch that early flight!
  • Announce the “official show time” until you are blue in the face. Then announce it again.
  • No matter what the catastrophe, it is your job as the announcer to keep a calm and authoritative voice. Screaming or speaking sharply over the microphone is not helpful.
  • At the end, remember to thank everyone, both over the loudspeaker and in private.

Basic Reminders for Announcers

  • Never make fun of competitors/horses/etc.
  • Educate spectators about rules, etc.
  • Stay enthused even at the end of the day
  • If unsure how to pronounce, (a) ask a ring steward to ask the rider (b)say it firmly (c)announce periodically that if something is not correct, please come by and correctly pronounce it for the announcer
  • Keep a program, an Omnibus, and a rules booklet with you
  • Thank the organizer/secretary for hiring you!
  • Ask for and accept constructive criticism

45-30 minutes before Beginning of Show:

  • Welcome to (name of show) .
  • The official time is “x”; show starts in “y” minutes
  • Officials (secretary, judges, TD, etc.)
  • Reminders (time/course changes, bit check, etc.)
  • Thank you’s for volunteers

10 minutes to start:

  • Welcome to (name of show) .
  • The official time is “x”; show starts in 10 minutes
  • Officials (secretary, judges, TD, etc.)
  • Reminders (time/course changes, bit check, etc.)

Approx. every 30 min:

  • Official Show time
  • Rings are/are not running on time/ahead/behind
  • Food/Vendors/Sponsors
  • Reminders and thank yous

As rings finish:

  • Official Show time
  • Thank you to judge and scribe

Ending of Show:

  • Thank you for attending/competing at (name of show)
  • Thank you to officials, organizers
  • Thank you for volunteers
  • Thank you for sponsors, etc.
  • Safe drive home/road traffic announcements
  • See you at (date of next show of venue)

Dressage Day Sayings

Ring Announcements: It is best to announce horse and rider as they are warming up around the ring.

Basic announcement: “Next to go in Arena 1 is #52, Sweetie Pie ridden by Joe Rider.”

Better: “The 9yr old chestnut Thoroughbred mare trotting around Arena 1 is “Sweetie Pie”. “Sweetie Pie” is owned by Mrs. Gotrocks and ridden today by Joe Rider. This pair placed first at Poplar Place in June at Beginner Novice.”

Then, as the horse/rider come down center line, “Sweetie Pie, ridden by Joe Rider.”

After the final halt/salute: “Finishing their Novice ride in ring #1, that was Sweetie Pie and Joe Rider.”


Bit Check, Ring Stewards, Etc. “Riders, please remember to have your bits checked AND to check in with the warm up stewards as you arrive for warm up. This will help us ensure that you arrive to the correct ring on time for your dressage ride.”

Time:

Basic: “The official show time is 7:45.”

Better: “Your official show time is 7:45. We are 15 minutes away from an on time start in all 3 rings. The official show time is now 7:46.” “The official show time is 11:17.

Ring 1 is running ON TIME, Ring 2 is running 8 minutes ahead, and Ring 3 is running 5 minutes behind. Your official show time is 11:18.” “The official show time is 12:56.

Ring One will be picking up from lunch break in approximately 4 minutes. Ring 2 is still on break until 12:30. Ring 3 will be breaking for lunch in 4 minutes. Your official show time is 12:56.”

Dogs, children, and spectators:

Basic: “Keep your dogs on a leash.” “Children must be accompanied by a parent.” “Stay away from the show rings.”

Better: “We love seeing your dogs at Riding High Acres, but we most especially love them when they are on leash. Non-leashed dogs will be escorted to the show office, and can be redeemed for a $50 donation to the local humane society.” “Please remember that children move quickly, but horses are quicker. Let’s make sure everyone stays safe.” “For those of you who are new to dressage, just a reminder that these riders have worked very hard to get here. They will be penalized if you try to help them by talking to them or distracting them while they compete. For that and safety reasons, we ask that you maintain a respectful distance from the dressage rings.”


Show Jumping Day Sayings

Rider Announcements: It is best to announce horse and rider as they enter the ring.

Basic announcement: “Now on course is #52, Sweetie Pie ridden by Joe Rider.”

Better: “The 9yr old chestnut Thoroughbred mare cantering towards fence #1 is “Sweetie Pie”. “Sweetie Pie” is owned by Mrs. Gotrocks and ridden today by Joe Rider. They were in third place after their dressage score of 34; a clean XC now leaves them firmly in second place in Novice C.”

Time:

Basic: “The official show time is 7:45.”

Better: “Your official show time is 7:45. We are 15 minutes away from an on time start for show jumping. The official show time is now 7:46.” “The official show time is 11:17. We are running 11 minutes ahead for Show Jumping in Preliminary.” “The official show time is 12:56. We are on a 30 minute break while the course is reset and walked for the Training divisions.”

Dogs, children, and spectators:

Basic: “Keep your dogs on a leash.” “Children must be accompanied by a parent.” “Stay away from the show rings.”

Better: “We love seeing your dogs at Riding High Acres, but we most especially love them when they are on leash. Non-leashed dogs will be escorted to the show office, and can be redeemed for a $50 donation to the local humane society.” “For those of you who are new to Eventing, welcome! For the comfort of all, we ask that you not hang on the fence as it may distract the horses and riders.

Falls of Horse and/or Rider:

Basic: Say nothing. Saying nothing is better than screeching.

Better (if you are comfortable with this): “It appears that horse and rider have parted company at fence #11. Medics are checking that horse and rider are fine before allowing them to continue. Our #1 concern is safety of horse and rider, and that is why we do have medics and a vet on standby here.” Then you can do some announcing about sponsors or vendors, time permitting.

Color commentary:

No color commentary during rides. Afterwards, however…

Basic: “4 jumping, 2 time.”

Better: “4 jumping, 2 time for a total of 6 faults. This moves them into second place for the moment."

Refusals, and eliminations:

“Thank you, rider. Unfortunately, 3 refusals on the show jumping course means the rider and horse are eliminated.”


Cross-Country Day Sayings

Rider Announcements: It is best to announce horse and rider as they leave the start and head to fence one….at least by fence # 3!

Basic announcement: “Now on course is #52, Sweetie Pie ridden by Joe Rider.”

Better: “The 9yr old chestnut Thoroughbred mare cantering towards fence #1 is “Sweetie Pie”. “Sweetie Pie” is owned by Mrs. Gotrocks and ridden today by Joe Rider. They are currently in third place in the Novice division C on their dressage score of 34.”

Time:

Basic: “The official show time is 7:45.”

Better: “Your official show time is 7:45. We are 15 minutes away from an on time start for cross country. The official show time is now 7:46.” “The official show time is 11:17. We are running 11 minutes ahead on cross country in Preliminary.” “The official show time is 12:56. We are on a short break while jump judges move into place for the Training divisions.”

Dogs, children, and spectators:

Basic: “Keep your dogs on a leash.” “Children must be accompanied by a parent.” “Stay away from the show rings.”

Better: “We love seeing your dogs at Riding High Acres, but we most especially love them when they are on leash. Non-leashed dogs will be escorted to the show office, and can be redeemed for a $50 donation to the local humane society.” “For those of you who are new to Eventing, welcome! Come out and have a first hand look at the fences. Just a reminder that at each fence is a jump judge in a lovely orange vest. This person is in charge of keeping you and the horses and riders safe. Please listen to them and stay out of the competitors’ way.

Falls of Horse and/or Rider:

Basic: Say nothing. Saying nothing is better than screeching.

Better: “There is a loose horse on course, heading towards fence #12. Heads up everyone, loose horse on course.”

Best (if you are comfortable with this): “It appears that horse and rider have parted company at fence #11. Our #1 concern is safety of horse and rider, and that is why we do have medics and a vet on standby here. I’ve been informed that horse and rider are fine, the rider is on his feet and the pair is walking back to the barn."

If it’s a bad fall, control may not want you to say anything. Fill time discussing vendors and sponsors or other riders on course. If there is a hold, update riders on time regularly, but don’t talk too much, as the emergency groups need to communicate without interruption.

Color commentary:

Basic and boring: “Horse #72 has cleared fence #9.”

Better: “Joe Rider and Sweetie Pie are halfway through their cross country course as they have just cleared the ditch at fence #9.”

Best (if you are quick on your feet): “Heading towards the Nutrena Feed Ditch at #9 is Joe Rider and Sweetie Pie. They’ve dropped to a trot…taking a good look, hopping o-ver , and are clear.”

Refusals, and eliminations:

Basic: “Horse #72 has been eliminated after 3 refusals at fence #14.”

Better: Joe Rider and Sweetie Pie have been eliminated at the water after 3 refusals.”

Best: Sweetie Pie and Joe Rider are approaching the water; and have run out to the right. Coming around for their second attempt, dropping to the trot, and ….a stop there. They are circling to the right, picking up the right lead, and…unfortunately a third stop. Sadly, Joe Rider and Sweetie Pie have been eliminated at the water complex.”

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