Tips for Running an In-Gate

Hey guys!

I’ve run an in-gate at several shows before, but they’ve always been smaller shows with only 1 or 2 rings. This weekend will be my first time running the in-gate for a larger show (5 rings) & I’m a little nervous about making sure it all runs smoothly & not upsetting anyone. If anyone has some tips for me I’d really appreciate it!

Thanks!

Be organized, but flexible - have signup sheets if there’s no posted order of go, but don’t wait around for the next one one the list if they’re not there and someone else is ready. Make sure you get the class list beforehand so you can cross off the numbers as they go in the ring and note any that aren’t on your list.

Make sure you keep folks apprised of who’s on deck, one away, etc, every few mintues - it helps to spot problems. Be pleasant and as patient as you can be.

If you’re not the top priority ring, make sure you’re in touch with whichever one is so you know when to expect delays.

Try not to get aggrevated when the nervous ammie (me!) asks you how long until thier class every half hour or so. :slight_smile:

Have fun. It’s always feast or famine, so be prepared.

[QUOTE=paw;8038759]Be organized, but flexible - have signup sheets if there’s no posted order of go, but don’t wait around for the next one one the list if they’re not there and someone else is ready. Make sure you get the class list beforehand so you can cross off the numbers as they go in the ring and note any that aren’t on your list.

Make sure you keep folks apprised of who’s on deck, one away, etc, every few mintues - it helps to spot problems. Be pleasant and as patient as you can be.

If you’re not the top priority ring, make sure you’re in touch with whichever one is so you know when to expect delays.

Try not to get aggrevated when the nervous ammie (me!) asks you how long until thier class every half hour or so. :slight_smile:

Have fun. It’s always feast or famine, so be prepared.[/QUOTE]

Thank you so much!

If at all possible, call the counts in the schooling ring. It’s hard with hunters and almost impossible if there are multiple cards open, but if you have a jumper ring or equitation medals or something, please please please announce through at LEAST five out, preferably ten if you have them lined up. I cannot guarantee I’ll be at the ring on time if the announcer is sporadically announcing one or two trips out. If you can get people to check in and you keep calling the counts, everyone will be kept much happier (the trick is, of course, getting people to check in).

Does a large white board help back gates people? I know some shows I’ve been too they write the class schedule with estimated start times on it (great so riders don’t have to keep asking back gate person for start times). This was something I was going to try and do for the schooling shows I’m managing. I would love to hear more ideas for back gate persons (and announcers too) I can give to my back gate and announcers to help them run the show smoother!

We use white boards at a lot of dog shows where I work gate, and it does help. Sometimes we have large sheets of paper with the order posted, and that is just as good — you can mark off conflicts, cancellations, order changes…

I do the A/AA shows here in Oregon and I try to put together an estimated order of go, grouping trainers’ riders together and separating out single riders’ multiple horses. Basically assigning exhibitors a rotation. And I put it on a big whiteboard by my gate.

It NEVER ends up going in order, but it serves as a jumping off point. That way, riders/trainers with conflicts can come talk to me about where in the order they need to go, and everyone else can see where they go without me having to explain it 20 times a class while I’m trying to call the announcer and do my counts and deal with the pile of add scratch sheets someone just brought me!

Reliable walkie-talkies and LOUD announcements to the schooling ring/barns are key. I do at least an 8 count, usually a 10 to the schooling ring after every friggin round, and call to the barns at regular intervals (every 15-20 minutes or so).

Communication is key! If you’re stuck and are looking at no horses lined up in 3 rounds, tell everyone you can that you’re looking for help. If you had 4 people add a round and the wait increased, just tell the people in the warmup ring as soon as you know so they can pause the jumping if they need to. Encourage people to check in with you when they’re headed to the warm up ring. I keep a running list of who’s warming up and what order they came in on my day sheets – that helps because I know who to call if I need someone to fill in, and also what to tell someone who asks if they can grab their horse and move up in the order. Only 2 people in my warmup and 3 rounds currently rotating? Sure, I can fit you in. 8 people warming up and 4 more walking up the pathway? Ehhhh, better not.

Also think about what class you’re in when you build your rotations. Regular Working Hunter pros probably wouldn’t appreciate rotations of 5, but if you try to do a 2 person rotation in the short stirrup you’re gonna have a bad time lol.

Above all, be kind and friendly, and help people out where you can. I find when I can show trainers and riders that I care about their round and their horse, they’re much more willing to cut me some slack if I mess up, or to help me when I’m in a pinch. At the end of the day, it’s a customer service job. If your ring runs a few minutes late but every exhibitor came away feeling like they were treated well and you set them up for success, you’ve done your job. Obviously, running early is better, but…

Get your groups of 3 or 4 and stick to that group until it’s done. Nothing makes me crazier than doing one trip and being ready to go back in and then having the in-gate person put random people ahead of me so I end up sitting there for 7 or 8trips waiting for my second round.

[QUOTE=541hunter;8039562]I do the A/AA shows here in Oregon and I try to put together an estimated order of go, grouping trainers’ riders together and separating out single riders’ multiple horses. Basically assigning exhibitors a rotation. And I put it on a big whiteboard by my gate.

It NEVER ends up going in order, but it serves as a jumping off point. That way, riders/trainers with conflicts can come talk to me about where in the order they need to go, and everyone else can see where they go without me having to explain it 20 times a class while I’m trying to call the announcer and do my counts and deal with the pile of add scratch sheets someone just brought me!

Reliable walkie-talkies and LOUD announcements to the schooling ring/barns are key. I do at least an 8 count, usually a 10 to the schooling ring after every friggin round, and call to the barns at regular intervals (every 15-20 minutes or so).

Communication is key! If you’re stuck and are looking at no horses lined up in 3 rounds, tell everyone you can that you’re looking for help. If you had 4 people add a round and the wait increased, just tell the people in the warmup ring as soon as you know so they can pause the jumping if they need to. Encourage people to check in with you when they’re headed to the warm up ring. I keep a running list of who’s warming up and what order they came in on my day sheets – that helps because I know who to call if I need someone to fill in, and also what to tell someone who asks if they can grab their horse and move up in the order. Only 2 people in my warmup and 3 rounds currently rotating? Sure, I can fit you in. 8 people warming up and 4 more walking up the pathway? Ehhhh, better not.

Also think about what class you’re in when you build your rotations. Regular Working Hunter pros probably wouldn’t appreciate rotations of 5, but if you try to do a 2 person rotation in the short stirrup you’re gonna have a bad time lol.

Above all, be kind and friendly, and help people out where you can. I find when I can show trainers and riders that I care about their round and their horse, they’re much more willing to cut me some slack if I mess up, or to help me when I’m in a pinch. At the end of the day, it’s a customer service job. If your ring runs a few minutes late but every exhibitor came away feeling like they were treated well and you set them up for success, you’ve done your job. Obviously, running early is better, but…[/QUOTE]

FWIW: 541 does a fantastic job–all the while being very nice, which is so appreciated as a competitor.

Aw, thank you BITSA! You always make it easy for me to be nice. :winkgrin:

A thousand times THIS!!! And if you can, try to spend some time with people running the other gates. you will need their help when there are trainer conflicts. If you do a whiteboard (and this is amazingly helpful where show managements allow it!) don’t be afraid to update it if you’re running long. And introduce yourself to both the trainers and the assistant trainers. They can sometimes help you out in a jam by moving someone up if you need help.

Know which ring is the priority ring. Communicate with them.

Keep tabs on your schooling ring, if you can. If you get into a dead spot and have three or four trainers who were going to go 5-10 sets from now ask “Can I go warm up early?” but you have four people in the schooling ring who will be done in 10 minutes, then in 10 minutes, you’re going to have everybody at your door wanting to go now.

Tangentially, know your people. If you work the same area for awhile, you know that some trainers take longer than others. Some people will say “I will be ready in five minutes” and they’ll be at the gate ready to walk in in five minutes. Others will say “I will be ready in five minutes” and you will see them wander up 30 minutes later. (See also: adult amateurs. I say this with love, because I am one, but I’m a starter and an ammy and I have a clock in my head. Not everybody does, and not everybody is going to be emotionally ready to go in five minutes.) There are a couple of people whom I know I won’t see until two rotations after they checked in- I plan for that, write the name in the margin of my sheet, and just try not to put those folks in the last set.

Communicate with the schooling ring and the barn. I tend to give barn calls every 15 minutes, including a countdown to the next division/the hack/the jog. I call to the schooling ring every two or three trips, and at least once a rotation give a status report- “third set is three away, that’s Katie, Susie, and Bob; 15 trips to my fourth set, 27 trips to my fifth set, an hour and 15 minutes until we jog.”

If you have a set of four clocking along, just because Mr. Big Shot walks up to you and says “I want to go now” does not mean he gets to go in the ring now. You can make an exception for George Morris, but most people are not George Morris. When Mr. Big Shot who has nowhere else to be and who showed up light years away from the slot where he actually checked in pitches a fit, he is one person. When you piss off the four people actively rotating already, that is four people, and their riders, who are pissed off. You can graciously say that you can accommodate Mr./Ms. Big Shot in 10 minutes. Mind you, if Mr. Big Shot has an excellent reason to need to go now, such as that he needs to be in the priority ring in 5 minutes, that’s another story and you should work with him if you possibly can.

If you have to bump people down to accommodate another ring, and you will, communicate that to the schooling area and to the barn. Be extremely apologetic. Most people will understand. Just try not to bump down the same folks twice.

Communicate with the schooling break and the barn.

If you have a scheduled class going at another time in another ring- a final, a classic, a derby, some kind of event- and your ring is going to be running at the same time, make sure you know which trainers are involved in that class, and come hell or high water those trainers are your priority. Get them done first if the time will work out, plan to see them last, work them in if someone runs up and says “I can go in 10 minutes if you can fit me in before the second round down there!” Again, most people will understand if you have been making announcements all day saying “Here in Ring 3 we are trying to accommodate trainers who need to get over to the Derby for the 5:00 start time. Those involved in that class, I would like to see you first in my order here to ensure you have plenty of time to prepare. Please check in or send a representative.”

There are two groups of people that you cannot rush and should not try: the pre-children’s and the pre-adults. If they go in the ring a hair before they are ready, someone will fall off and cry. Accept this and be gracious about it. The pre-adults are my favorites to be around. No other group will come out of the ring, look me dead in the eye, and say “My horoscope told me I can’t come back for my second round, because I used up all my good karma at the oxer.”

Communicate with the schooling ring and the barn.

Drink coffee and smile a lot.

People have covered a lot already, but please also try to announce when you’re getting to the bottom of your class. I had a bad experience last year when the in gate person chomped my head off a few times for asking how many were left. I ended up being nervous about “bugging” her, so quit asking, and ended up being caught totally off guard when they called the jog! (It was a rainy, rainy day, so my horse was back where it was dry, and no one was waiting at the gate, so there was no way to just eyeball that the class was near completion). It all ended okay - my friend went toe-to-toe with the in gate lady and got her to hold the jog while I ran to get my horse and rode bareback quite quickly through the show grounds to make it back in time to jog for my ribbon! The crowning moment though? Falling flat on my face about 20 steps into the ring when my Jell-O legs gave out after my sprint to the horse and extended trot back to the ring! :smiley:

Long story short - please, out of kindness, keep your competitors informed as to where you are in relation to the end of the class.