If you are looking for a few training ideas, in this month’s blog I thought I would share a few of my own…
Set up a couple of fences in the arena, a line of trot poles, a curved line of trot poles, a line of canter poles, a couple of poles set out in a channel, some random objects such as ornamental flower pots, cones and even big fluffy toys.
The poles can be used to freshen up a pace and put the expression and impulsion in for free. They could also be used mid lateral work to keep the horse lighter on its feet if he or she tends to get a bit heavy in the rein or slow off the leg. The small fences can be used to put excitement and impulsion into the work as well as using them for a change of rein or even use a bounce to release tension over the horses back after working collection into a pace. The poles set out in a channel are great for checking your horses straightness and making sure you are using your aids correctly, rather than letting the horse hang to the outside track fence line. The channel can also be used to work on shoulder fore and shoulder in. The poles provide some support but very little compared to the horse just moving down a fence line once it is experienced enough obviously this lateral work can be ridden anywhere. Random objects are great from the de-sensitisation point of view but also great as focal points, i.e. 10m circle round a cone, leg yield to the fluffy elephant then canter at the flowerpot, medium canter to the frog filler then collected canter half pass to the straw bale then halt and salute between the channel of poles!
Get imaginative with your fence design to keep your horses careful and interested. A weighted tarpaulin is great for a water tray, tubatrugs are fab as fillers, old New Zealand with straps cut off laid over a pole, Straw bales as fillers, decent tree branches to add a touch of Cross-Country rather than always using an show-jumping pole, make a corner rather than an oxer, cut a couple of poles in half and improve your skinny technique. Don’t always walk a distance when setting out a related distance just plonk the small fences out and ride by your feel on a more experienced horse to improve your eye and their adjustability.
Think about your season just gone. All the effort that goes into your horses fitness, condition, health, training etc. Then, think about you. Your time is crucial for a clear mind and a productive session or competition. So here are some ideas to help keep you focused and enthusiastic for the coming season; Take up swimming/cycling/running/circuit training. These are all a cheap and accessible form of fitness that can reduce fatigue on the XC course, better equip you for riding three phases of a one day event without becoming tired and make all the yard duties far easier. Pilates is fantastic for your core (everyone says that but it really is, highly recommended!). Your horse has to carry you so the least you can do is sit in balance and be able to maintain your posture and lightness in the saddle to get the best tune possible. Chiropractic or physio treatment for you too! Get some tuition, its very easy to just keep competing during the season but the training and continual journey of learning is just as important. So book some sessions in and aim towards some attainable goals, this way the winter passes quicker! Sometimes just have a night without any technology and read up and better your knowledge of equestrianism.
Everyone will have a list of things they compile during the season which they keep meaning to do but they aren’t very important but would definitely be worth doing. Get new leathers because the others have stretched/replace your back protector because you took a heavy fall/ freshen up your veterinary kit/check the stitching on all your tack/make sure your kids stirrups aren’t too small/make sure your horses bit is the right size/when was your saddle last checked/does your tweed jacket need a wash/clean under the rubber mats in your stable/get your trailer/lorry serviced/check your fencing, …………….. No time to get bored, the winter will wizz by!
Oh and now the new event dates are out, I am off to plan next season.
Till then, crack on!
This blog comes courtesy of tweed fashion brand Timothy Foxx www.timothyfoxx.co.uk