Here we catch up with Grub’s sponsored event rider Ingrid Klimke as she provides advice on how to make the most of your horse, through keeping things simple and making a plan.
Learn More with Ingrid Klimke
Even though I have both event and dressage horses on the yard the weekly fitness routine is the same with a mixture of flatwork, hill work, hacking, lungeing and cavaletti jumping.
For cavaletti training I use two sets of five raised poles on the opposite sides of a 20m circle. As the poles are on a curve they are extremely versatile, you can trot or canter over them and aim for different angles to vary the work for each horse.
Rider fitness is just as important as the horses’ fitness. I used to do a lot of running and swimming to keep fit, but I find it hard to find the time with two children, so I incorporate my own fitness into my riding.
I shorten my stirrups higher than I would for cross country for hill work and cantering, to work on my core and balance, this also means my legs get a good workout. I also ride without stirrups for cavaletti jumping so I can work on myself as well as the horse.
Have a clear plan for your horse and what you would like it to achieve. This can change throughout the season, but make sure you still have something to focus on.
I bring my youngsters on slowly and give them time. I usually back and lightly ride horses at three-years-old, then by four they become more settled and comfortable with what is expected. At five and six-years-old the rest of the basics are put into place. After six the focus then turns to conditioning and strengthening. I only ever decide on the discipline of a horse at the end of its sixth year.
When it comes to tack, keep it simple. I look at each horse individually and see what works best. I tend to avoid big knee rolls as I like to feel the horse and be in control of my position.
Like my father, Dr Reiner Klimke, I often prefer to use old fashioned string girths, as they are comfortable for the horse, they do not hold heat or water and they cannot be over tightened like with elasticated girths.
Enjoy the experience
When competing sit, smile and enjoy the experience. It is common to see riders working too hard in the dressage phrase, as their horses have not learnt how to respond to light aids.
You must create energy with your legs, then give with your hands, not pull back. A horse must be light and carry themselves, not be strong and pull back.
Follow Ingrid Klimke on the Grub’s boots facebook page or visit http://www.grubswarehouse.com