Let’s face it, 2020 was a difficult year for most riders, especially when it came to competing and making progress with the horses.
With the new road map from the government, it seems hopeful that there may be some light at the end of the tunnel and competing is something to look forward too.
Below are some top tips from British Horse Feeds sponsored event rider team, Team Sommerville who have been feeding Fibre-Beet for more than five years.
Setting goals is a really good way to get you focused and in to the planning stage.
This year’s goals might be slightly different to previous because of the strange times we have been in, so it is good to assess what you think is achievable.
Choosing attainable targets that can be checked off the list is extremely satisfying instead of setting yourself up for disappointment with big plans.
Discuss with your trainer or friends and family what good goals could be. They know you the best and can be a great reason to get together on Zoom again for a goal setting sesh.
Set up a phone/camera to record yourself schooling. This is a great way to see what your trainers or coaches see. You can also send this footage to them, to give you any pointers or exercises to help you develop.
Also watch over any dressage tests you have done and read over the judges’ comments to get a glimpse on why they gave you the scores. It’s all in the aim of self-development not criticism.
We aren’t just talking about your horse or pony’s fitness, your fitness is just as important.
Over the lockdown periods you may have been really motivated and kept up with the home workouts or an hours run, if so that is awesome. If not don’t worry, you won’t be the only ones, but now is the time to start thinking about getting fit again.
Riding is a sport – which we like to keep reminding non-horsey people. So remember to go steady and work up your fitness like you would with your horse or pony.
There may be some sore muscle days…
4. New Training
For some owners, you may have been lucky enough to carry on riding and have had enough of the same old schooling.
Mix up the training plan and research some different exercises you could try. It is always good to hone in on developing your skills and perfecting transitions or improving your jump etc. There is always something to develop.
Again ask your instructor for some different exercises as well, they know you and your horse best and can explain why this new exercise is good to try. You can come back to them weeks later with what you think has improved.
5. For Eventing Focus On All Three Phases
Understandably not everyone will have access to cross-country fences, but it is key to remember to school and train for all three phases.
There will be some flat work exercises you can do to practice for position – focussing on your centre of balance which is key for success. Also working on your horse’s ability to travel up and down the gears easily, whilst maintaining rhythm.
If you do have some jumps, look into how you can recreate examples of skinny fences or combinations you would see on a cross-country course. Remember to be safe if you do get creative!
And that’s our top tips to hopefully help you in getting ready for the competition season and inspired to look forward to summer 2021. Fingers crossed and stay safe.