Friday, 19 October 2012

A Snapshot of Training

In last week's Horse & Hound, there was an interesting article about workloads before competitions - whether the Tapering technique is beneficial. The main problem with the comparison to competition horses and this article is that the workload and fitness work described was most like a racehorse. We also have to consider temperament.

So what does TTE do in preparation to their competitions in terms of exercise workload.

Throughout the winter, local Dressage and Show Jumping competitions take place, and are a great way to keep both Thomas and I in shape and in the right frame of mind. The tapering technique is definitely applicable to both of these disciplines; we don't jump a large number of up to height fences a few days before the competition, neither do we work on complex movements putting big muscle groups under pressure in the school a few days before a dressage test.

However, throughout the summer, when the eventing season is in full flow, the picture is somewhat different. We definitely need to keep in shape and ensure that we are both fit enough to tackle the challenge of three phases in one day, especially out on the cross country course.

Some say that the best way to improve fitness and stamina is the interval training method, and this is the one we follow. Regularly we will take to a long strip of grassland, and canter, before walking back and cantering again. Repeating this several times really helps us to improve the fitness, stamina and recovery time overall.

Typically, we won't go for a canter/gallop any less than 4 days before our competition.

But what about getting power fitness for the Show Jumping & Dressage phases?

This requires a variety of work and activities in the arena. Polework & gridwork can help both phases, with specific exercises being worked on to help improve our dressage score. To improve our Show Jumping, we're firm believers that the canter need to be right on the ground, & to prevent Thomas getting sick of jumping, we tend not to actually jump too much at home.

We won't jump at home any less than one week before a competition, and will not run through a test any less than 4 days before a competition.

Overall, we try to keep our routine the same so as not to disrupt Thomas, but also to help keep consistency within our fitness and workload.

Now that the eventing season is over, we are looking forward to brushing up on various things over the winter. We'll enjoy going to local (ish) competitions and training sessions in Northumberland and Yorkshire.

We'll keep you up to date on how we get on!

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