When is the best time to train your horse for show season?

Friday 24th February, 2023

For many riders, the change in seasons and the emergence of spring signal the time to start thinking about show season. Whether you’re an experienced show season rider or it’s all new to you, preparation and training are everything at this time of year.

These early months of the year are the best time to train your horse for show season. You’ll want to give yourself at least two months to train. Whilst the weather can still be cold and frosty, it can be impossible to acclimatise your horse to training in warmer conditions however it’s important to start now to assess their fitness levels.

In this article, we offer some guidance and advice on how to get your pre-show season training underway and how to stable your horse during the changing seasons.

Getting started

You can’t plan your show season training until you’ve assessed your horse. It’s likely that you may not have been able to get out and ride quite as much as in the warmer months. Your horse may have become slightly under or overweight and a little out of shape!

A brown horse exercising in a school on a long reign.

Whatever your horse’s condition, now is the time to make a call on their level of aerobic fitness. If you’ve had the chance to ride throughout the winter, you may be able to ramp up their training fairly quickly. Otherwise, it may take a little more time to get them back into the swing of things. Start those workouts and gradually start increasing the duration and intensity over the next few weeks as we move into spring. 

Book in a health update

Now is the perfect time to make sure your horse is in the best of health. Routine checks should be carried out along with ensuring they are up to date on vaccinations, deworming, hoof care and shoeing.

Noticed any niggles concerning your horse’s health that you’ve been meaning to get checked out? Put this at the top of your to-do list – no matter how small they seem. Your horse deserves to go into show season in peak condition! A physical examination by a vet that you trust should give you the peace of mind you need to start your pre-show season training right.

Don’t forget about your fitness

Of course, preparing for show season isn’t all about your horse! You need to make sure that your fitness is up to par also to ensure good stamina and posture and to reduce your risk of injury. With the change of seasons and an exciting year ahead, you’re sure to be spending more time in the saddle in the run-up to show season whilst training your horse. But it may be a good idea to complement this with some off-horse training too.

A woman jogging alongside her brown horse.

When you own a horse or multiple horses, finding time to go to the gym can feel pretty much impossible. But that’s ok – there’s plenty that you can do without needing to make that extra commitment. 

It will depend on your set-up, but could you start jogging or walking to the yard each day instead of driving? Try and focus on activities that will raise your heart rate a little each day. Wind down in the evenings with a bit of yoga or pilates. There are plenty of easily accessible YouTube videos online if you don’t have the time to attend a class. This will keep your muscles supple and improve your posture in the saddle.

Stabling your horse in the changing seasons

Naturally, your horse will need less time in stables as the weather picks up. It’s time to adjust your stabling routine for spring and increase your turn-out time. Allow your horse the chance to let off some steam and stretch its legs again. 

It’s best to do this gradually, increasing turn-out time by an hour each day over a period of 1-2 weeks. This will also help your horse acclimatise to the warmer weather in preparation for show season. Be aware that increased turnout can increase the risk of colic if not managed properly. Introducing changes slowly and gradually is the best course of action for your horse’s health.

We wish you all the best when kicking off your show season preparations and for your upcoming show schedule. If you feel it may be time to upgrade your stables for this important time, we’d love to help you. Contact us via our website or give us a call on 01789 766 533.

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