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Tuesday 25th February, 2020

training a horse

Why training for show season needs to start now


Crocuses and daffodils are finally starting to pop out of the ground, signalling that spring is well and truly on its way. The equestrian events calendar is jam packed for 2020, with the first ones being the Cheltenham Festival on 10-13th March and the Blue Chip Show Jumping Championships on 1-5th April.

Even if you don’t compete at affiliate level, now is the perfect time to get ready for the upcoming show season. By starting to increase the frequency and intensity of your training, you and your horse can be in peak fitness, ready to take the riding clubs by storm in Spring. Here are some top tips to kick start your show season preparations.

Super supplements

Fitness is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition, so if you want to get the most out of your horse then you need to start upping the supplements. You may have already been using joint supporting supplements such as cod liver oil and glucosamine during the winter months. If not, now is the time to add them in, especially as you are going to be asking more of your horse’s musculoskeletal system in the coming weeks.

Training buddy

Training can be a hard slog, and on winter days it is all too tempting to hit snooze and start tomorrow. Why not find a friend on your yard or nearby who you can train with? Long hacks will increase endurance and long chats will make them go much quicker. It is also helpful to share schooling sessions as having someone on the ground to watch your riding position and offer advice can be very useful.

Plan ahead

There is no point in pushing your horse too fast or too hard at the last minute, as you will risk injury. If you need to qualify for an event check when your area qualifiers are and work backwards to give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Equally, you need to know your limits when it comes to capacity to train and riding ability. Do not be too ambitious as this will inevitably lead to disappointment. Remember that competing should be fun not frustrating!

Play hard

All work and no play is a recipe for disaster, so if you want to shine this spring then make sure you get plenty of rest and recovery. When placing extra demands on your horse, you need to provide plenty of down time to enable his recovery. Resting in a warm spacious stable is just as important as turning him out for play with his stable mates to aid recovery.

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