As a late Christmas present to myself in January I entered a BE CDT DAY @ West Wilts. The day was hosted by BE accredited trainer Clare Turner, and started with course/line walks, then a mounted lesson where we put what we had walked on the flat into practise. After lunch we discussed fitness, balance, safety, planning our events for the season ahead, and how to overcome any pitfalls that may arise. The whole day was hugely informative, and some of the stuff discussed was a real eye opener. Clare Turner was fantastic she has a really infectious enthusiasm, and massive wealth of equestrian knowledge. I would recommend one of these days to any competitor who wants to event either unaffiliated or 4* you will get so much out of it.
Here are the videos of the exercises we did, and below those a few of the tips and tactics I learnt from the day.
Tips and tactics…
1) Work out exactly how long each d/sj/xc warm up will take you, and a check list for that warm up. This will help you stay calm and in control
2) Time yourself doing a xc canter and see how long it takes before the horse begins to tire, and your legs start to ache. Note this time, and work on making it longer
3) Peg out a set distance, canter it, and time yourself to get the “feel” for the correct speed xc. Intro should be aiming at 500mpm
4) A 20m canter circle has 20 strides in it. place 4 poles north, east, south, and west on the circle and count 4 strides between each pole, with one stride for the pole. Learn to “count your dressage tests” for better acuracy.
5) Don’t over ride “bogey fences” as this is more likely to result in faults. Remember both seat bones, both legs, and both reins in contact, sit quiet, and create the space for the horse to jump.
6) What you do uphill you should also be able to do downhill eg trot/canter up and down hills.
7) Don’t just “school” your horse “train” it. If there is a puddle go through it, if there are noisey builders ride past them so that your horse learns to be bold and obedient. Don’t be overprotective of it, experience is an advantge.
8 ) XC ride the 1st 3 fences like the last 3, and the last 3 fences like the 1st 3.
9) SJ ride straight lines not curves
10) Write down 3 good things each week you have achieved this will help you reference back to how far you have progressed
11) Get into a habit of taking yours and your horse’s temp, pulse, and resp’ rates. This is a good early indicator of illness or injury.
12) Make sure you eat and drink well at events. Eat fruit such as bananas, and keep well hydrated as this drastically improves concentration and decision making.
13) Set yourself aims for the season, here are mine…
MY AIMS FOR 2009
Dressage – to gain a score(s) in the low 30’s
SJ – to get a clear(s) round (with or without time faults)
XC – to get a clear(s) round inside the time
Overall – to be placed at Intro and move up to PN by the end of the season if all is going well.
…and most important of all try to ride like Mary King!