An all-rounder’s fitness routine is especially important, because he is asked to do so many things. A regular base routine is critical to help keep both you and your horse fit enough to enjoy all the activities you wil do together.
Stick to a routine…
Horses get security from having a routine; being fed and turned out at the same time every day, and ridden or exercised for a similar amount of time.
…but add some variety
On top of that routine, they also benefit from some variety. If your horse is becoming dull or lethargic in his work, see if you can take him to a new place, or ride out with friends.
Just like yourself, a day out can lift your horse’s spirits no end.
Compete a level below the one you are working on at home. Asking the maximum a horse is capable of in strange surroundings is asking to fail.
Instead, build confidence by doing the familiar, until you are ready to move up.
Train in canter
If you are going to a one-day event, a sponsored ride or anything that involves cantering for a distance, be sure to plan ahead and introduce extra fittening work, mostly in the form of more canter work, about four weeks before.
Travelling can be stressful and take almost as much out of a horse as competing. To make his journey easy, drive with care, braking and accelerating smoothly.
Make sure he has plenty of ventilation (not in his eyes!) and get him out as soon as possible to stretch his legs when you arrive.
About Tina Sederholm
Tina Sederholm is a top riding trainer and author, who has evented to international level.