Planning Winter Training

No matter how many years it has been since I left school (a few….) September always feels like a fresh start.

Maybe it’s because it’s also the switch over from summer to autumn so the nights get darker, the weather gets colder and with that comes a change of routine for riding and fitness sessions.

I think it’s a really good time to sit down with a pen and a diary, planner, piece of paper etc. and make a plan of how your training is going to look for you and your horse from now until the end of the year. (Without causing alarm there are just 16 weeks left of 2018!).

For your horse:

  • What activities will he be doing? If he’s not likely to be out competing etc. maybe you want to give him a break, or if you have some winter competitions planned how fit do you need him to be?
  • What facilities do you have? If you have an indoor then time and weather may not be a problem, but does your outdoor have lights? Maybe you don’t have an arena and will be limited to hacking in daylight hours. Make a plan based on the fact it will be dark in the mornings and evenings and it may well be wetter and windier.
  • What do you want to work on? Have you struggled with a particular issue out competing this summer? Make this time your chance to really nail it and plan the exercises, schooling sessions etc. that you will use to help you overcome it.
  • Get your trainer involved in your goals so they can be best advised to help you when training you. If necessary also get your saddler, vet and horse bodyworker on board to help you along the way.

Of course we all know with horses you can make a plan and the next day you’re phoning the vet and ripping the plan up! However instead of falling at hurdles along the way go back your plan, regroup and amend as necessary. For example we had spells over summer when the arena was too soft to ride on, so instead I did groundwork with backwards, sideways and walking over poles. My original plan was work to get my horse using his back end improving his muscle tone so we still achieved some of those things just in a slightly different way so that when I got back on we hadn’t regressed at all-in fact I think it helped immensely.

For you:

I personally feel that autumn/winter is the perfect time to really work on your on fitness, balance, symmetry etc. As you are likely to be riding a little less, and the dark nights mean you tend to spend less time socialising at the yard so more time to focus on you!

  • What activities do you need to be fit for? There is difference in being fit to go a full days hunting to be being fit for a Dressage Test.
  • How fit for this activity are you currently? If you are feeling very unfit then start slowly and if you are fairly fighting fit maybe just a few tweaks to your routine could make all the difference.
  • Have you been struggling with something on your horse that could be caused in part by you? Now is the time to assess and work on any imbalances, injuries and weaknesses.
  • As with your horses training, get your planner out and write down your training aims and plan and get them scheduled into your week.
  • Who will you need to help you? Maybe it’s just a local class you need to sign up to, or you may need the help of a physio, personal trainer etc. whoever it is, contact them and get them on board to help you achieve your goals.

If you need some help with your goals I have availability for 1 2 1 training in the studio, so get in touch if you would like an appointment to see how I can help you.


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