So last season Humphrey and I managed to qualify for this year’s 90 Mitsubitshi Motors Cup at Badminton which we are super excited about.
I thought I would do a little blog about the lead up to the competition in May and what we have been up to in preparation.
As everybody knows winter is a fairly lousy time for horse riders, and finding motivation to get out in the wind/rain/ice/snow is not exactly easy.
So this year I decided to plan my competition diary nice and early so that we could start 2018 and hit the ground running. I really wanted to use winter to brush up on dressage and show jumping which I often slightly neglect in the winter as motivation levels are low.
Most of the venues near me have now changed to pre-entry for all competitions and this means being extra organised. In some ways I think has helped as you don’t wake up on a horrible January morning and decide you can’t be bothered, as you have already paid for your entry.
So I managed to get organised and enter our first event of this year the first week after New Year. It was a British Show Jumping show at Summerhouse for their New Years Kick off. Humphrey was fab jumping in the 1m discovery doing a double clear and coming 5th and then stepping up to his first 105cm.
The following weekend we were back at Summerhouse for some unaffiliated dressage. I want to try and get a few dressage outings in before the eventing season commences as when eventing if you don’t get a good mark in the dressage then you are unlikely to finish up the placings. It is all about trying to get the relaxation and concentration of your horse within the white boards and I think the best way to do this is to practice under a competition atmosphere. Having said that winter dressage tends to be on a surface so I will also (when the weather improves slightly) set up my white arena guttering in the field and park a car at one end so that Humphrey remembers what being outside is all about.
We have been working hard over the winter on some more advanced movements so I decided I would enter the novice to test us a bit as well as the prelim. I was thrilled when Humphrey managed to win his Novice test.
We did two more British Showjumping outings this month one more at Summerhouse with another 1m and 105cm and then last weekend we ventured to Hartpury to attempt a Newcomers 110cm. I was absolutely thrilled that we achieved a double clear; however Humphrey was incredibly spooky at the atmosphere and banners in the indoor arena. I think some more practice is needed in these big atmospheres before badminton in May.
As well as lots of dressage and Show jumping competition practice, I have been trying to fit in a few sessions with my trainer. I’ve decided it’s a really good idea before my lesson to have a good think about what I want to work on so that I can iron out some of my weaknesses.
I will be starting to ramp up our fitness/canter work from now on as the start of eventing season is getting very near. I will aim to do a canter work session every 5 days. I will warm up for around 10-15 minutes trotting on a short hack. Then find a hilly field to do three minutes of canter followed by two minutes recovery. I will repeat this twice more, then cool down with a hack home. To begin with if Humphrey feels particularly unfit then I may just do two repetitions and build up from there.
I also decided January would be a good time to get the horses booked in for a good MOT.
We have had Humphrey clipped, which is a mission as he is a bit of a monkey and needed some sedative to help him relax. We have had the saddle fitter out to check saddles and have had a bit of re-flocking done and a new saddle pad. I have checked all vaccinations are up to date and put booster dates in the diary. I have booked Hannah Complin my Physio in for pre-season treatments and will book the dentist out to come and check teeth. This way I have some confidence that the horses are feeling at their best.
I have also just booked in for our first session at the new water treadmill at Summerhouse equestrian centre which is meant to be amazing for fitness. I will do a video blog about this next month as it’s something I’ve never tried before and will be really interesting to share the experience with you all.
One last thing that I have been trying to work on is my own fitness. I figured that if I want Humphrey to perform at his best come May it is important that I work on my own fitness, strength and suppleness. How can I expect Humphrey to go well if I am sitting like a sack of spuds. So I have been doing Pilates from you tube in my sitting room. Hopefully if I keep this up for a few weeks I might start to notice a difference in my riding.
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