I’ll be the first to admit I used to have a horrible plan when it came to organising my weekly sessions. Even more so when they were leading up to a competition. I used to drill, drill and drill until I stressed myself out, made the horse tense and then felt like throwing in the towel for that weekends competition.
Perhaps have a little sob on the inside… and outside.
It can be so easy to spiral down into a rut when you feel under pressure. I haven’t been into the competition arena for over 7 months, while this might not seem like a long time for some it was an extremely long time for me! I’ll be honest, I didn’t have a perfectly planned week leading into it. But it worked out pretty well on the day.
Because I didn’t stress out. I stuck to my usual weekly plan.
I had a paddock ride on the previous Sunday, Monday was a day off, Tuesday was a lunging session, Wednesday I had a super ride in the arena, Thursday was day off, Friday was a lunging day as was Saturday.
Things come up during the week and the days get shifted around or I simply run out of hours in the day.
The day of the competition I made sure I got on and had a good strong walk around the indoor to warm up, followed by a forward trot and canter. Then I ran through our transitions within the trot and canter. Made sure he felt positive, forward and was listening to my aids.
My goal on the day was to score over 60% and I achieved this goal. I felt focused, I felt like I rode positively towards that goal. Of course, there is always something to work on and to strive for better marks, a few miscommunications and not well-prepared transitions during the test. But that is what this sport is all about, setting a plan to achieve your goals to progress through the levels.
Ideally my weeks would be to ride 3-4 times a week, lunge at least 2-3 times a week with 1-2 days off. Of course, being an amateur owner/rider, the days can change with work and weather etc. The days I ride I mix it up between the arena and the big paddock. I don’t like to do the ‘same thing’ two days in a row. Mixing it up is beneficial to the horses’ mind and body.
It is all part of our training system that we are forever evolving and shaping into something better. Every rider is different, every rider runs their stable differently and every rider trains differently. But we are all in this sport together, wanting to achieve our goals and become better riders to advance up the levels and get the best out of our horses. While keeping them fit, healthy, happy and enjoying the work.
I honestly enjoy reading about other riders training systems. How many days a week they work the horses, what kind of work, what body work the horses have, what training gear they use, how they recover the horses after the work and what they focus on with their horse within their weekly routine. I find it so fascinating finding out even the smallest detail of the way they run their own stable.
When you really think about it, it is everything and everyone involved who contribute towards your training system, your weekly plan and your success to achieving your goals.
For me most importantly besides the training aspect, I ensure our horses body work is once a month. Which, since setting their body work on a regular basis. I can see a huge difference not only in their performance but also in their posture and their work ethic. I also have set homework of stretches for the horses to help improve between their sessions. But I have to admit, I do try and be an A+ student! ? it truly is satisfaction seeing the horses improve between visits knowing how well you have been doing your homework!
How does your training plan look? Do you have a plan, do you wing it, do you feel stressed out week after week or simply play it by ear?
I’m one of ‘those’ people who enjoy reading a book that as paper pages, I enjoy printing things to highlight important details. That why I have a small basic planner to help you think about your weekly aims and goals. I find it beneficial to sit down and put pen to paper and write out things.
The basic weekly planner can be downloaded from here, completely free! It is emailed directly to you after check out! (it’s my way to keep tabs on how many are downloaded ?, any problems let me know and I can send it to you directly!)