New Year, New Discipline
New year, new me so they say! I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and New year! Since I was young I have always wanted to get into eventing. The thrill of cross country, precision of dressage and balance of show jumping made it something I’ve always inspired to be a part of. I suppose at the grand old age of 21 I better start chasing my dreams! Read on to find out how I plan to get benny (and myself) fit for eventing and some of my top tips if you want to change your discipline too!
Benny and I have competed in all three disciplines separately but never as one, especially not in one day! Fitness will be a huge thing for both of us in the next few months before our local venues begin their ODEs again. I have let my fitness slip due to weight loss and illness, unfortunately that means poor Benny has got a little bit chubby and in turn is also not quite as fit as he once was.
My plan to get him and I back into action I quite simple. I’m starting up gym this month, I’ve found a local gym for women only which is fab as I’ve always found the gym a very intimidating place for young women. Regarding Benny, I will be riding 5 times a week; 2 days of flatwork will be followed with 2 days jumping and a day of hacking with a break in between. I’ve found some brilliant flatwork and jumping exercises on Pinterest, I highly recommend looking on there for ideas for schooling sessions. The main aim will be to get him using his hind end more as he is very front wheel drive, while also getting that bit more collection we need on the flat. Jumping wise I just want to keep him steady and again using his hind end to get more scope over fences. Hacking is something we both enjoy and luckily, we have miles of off road hacking in our area, one of the routes even has some home made XC jumps to pop over in the better weather.
I also plan to get Benny to some XC schooling days before the season starts, he can happily pop over up to 80cm at the moment, but I would love to have him happy and comfortable doing about 1 metre. We’re very fortunate to have quite a few venues within about a half hour drive, so getting him out and about shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
If you want to change your discipline, all I can say is definitely give it a go! Here are some of my top tips:
- Make sure you and your horse are comfortable with your new discipline. Don’t rush into something you are unsure of or worse, frightened of. It’s a recipe for disaster so it is always better to make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.
- Get your gear! I wasn’t aware for so long that you weren’t allowed fixed peak helmets during XC, so make sure you do your research in to what gear is need for which discipline and what standards they must be up to.
- Research venues. Make sure you’ve researched where does the disciplines you want to get into, I’ve noticed where I live there are not very many that do unregistered ODEs. You want to be sure you don’t have to spend a small fortune on long journeys just to get to a venue.
- Invest in an instructor who knows/has competed in the discipline you want to start. They can give you inside knowledge and brilliant guidance into the best ways to school your horse, some may also help you at shows during the warm up. An outside opinion is always helpful when it’s from someone who has experience in that field.
I hope you enjoyed this blog and I will keep you updated on how I get on with eventing! See you all in the next blog!