Spring Is Near
Hi, everyone! Welcome to my second Tottie blog of 2017! I hope you enjoyed my last one and in this blog, I’m going to introduce you to my Welsh Section D, Ben and let you know what we get up to in the run up to summer competitions. We don’t have a strict training schedule as such but we work on various aspects of our jumping or flatwork to prepare for upcoming shows so we can do our very best! If you would like to know how, just keep reading!
Obviously, horse and rider fitness is very important for a successful partnership. I, myself, try to eat as healthy as possible and keep fit, while Ben is on a diet at the moment (believe me, he needs to lose that winter tub!) he is also ridden up to 5 times a week to keep his fitness up. As we mainly compete in show jumping, that is one of the main aspects of our fitness work. Pole work such as raised poles and various patterns of ground poles help him with elevation and rhythm. I love gridwork, Ben…not so much, so it’s something we really must work on as he is not as quick with his front legs as his back. ‘V-poles’ also help to encourage him to lift his front legs up a bit snappier and we are going to start working on our jump off turns which Ben has shown plenty of times he is capable off (leaving me in the dirt!).
Flatwork is hugely important for me as Ben loves rushing around between jumps and generally being a speed demon. Circles, serpentines and repeated transition changes have become our best friends! Ben used to rush from his trot to canter by chucking in his huge Welshie trot instead of picking up canter, with a lot of transition work and pole work he now pleasantly takes up canter with just a mere squeeze of my legs! In the hopes of getting into more dressage competitions this summer, we are starting to work on impulsion and getting him to use his back end. A huge help came from my friend Shannon Stubbs, a trainee Equine Therapist and Equine Touch Therapist who worked on his back end and in one session greatly improved his striding and impulsiveness!
We also love hacking, especially at our new yard! Hill work and resistance work on loose soil has really helped him build up his strength and stamina. As much as I try to keep him steady, Ben loves nothing more than letting rip and tearing up a poor farmer’s field with me hanging on for dear life! I can’t complain however, it does get those extra beans out of him!
I am desperate to get him out to more cross country this spring in the hopes of giving eventing a go this year. Hopefully we can give it a go as I’m sure he would love it! A local equestrian centre offers jump-cross classes so we’re also going to take ourselves round that at some point soon. I can’t wait to get out competing again and would love to know what you all plan to do this summer, let me know on my Instagram @erinandbenny.
See you in my next blog!