I thought day 2 might be a little quieter, but with a couple of dressage tests to prep for interspersed with course walks today has flown by. With all the intensity and preparation that goes into dressage, it’s easy to forget that there are 2 more phases to get done. Reviewing of the tests will happen over the next few weeks to determine the next phase of training! But for now the dressage coaches head off with their job done, almost as if to say “don’t mess it up now”!
The psychology of cross country is fascinating to consider. When I’m walking courses with riders, my role is not necessarily to offer technical advice, but more to help the riders form a clear picture in their minds and be able to deliver cognitive skills such as calculation and decision making under pressure and at high speed. Walking with different riders I’m conscious that strategies can differ greatly between riders and horses, and I’m listening to what they are planning and even the language they’re using to gauge what they need and how we best package it. Tomorrow will be about honing down that focus, but for now we’re looking to gather information to make clear plans.
I’ll go into more detail about how we do this tomorrow, but the general consensus about the course is that it is softer than last year. What is most noticeable is that where previously there have been long galloping stretches these are now broken up with fences that will require the riders to be positive at otherwise they’ll lose time. Time looks tough tomorrow.
So, 4 course walks done, over 30km walked and back first thing to finalise things before we get started! The top 20 or so riders are tightly packed so the next 2 days will be very exciting!
To learn more about Jon’s role and how he works with riders visit his website www.fittoride.org