In the first of a new series for Train to Win, Ros Morgan takes a look at how you can benefit from winter competitions.
With the indoor season fast approaching many of you may now be thinking of competing in the Baileys Winter Series classes – Jump Training and Arena Eventing.
Whether you are a grassroots rider or a rider aspiring to a higher level, producing a young horse or building a relationship with a new partner these are some of the tools and ideas that I like to implement with my riders and which I feel could enhance and develop your improvement if you take away what you need from each one.
With this in mind what is your plan, review your season – the highs and the lows, and did you put a Performance Plan in place for you and you Horse or Pony? Have you achieved your goals?
I always like to break things down with my riders and look at the rider then the horse, and horses individually. We then look at the performance results of the horse and rider combination. Usually a pattern starts to emerge about the Performance Outcomes that can fall into several categories.
– Weather, Ground Conditions, Surface and Grass
– Course, Technicality, Terrain
– Fitness, Age, Strength and Condition, Heat
– Focus, Noise, Positioning of the three disciplines from each other
– Journey, Ease of Travel, Time Management
All these may be relevant to all three phases and must be discussed and investigated.
With this in mind use the winter to address some of the weaknesses that you feel may be detrimental to your performance during the 2019 season and enhance the strengths that will lead to a continued improvement in confidence and performance for 2020 for both you and your horse and pony.
With Jump Training, you have two rounds of show jumping at your chosen height. A British Eventing Accredited Coach is on-hand during the warm-up with a second coach in the ring to watch you riding the show jumping rounds. They provide you with feedback and relevant points that they observed during your first round to enable you to improve upon during your second round. Remember, these coaches may not have seen you or your horse and pony before and will not change what you are doing, only suggest ideas or actions that may be of benefit to you. I would suggest that you video the performance so that you can analyse the rounds with your home coach to see if they feel the same knowing where you have both come from during the 2019 season.
This opens up better communication and a structured beneficial support to you the rider in your journey to improve and evolve.
With Arena Eventing you are asked to jump both a Show Jumping and a Cross Country phase, over courses ranging from 80cm to 100cm which now have Open sections too. At the end of the course there is a single Joker show jump 10cms higher. This gives you a wonderful opportunity to work on Technical Fences in a confined space on a safe surface. It encourages focus and quality of pace correct for both disciplines and planning.
The time spent in the arena is long due to you jumping both courses consecutively so focus, stamina and memory will all be drawn upon. Style is also a large factor in both competitions and the quality of turnout and presentation of both yourself and your horse or pony is very important.
Again use video, analyse and discuss and using your initial review identify areas that may again have been highlighted during the competition.
Remember, enjoy your winter it is a great time to better understand yourself and you horse or pony so that you are better placed to help and support each other when you need to.