It’s always such a downer when the events are over and the season is finished. I normally plan one week ahead, knowing what to do every single day. If I compete on a Saturday the week would usually look like this:
Saturday – Competition.
Sunday – Off, leave him out in the field for as long as possible.
Monday – Lunging using a bungy. Make him stretch and go forward.
Tuesday – Grid work.
Wednesday – Hack or a trip to the beach.
Thursday – Flatwork.
Friday – Off or light forward work.
I’m trying not to ride in the arena, doing the same thing, two days in a row. Every day is different and every week includes days off, lunging, flatwork, grid work, and a hack or a beach trip. I very rarely jump a course at home, and never ever to the height I’m competing at. I think I did that only once since April. I much prefer grid work with bounces, raised trotting poles or just canter poles. Rebel needs to respect the poles a little bit more, and I feel this is very helpful for us, as he is looking where he’s going and can now canter over poles without having a complete meltdown. There are endless exercises out there for both trot and canter. Most horses know how to jump, but it’s our job to make the ‘in between’ work. When they are mid-air it’s just too late.
Rebel has, since I bought him, always lost his head when jumping. He would never listen to me, we would just run to the jump and hope for the best. He rarely stops, and I trust him with all my heart, but he needs to relax more. So small jumps and pole work is just what he needs. Every single week. Just to normalize the jumps and make it less exciting.
My previous plan for the winter was to affiliate him in show jumping, but I’ve changed my mind. I will save that £138 and put it towards lessons instead. Meaning I will compete less and learn more. I currently have 5 flatwork instructors I love, however, with more chefs comes more mess, so I have decided to stick with just two, both equally great but who teach very differently.
However, I do need to find a good jumping instructor, which is so difficult. I don’t want to jump at home, but I don’t want to travel far either. So looking for someone near me, who is available in the evenings or weekends, with a great arena and jumps, who most importantly: wants us to do well. I need someone who can push me, shout at me in between jumps and tell me when I ride rotten. How else can I get any better? And I want to be really really good.