Returning to pre-season Training.
Spring is at the door and the competition season is just a month or two away. For those who have had a relaxing winter its time to start again. For those who have been training over the winter, its time to step it up.
As the old saying goes Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail! Now is a good time to plan your competition schedule. Once you have done this, you can plan your training schedule so that your horses performance ‘peaks’ at the right time
Tip 1 - Integrate a few new techniques to help reach your competition goals. Consult a Sports Coach to assist with conditioning your horse and help enhance your performance.
Take it easy at the start. Remember how your muscles hurt (DOMS) when you commence seasonal sports? Your horses muscles will need to be conditioned for hard work. Remember as per my previous blogs allow rest periods and incorporate cross training.
Tip 2 - Start slowly - Not just for technical training but also for fitness.
Make a point to note the areas where you can improve. You and your horse are an athletic team and need to work together. You have your strengths and weaknesses as does your horse. Remember you can both have ‘off’ days.
Tip 3 - Intersperse training to correct weaknesses with training for something you both do well as a form of reward. This way the energy associated with your training will be positive.
There are three different ways to increase how ‘hard’ your horse works. Duration, Intensity and Frequency. Each has benefits but do not increase all at the same time. This results in overload and can cause fatigue related issues.
Tip 4 - As already mentioned, plan your training schedule. I recommend allowing 2-3 weeks between increasing workloads.
Know and monitor your horses fitness!! This is very important; heart rate, respiratory rate, temp etc. The fitter your horse is the quicker these will return to normal which is a good way to monitor fitness. Also regular veterinary checks are essential, even when there is nothing wrong.
Tip 5 - Measure your horses fitness regularly. Record the results so that you can monitor changes and also further tailor your schedule.
Remember to balance workloads with resting periods to avoid overuse issues. Monitor fitness so you know when you can safely increase loading. Good luck for the upcoming season!
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