Wow, so you made it through the summer! Are you still heading off to the last couple of competitions? After months of training, successes and exhaustion the competition season is drawing to a close. For those of you that still have competitions running until November, then you need to keep going!
Many months of hard work have hopefully paid off and your horse is going pretty well. Lots of practise has refined the technical aspects of your training. And you have qualified for the championships! Well done. How can you keep this momentum without overdoing it?
Tip 1 - As you head to the peak of your horses fitness (yours too probably!), remember the importance of a short but well deserved break! Two to four days without training will allow your horses muscles to rest and rejuvenate so that they have the strength for when you need it!
Have you considered that although there is nothing really wrong with your horse, that perhaps a Massage before the last competition will release the stress and tension from months of training? This will improve your performance in your final competitions.
Tip 2 - A good idea is that you treat both yourself and your horse to a massage around the same time. Massage will release the tension, improve immunity and provide enough (relaxed and positive) energy to see you through to the end of the season!
Horses need a slow transition from competition to a well earned break. After your last competition then it is time to taper down the work. As with every competition, light work the next day is imperative to help the body. However start a new plan to prepare your horse for his winter holiday.
Tip 3 - Reduce workloads accordingly. This means first reduce one of these at a time; Intensity, duration or frequency. I recommend intensity to start. Follow this with a reduction in duration of workouts and lastly frequency. A baseline fitness should be maintained with a minimal of 3 workouts per week. The type of work however should be varied and NOT like training.
The road to Tapering-down is similar to the path travelled to build up for peak fitness, only reversed (naturally). You will need to take good care of your horses body so that it can optimally recover. Before you put him out to rest, resolve any issues that presented themselves during the year. A final massage before or during a complete break stimulates the body’s self healing ability and optimises the holiday time.
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