Evening all! Although the competition season is over, things are still full steam ahead here at GDD. Today we had a visit from one of our sponsors, Protexin Equine to stock up on supplements before Christmas but the last few days i've been busy teaching, riding, and clipping so there hasn't been much to blog about, however i'm thinking about doing a product review on my new cordless clippers - the Heiniger Saphir's. Since using them this winter I don't know why I didn't switch to cordless clippers sooner... they are FAB! I thought this blog would be a good idea to show you an insight into my horses training program... Enjoy!
Variety is key, it really really is! All of my horses enjoy a varied training schedule which ranges from schooling, to hacking, to pole work/grid work and more! Here is a list of all the different "activities" that my horses do and my reasoning behind it.
Schooling - Well i'm not sure that this needs much explanation, but I will talk about how many schooling sessions a week my horses do later in this blog. A typical schooling session will last around 45 minutes.
Lunging - I think lunging is important as it gives the horse a chance to really stretch out and work nicely over their back. I like to lunge my horses so I can see how they are moving without a rider on... It's also a good way to detect any lameness or weaknesses. Im not a fan of pessoa's as I feel this restricts the horse too much, instead I use a simple lunging aid. (lunging aid pictured at the bottom of the blog in the slideshow!).
Hacking - In my opinion, the most important of them all! A great way of strengthening the muscles (especially if you can hack up lots of hills!) without the pressure of school work. This also gives the horse a chance to walk on different surfaces and undulations which will help to strength tendons and ligaments.
Pole work/Grid work/Jumping - Although I mainly focus on pole work, very occasionally some of my horses might try some jumping. I find pole work is a great way to teach the horse how to lengthen their stride and also to teach them how to come up and move more through their shoulders.
In hand groundwork - This is something that I am relatively new to and I started to incorporate it in my horses regime during the summer. I've already seen a big difference in their suppleness and I've found the in hand work a great way to give the horse confidence in showing where to place and cross their legs during exercises such a leg yields and shoulder-in's. I'm still "learning the ropes" with the in hand work, but with monthly help from in hand extraordinaire Diane Thurman-Baker I am always improving my technique and learning new exercises.
Water Treadmill - This is an extremely new addition to the regime and currently just Doogie will complete one water treadmill session a week (see my previous blog post to read how Doogie's first treadmill session went!)
My weekly plan is different for each of my horses, for example, Doogie benefits more from the in hand sessions whereas Tebby (Laurentina) benefits more from pole work sessions. Here's how a typical week might look like for each horse:
Monday - School
Tuesday - Hack
Wednesday - Lunge
Thursday - School
Friday - Hack & Water Treadmill
Saturday - In hand
Sunday - Day off
Monday - School
Tuesday - School
Wednesday - Hack
Thursday - Lunge
Friday - Pole work
Saturday - School
Sunday - Day off
My horses also enjoy daily turnout which I believe is mentally very good for them to have some down time and enjoy a nice roll. :-)