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The Eventing Season Looms…Fear Not RS-tor Rider Emma Douglas is Here to Advise!

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Now Christmas and New Year are done and dusted many rider’s are beginning to think about preparing for the Eventing season! So in our latest blog RS-tor and our sponsored rider Emma Douglas takes a look at preparation tips and advice pre season!

 

Emma says…

“It is January, which for many horse enthusiasts means one thing – the countdown to the start of the eventing season in March! When I was eventing, I loved the anticipation of the new season. I was the British Eventing Scottish Intro Champion with my horse Murphy, some years ago – although I now compete as a grade two rider in Para Dressage, as a result of L1 spinal injury resulting in Incomplete Paraplegia.

British Eventing (BE) annually organises around 200 affiliated events across the country, and the eventing season runs from March to October every year, weather conditions permitting. Many unaffiliated events also begin cropping up in early spring, and riders are currently busily venturing out to training venues to get back into the saddle, and help their horses regain fitness and confidence across country.

Getting ready for the season can seem daunting, but being prepared will help the process! Here are my tips -

Use pre-event coaching 

Undergo some pre-event coaching – British Eventing runs several coaching sessions starting mid-February – popular venues include Merrist Wood College, Rawlins Farm in Basingstoke, Ely Equestrian in Cambridgeshire and Heathfield Hall in Rotherfield to name just a few around the country! Check the British Eventing website or ask a British Eventing Accredited Coach for details of training events near you.

Take your horse to a cross country training venue

If you have been limited with regard to riding over cross country fences over winter, practising at a local cross country venue is the ideal way to prepare for the season, without the pressure of having to complete a course. You can develop stamina, practice bogey fences, and work on your horse’s confidence in your own time. Remember to take an RS-tor riding safety aid; it is an ideal accessory for jumping enthusiasts, as it provides extra stability; perfect for riders with young or excitable horses, and for boosting rider confidence. (Visit www.rstor.co.uk for info.)

The RS-tor is ideal in situations where riders may grab a piece of mane to gain balance over higher fences, and also helps prevent the horse being jabbed in the mouth during an unexpected cat leap, as the rider will not need to lean on the reins. I bought my RS-tor at the beginning of last year, after I fell off my new ride Solly in October 2013, and broke my heel. I bought it to help get my confidence back quickly, which it did. I love it! It also gives me great confidence out hacking; you forget that you are holding it, as it is unobtrusive and comfortable to hold.

Work on your flatwork at home

One of the most important areas to address at the beginning of the eventing season is actually flatwork – it is the basis for all jumping work, and may have been compromised over the winter due to the excessive snow, holiday commitments, and general ‘roughing off’ and winding down.

Successful cross country riding relies on a balanced, supple way of going. The horse must be in front of the leg, going forwards into an accepting rein contact, with a clear connection from the rider’s leg.

Even if your facilities are compromised with the unpredictable weather conditions we have been experiencing, if you are riding, you can still work on the quality of the horse’s walk, and his responses to your transitional aids. One of the simplest exercises to use is the walk / halt / walk transition – this is easy to carry out, and is ideal for situations when the weather means you cannot use faster paces, e.g. if the arena is flooded or is a little uneven. It can even be carried out when hacking, although the horse’s focus may be compromised – all you need is a straight track, and a safe place to carry out the exercise, e.g. a quiet bridleway that you know. Here’s a simple over-view:

  1. After you have warmed up on a longer rein, start by walking the horse in a straight line, with a good rein contact. The walk should be relaxed, ‘forward’ and active. Make sure you’re happy with the walk before asking for a halt.
  1. Use your normal halt aids – the horse’s reaction should be immediate; try to improve slow reaction times, as you will need a responsive horse across country. Once you have halted, sit quietly.
  1. The horse should ideally be relaxed, waiting for the leg aid – so when it is given, it is a definite instruction. Apply your walk aids with an allowing hand. Repeat the exercise; you can build up to just three or four steps of walk in between each halt transition.

Set goals!

Do you have a training goal? Write down your eventing resolutions for 2015 – putting them in writing helps you be proactive and positive!”

To find out more about the RS-tor used by Emma Douglas visit the websitewww.rstor.co.uk for more information or to purchase today!

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