Everyone is gearing up for their season ahead and our sponsored riders are working hard to make sure both themselves and their horses are in the best condition possible.
We spoke to some of them to sneak some of the their top tips on how they prepare for the season ahead.
Katie Preston – “Spend time making sure you know your horses really well – not just ridden but their personality, quirks, lumps and bumps etc. That way you will know instantly if something is wrong or if they aren’t happy with the current routine/pressure/workload and you can sort things out before it really goes wrong! Often a little tweak is all it takes to have them bouncing again.”
Sam Penn – “My tip would be to do some of your schooling whilst out hacking. It’s a good way to make sure your horse is working properly and getting maximum benefit from his time exercising and also to know that he is attentive when surrounded by distractions. It is good practice for being at busy events. Trotting along the road is a great place to practice shoulder in and turns about the forehand are perfect for opening gates. If available then 10 minutes of working on grass reminds them how to work in the mud!”
Tomas Hanlon – “Keep things simple when teaching horses a new movement. Teach one thing at a time and reward, repeat and leave it alone. Keep things simple, one step at a time. Don’t press all the buttons on the dashboard at once! It gives too many signals and may cause a crash. Make sure you reward the horse with the inside rein, dont throw away your outside rein. Ride the back end forward to lighten the forehand.”
Sam Roberts – “Make sure before you go to your show, you practice your in hand & that your pony runs up nicely next to you. This is an important part of your class that often gets overlooked. Also pack a clean full neck New Zealand that you can put over your pony when you are at a show if it’s wet, that way they stay clean, warm and dry!”
Team Smeeth – “A top tip from us is to be prepared. Making sure you horse is happy and healthy which covers a wide range of things including feeding the correct rations, work routine, farrier, rugging etc. Also remember to groom your horse, many people don’t groom horses like they used to. All of our horses are groomed properly which does use elbow grease. To get a real shine on your horses coat you must put the preparation in.”
Dan Neilson – “My top tip for the start of the season is after a winter break I like to build my horses fitness back up by using cavalettis and lots of small jumps in to their weekly routines, before getting back in to the ring.”
Camilla James – “Along with a good diet, my Dressage horses get plenty of hacking and turnout which is so important to keep them healthy and happy in body and mind”
Team Hewson – “For show prep we have separate show baskets one for Kate’s kit which has her hair bands/ nets/brush and spray, then ties and stocks, tie pins, spare gloves, safety stirrup bands, jodhpur clips, number elastic, scissors, membership cards & pony passports. Then a basket to take ringside with grooming kit, wet wipes, Supreme Sparkle, which Kate loves for the smell as much as the shine, then for mum Rescue Remedy and for Kate Strawberry Laces, which we often share down the line when waiting to strip.”
Charlotte Lane – “Before the start of the up and coming competition season I always put in a couple of weeks long reining before I get on, or put them to work carriage driving. I’ve always found that this gets them responding to my voice and hands, and usually means that they are fitter and more likely to work well when I do. I even longrein the in hand-ponies as it focusses their minds and improves their outline.”