Winter Training - Just In Case, There Will Still Be Winter This Year

Jap, winter still looks like this in Austria!

This year is special. Not only do we have one of the mildest November's ever, no, this year I will also have the luxury of having an indoor! After years in the freezing cold with sometimes edgy footing, this year will be warm, cozy, perfect footing!

No more freezing cold outdoor rides!

Even though I cannot imagine the cold and wet and snow and ugly yet, for sure we will have to face winter soon. This is the perfect time to think about winter training plans. For now, it seems to be almost sure that our first show will be in March with a chance of a riding a show in mid February - depending on snow (or no). Top of the list of new movements are the flying changes which we are already started working on. The last two weeks I did not really focus on them though.

The flip side of having an indoor is that you tend to stay indoor all winter, a fact that Hafl would indeed find boring. So what is the plan? Thank God, around our barn we have some all year hacking trails (actually, they are streets so no mud, no freezing). And even though I am not the one who goes out hacking too often, I will for sure take this opportunity and try to get outside into the wild once a week. Realistically, this will be somewhere between Friday and Sunday.



One to two day Hafl will have off, typically it used to be Monday and Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday will be regular training sessions where we work on movements - I am now of the opinion that doing the same focus for two days in a row helps.

Leaves two (ore three) more days. One day will be dedicated to lunging. The other day will be a day to chose from freework, in hand work, ground work/trick training or even free jumping. Lunging should help in overall suppleness and to stay in shape - both of us. On the cavesson, with a bridle, with a Tellington Jones Body Wrap, without it - changing the way of lunging ensures that it will be interesting for the horse even when it is actually always the same. We should also not forget the double lunge/long lining which we forgot a bit during summer.


Double lunging: yes, we can!

In hand work can also be used to replace a traditional warm up. Walk and trot work fine for us, I still dream of having him canter as well - either he needs to work on his sitting capabilities or I need to work on my fitness to run after him - we need to figure that out. I might need to do a bit more of research and combine it with long lining. Our standard repertoire is straight and bent, shoulder in, haunches in, leg yield, all in walk and trot. Would be great to find some time to work on our half pass. Actually, I need to find some good resources on this issue.

Shoulder in
Haunches in 
Ground work and trick training should be good alternatives for the days when we are both not motivated. I am still thinking that I could teach him to lay down - but to be honest, right now I have no clue. Another thing to find some resources for.

Recently, we did some more freework but Hafl seemed to be already super bored from just running around me and doing transitions. I also started to work with him on flying changes - which went pretty well. Gives me some hope for under saddle flying changes as he is really changing back to front when being freeworked.

Just today I asked our jumping instructor if we could do some free jumping from time to time. Hafl loves to jump and as I will never be a show jumper, at least he should enjoy some fences from time to time.

Hafl's overall constitution is very good, he already built up a nice topline over the last 6 months since we changed home. Still, I am considering to get back to our interval training on the lunge line once we are approaching show season.

What interval training looks like

I already cannot wait for show season to begin and it seems so near and yet so far. I am also happy that this year is almost over meaning that we can soon think about new goals for 2016! And review the old ones! Always fun!


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