Spring Training Plans

Spring time is definitely the most pleasant time for horse training. It is not yet that hot, there are not yet that many flies and other insects flying around and it is light already until 8 something.

It is always a balancing act between serious training, shows and relaxing and fun times. In winter, we concentrate on training but there is also a lot of fun time. I feel somewhat guilty when I am not training that much before the shows. So we will start off with a strict and proper 5-days week again. There will be 6-days weeks but that should still be an exception.

The training sessions will consist of the following:

- Lunging with the focus on canter work (Once, without riding afterwards)

- Riding: 

              + Cardio (Once a week)

              + Above and beyond the comfort zone (Lunging before riding with focus on suppleness                  and bending (Once a week)

              + Riding new movements

- Long Rein/In Hand Work

Lunging: The lunging part will be as we had it before on the cavesson, no aid reins. Walk for 10mins as a warm up, light trot, trot walk transitions for suppleness, spiral in and out to keep the inner hind leg busy. What I am looking for in canter is steady beat and keep increasing the intervals. Further, spiral in to let him better sit on his hind legs. Especially on the left hand I need to watch him fall on his shoulder. We also need to look at the canter departs.


Cardio: Working on Hafl’s and my fitness. That can be cantering around the whole arena, the cross country course or on a hack. Whatever fits. No movements will be trained on the cardio days.

Above and beyond the comfort zone: Following an easy warm up on the lunge (big circles, transitions..) we will work on the movements asked in test. We will not ride specific tests but we will use a combination of all movements that come to my mind. What we look for is accuracy and me getting quicker in combining movements and switching between gaits and movements. So there will be no riding on endless circles but i.e. a circle followed by extended trot on the diagonal followed by canter…all this will be on an accurate 20x40m ring and with strong focus on letters and arena geometry. No cheating here – and I know already now that this will be the worst day.

Riding (new) movements: On these days we will pick several specific movements that we will work on after a standard show like warm up. I will define the focus of each riding movement session in advance, i.e. lateral movements. These days are intended for refining old movements and training new ones.

Long Rein/In Hand Work: We are pretty fine with the in hand work as he can do shoulder in, half pass, leg yield and haunches in in walk and trot. A dream would be to achieve a little canter in hand – we will work on that but will not be able to achieve it unless canter looks better overall. For the long rein, we just started so we are happy with small trot steps at all on a straight or curved line. We will work on lateral movements in walk on the long rein as well as basic trot work, not yet speaking of canter.

From a Hafl perspective, we need to focus on canter work still, we are building up muscles and strength but that will keep us busy still for the rest of the season at least.

For me, there is tons of offsite work to do. Apart from lots of reading (new input especially for the ground work), there will be again lessons on mental training and stretching and exercise for my pelvis/core. I will post more on specific exercises and training tips on that soon.

Work on the long rein for the first time mid of April

We also plan to start our own training log – it seems as if that is a lot of paperwork but I think it is still worth it. Maybe I can also share some ideas with you soon. I am keeping already track of results, test entries and expenses on the shows and I am really curious what the result at the end of the season will be – or I rather won’t know it I guess. At least, as a statistician I can do some tricks on it then :D

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