Winter Training Plans Revised

As already last year, we need to work on a proper training schedule for winter (, the season when training is most effective as you are working on long term goals rather than concentrating on certain show movements. It is also the time to give your horse some time to rest and recover – days where riding is not possible come naturally with snow, ice, darkness and so on. Still, it is important to have a broader picture and plan in mind in order to ensure that your training is effective and goals oriented – something that is way easier in summer when a show is followed by the next.

Last year, I was talking about these pillars:



Work in Hand



We will stick to these but will have some sort of variation, also because we can add new skills to our repertoire.
What Hafl would do all winter...

1. Groundwork.

Groundwork is extremely helpful in cold winters as a warm up for both horse and rider. I added some long lining or work on the long rein ( as we tried that and it works pretty well in walk So we aim to get the work transferred to trot (works perfectly for in hand work already) and I have to admit I am still dreaming of canter. Naturally, it should be doable while long lining so we will work on that. Hafl’s trot works pretty well in in-hand work.

2. Lunging

Here too we can add some new skills: double lunging.. Actually, we will enter a double lunging clinic in April so I want to make sure that he is familiar with the concept. It is nothing completely new but we are trying a different way of attaching the lunges. Before, I did not get the whole benefit of this valuable tool.

For the “standard” lunging, I want to include body wrapping as well as some cavaletti work. Thank God, we have cavalettis now which allow a quick set up and which make lunging over them easy. The body wrapping was a bit of a step child this year, I do not know why but I think it needs to be back on the plan. I even think of combining body wrapping and lunging over cavalettis.

3. Work in Hand

Covered with groundwork.

4. Riding

And the story continues. Seeing improvements in canter we still need to keep working on that. We found some new exercises that should increase the rideability and suppleness – will show them to you in a separate post. I still need to refine the layout of these riding sessions. There will be one concentrating on show movements, one should be dedicated to stretching. Here, we try to incorporate Deirde Dressage’s Jump Start advice – will post further details on that.

5. Freework

At least when the footing outside or the weather do not allow proper work, we will switch to freework. We will need to incorporate some new tricks (Spanish walk is good for now), and some of the movements he is pretty familiar with in hand or in riding. Also, my boyfriend will take this opportunity to better bond with Hafl.

Overall, I do not plan to work more that 5 days a week, every now and then maybe 6 days. During the holidays there might also be one or the other extra off. Anyway, we always need to keep in mind that we will be heading towards a training month abroad in February, thus, we need to stay focused to make the most out of this month. Shows will start in late March (I will not enter the one in February). For now, it seems that show season will last until October again with many major events happening (Austrian Haflinger Championships, European Haflinger Championships…).

Fortunately, NOT a picture of this year so far...

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