How to vary your training routine
Every session we do I like to be very different to the one before. The reason for this is I like to break up the schooling so he doesn’t go sour just doing one thing all the time – he also can get too confident and assumes I’m going to ask him of a movement before I have.
I have had this before with him where we did stick to the same old school work and then he started to become naughty and finding things in and around the arena to spook at. Now we have switched it up, it really keeps him focused every session and he thoroughly enjoy the work being asked.
We like to break each item up throughout the week;
1 day for hacking
1 day for Schooling on the flat
1 day for ground work
1 day for rest
1 day for jumping/pole flat work
2 days which I have as flexible days for any of the above for extra training for an event (including XC schooling)
Now with the above we don’t tend to have set days for each item, as no week is ever the same for me, but one thing is I make sure every item is different to the last. Below is a bit more detail of each area.
Lunging – I mix this up by using a pessoa/without pessoa, going over poles, over small bounces/jumps, or just on the flat. The options are endless and I haven’t yet done two exact same lunge sessions. (top tip – I also make full use of the school too) I also mix this up by doing this in the field as well as the arena.
Long lining – like the above I can mix this up from the school, to the field and also out on the roads, I can do this over poles or without poles, and I can also mix in a bit of 2 lines lunging in the mix too.
Free schooling – I don’t do this often, but Bailey loves free schooling over jumps, this really helps him build the confidence to understand and learn different striding and take offs on his own without any rider interference.
Hacking – I do different routes and lengths every time, mixing up where I trot and how long I trot for. You can also include some schooling while out hacking, and transition work.
Rest day – This day Bailey doesn’t need to be just left in the field – we do enjoy the odd pamper day full of grooming and cuddles, and of course lots of pictures.
Schooling – Well every schooling session is different for us, we have a different goal each session, whether this is in prep for a dressage test, or exercises to get him off the shoulder, every session we try to do different exercises from the last. For example, one week we focused on shoulder in and half pass, the next was transitions. We also vary where we do this from the arena to the field, and we also adventure out to other stables to do this.
Jump/ Pole work – I really am not one to want to jump once a week, so this changes every week from jump to pole work, And the great thing with poles and jumps is there are so many layouts you can do for both, so you never need to have the same layout twice. You can change the course, the type of jumps, add in a double plus loads more options to vary the layout. We also vary where we do this from the arena to the field, and we also adventure out to other stables too.
Each horse is very different, so you may find you need to do slightly more of one item than another, but I really think switching it up is key to keep the horse motivated to be ridden.
I hope our routine has given you some inspiration to switch it up every now and then :)