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Friday, 19 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 19: What Do You Want To Achieve This Winter

While the winter months can feel long and certainly cold, I quite like them as they really make me get organised and structured with my approach to training. I enjoy coming up with a plan for what we will work on over the coming few weeks and the stepping stones I need to take in each schooling session to get there. I tend to get a bit distracted by long evening hacking in the summer...

What do I want to achieve in our dressage?

As you might have read in our competition report from Todburn Equestrian Centre recently, our immediate aim is to gather enough Prelim points in November to gain winter Regional qualification. We got three British Dressage competitons in a couple of weeks planned in and at each we'll be doing two Prelims, hoping to achieve a +66% score and gather the points. 

I will be delighted to achieve this qualification, and it will be a real driving motivator for our progression moving through the winter. Fingers crosses - & at least we only have to wait until the end of November to know whether we made it! 

After that, I'll be concentrating on becoming more established at Novice. I currently enter the Bronze sections, and hope that quite quickly we will be able to gather enough 63% scores to qualify for PetPlan Area Festivals at that level. We've already had 3 scores over that, but unfortunately prior to the qualification period opening. Once I have that, I'll be moving into the Silver section and begin to work towards the summer Regional qualification at this level which is open from the start of December until mid June 2019. 

This means that we will be working really hard on even the basics at home over the next few months - elasticty to my arms and through the contact, consistency in Louie's frame to come higher but remaining soft & supple, and continuing to ensure he is uphill and driving from behind.

So for me, it's a winter full of ambition, but I'm relaxed and don't feel under pressure about all we want to achieve - I am actually REALLY excited by it!

Where would I like our showjumping to go?

Over the last few weeks, I've not put much effort into our showjumping, instead focusing on preparing Louie for the Area Festival Finals. The start of November won't be too dis-similar as we push for that Prelim regional quaification. 

However, after that, I've got a big focus on improving our confidence in showjumping. I want to get it completely out of my head that Louie is spooky of certain things & that he is going to run in the opposite direction as quickly as he was forwards... But I want this to come alongside him finding his own confidence in his jumping, knowing whatever I put in front of him is fine & safe to go over (even if he would like to jump it 3ft higher than it is!)

Fingers crossed with plenty of sessions with Philippa over the winter, as well as hiring other venues and placing anything and everything in the arena to build his confidence, I'm confident we can achieve what we want this winter - I've never felt in such a strong place with Louie & mine's partnership as I do right now...

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