The Novice Test – Rider Fitness

My little horse, A.K. is a little sore at the base of the neck, so she’ll be having the physiotherapist and maybe acupuncture and whilst I wait for  these guys to do their stuff there’s no exercise for her.

I have noticed over the last few weeks that the winter with its unforgiving and energy sapping coldness has taken it’s toll on my fitness, my breeches feel a little tighter and I feel more tired after riding than I did back in September!

So, I’m taking the opportunity A.K. has presented me in not being able to ride to attempt to my bring  my fitness to match hers.  I got to thinking, if she can work through all the movements in a test the least I can do is try  So, my new rider fitness regime is about resistance, interval and circuit training – but with a difference!  I’ m using the arena to literally run through my tests.

There’s an added bonus … I’m learning my tests!

Rider FitnessSo, resistance comes from running in the arena against the silica sand and plastic granules surface, interval comes from going from jogging the working trot, running the canter, sprinting the medium canter, skipping the medium trot, walking the walk and shaking out in the free walk.  The movements come so quickly, one after the other as they do for your horse and whilst I am improving my fitness in this way I’m thinking about where the half-halts are, which bend I should be taking and the accuracy of the movements.

The goal is a)  to remember each test b) get through each one in the paces prescribed (instead of having to walk most of it, lol) and c) control my breathing.  That way, when A.K. is back, I’ll take it into my rides and hopefully she’ll see the difference!

I am loving it, along with a bit of running round the woods (hacking)!  We all know that the movements come up so quickly in a test, preparation is the key for you and your horse to execute them well.

And …  [Tweet “Who’da thought Dressage required so much stamina and fitness?”]

What better way to learn your tests than this?  Have a go, it’s fun!

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster

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