Eventing Bursary Winner: Danni Fisher February Blog Update!
Hi everyone, hope you are all ok and finding things to do in lockdown 3.0! Hopefully we can all get back out training and to events on our ponios soon, I know Oscar and Sid miss it, they are both feeling very spritely at the moment!
I thought for my February blog I would share a few of the exercises I found when researching the best ways to build up Oscars strength after his injury. I’ve been doing these with both horses to improve their strength and muscle quality; they’ve helped keep me motivated and I can really feel the benefits in both boys, even though they are at such different stages in their training. Don’t get me wrong, there have been days when I wonder why I’m doing it all, with such uncertainty of an event season happening, but then I feel Oscar getting stronger and better every day and remember how far he has come from his injury, it makes it all worth it!
So, the exercise above is really good because it can be ridden in so many different ways which helps to keep your horse thinking and engaged. (For example, you can ride it straight from the pink guiding poles to the black trotting poles or vice versa, or you can go straight over the purple poles,) this is good for Oscar because he struggles to maintain his concentration. It is great for focusing on your straightness because of the guiding poles (to the right) and ensuring you are on the points of the triangles. Your horse really has to think about their feet because of all the different placements of the poles and ways you can ride through it. Again, very good for Oscar because he isn’t the most careful horse in the world!
(Sorry for the slightly dodgy quality photo!)
This exercise is also great for its multiple uses (ride from the trot poles straight over the triangle point/vice versa, or over the trot poles on a bending curve to the raised trot poles/vice versa, or over all the raised poles on a curve.) This exercise engages their hind quarters, stepping underneath themselves with that inside hamstring in order to lift over the poles on a curve. It is also good for them to improve their core because they need to lift and have suspension over the raised poles. These types of exercises have been amazing in improving Oscars strength and his ability to carry himself rather than relying on me, so my arms don’t get pulled out their sockets quite so much!
This exercise is the slightly harder version of the one before because all the poles on the curve are raised. This really encourages the engagement of the hind quarters and core muscles, ultimately improving the quality and activity of their paces. I also do this exercise in walk, which is slightly harder for them because they don’t have the suspension in the trot to help lift their core.
The other day I was jumping Oscar, (very exciting, I can finally jump him again!) and as I was warming him up, I began to feel him carry himself, and sit back on his hocks and create a really powerful canter. I can’t begin to describe how amazing and rewarding this felt. I always used to have to help him carry himself because he is such a big, long horse (17hh) and to finally feel him strong enough to carry himself was just amazing.
Sid has got so strong and powerful now, (all thanks to my mum’s hard work with him over the last 10 years!) that he can really drive from his hind quarters and be very upright which feels amazing. The downside of all this is that I have realised that I actually need to be stronger to be able to ride them to their full potential in all three phases. So, I have been doing training sessions with my dad 3/4 times a week, (I do it with him so that I don’t give up and eat cake!) We’ve been doing weights, resistance work and boxing so I’m hoping this will all benefit my riding.
Finally, thanks to the amazing opportunities that HorseQuest have given me, I had my first HorseQuest funded lesson, at home, with my jumping trainer Justin Clubley.
It was so good to jump properly again and do some different exercises. We really focused on perfecting the 3 training basics, Engine – Line – Balance. We did loads of different lines and combinations involving skinnies, which really got me focused on getting Sid directly between my leg and my hand. (If you want to see more of these exercises, be sure to check out my Instagram: @dannifisher.eventing). Sid was absolutely amazing and tried his heart out doing the exercises which were very brain testing! Oscar was also supposed to have a short session, however he clearly got wind of some hard work coming and pulled a shoe late the night before so… next time!
I had a very exciting parcel in the middle of February which contained my gorgeous HorseQuest sponsored rug, definitely a lovely pick me up in the world of online college work. So, thanks again to the team at HorseQuest!
Hope you guys enjoyed reading this month’s blog, stay safe everyone and hopefully we can get out on our unicorns soon!
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