My World Cup Dressage Diary – 9th April

Have had a few questions about keeping fit – both me and Jaybee Alabaster – while we are away from home.  Thanks Juanita and Fiona for asking great questions.

Keeping fit at home is a lot easier than maintaining my fitness while overseas.  At home there is usually a stable full of horses, youngsters to wrangle and lessons to teach / ride, not to mention chasing after the kids and running a business.  What time I have for myself may include pilates, exercise bike, walking or unloading that massive load of hay.  Not to mention mowing the lawn, whipper snipping, hedging, gardening etc etc.

Overseas, life can become more sedentary if I allow it.  The 1st week is not much of an issue and I call it “recovery” after the trip.  After that though, I must incorporate something else into the daily routine that keeps me moving. This is not only good for the body but also the mind.  Riding only 1 horse can make me too focussed and also lead to over-riding of the horse, which is detrimental.

I also have to take into account the disc injury I had last April, in choosing my overseas exercise regime.  So I have taken up a lot of walking (also a great way to find my way around the neighbourhood), and small weights for the abs.  I continue with my physio workout as best I can but returning to the pilates  routine I had prior to my back injury would not be good for me yet.  However, I do what I can, including soccer etc with the kids.

I keep Alabaster fit through normal dressage schooling now.  Leading into the shows his work is tempered to competition training.  Alabaster has a full training session in the mornings and in the afternoons he has a walk under saddle.  This will happen 6 days a week. The afternoon walk may be indoors, only if the weather is not so good, otherwise he can have a stroll around the property, a little walk on the hard surface as well, for about 30 minutes.  If he is still a little bright maybe a light trot to stretch him out.  Every opportunity I get, Alabaster gets a pick at the grass.  Unfortunately there is no turning out into the paddock for him.  With so many big shows coming up, I am worried he may hurt himself and we have all travelled so far, that it is a risk I feel I can’t take.  After the shows, Alabaster will have some quieter time, walking under saddle and hand walking for 2-3 days, depending on the show schedule.  It is full on, but like us, the horse must have time out mentally and physically.

In the photograph you see Alabaster is under the heat lights, having been hosed off after work.  This is the quickest way to dry a horse in the cold climate.  He is there for at least 20 minutes every time that he his worked and he LOVES this part of the day.  If a horse is put away we, they freeze and get chilled, which leads to them being quite sick.
I also use the lights to warm him up before we ride.


2 thoughts on “My World Cup Dressage Diary – 9th April

  1. Submitted on 2012/04/12 at 3:09 pm | In reply to Dawn Swales.
    Thanks Dawn for your support I really do appreciate all the amazing messages I get wishing me well. It helps so much in my preparation.
    Go after your dreams!

  2. Submitted on 2012/04/12 at 9:32 am by Dawn Swales
    We will be supporting and silently cheering you on from Australia. In watching you I beleive that dreams can come true.

    Can’t wait to see your blogs.
    Reach for the stars

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