Winter is the ideal time to start prepping for the competition season. Let's take a look at how you can occupy yourself and organise your training sessions before focusing on your upcoming competitions.


Getting your horse ready

The winter break is the perfect opportunity to get your horse ready for the next season. If you've decided to step things up a gear this year, your winter preparation is a vital part of your training.

After a well-deserved rest, it's time to get back in the saddle. Take things slowly to start with. First of all, it's essential to work on the basics and your horse's muscles to get it in good physical condition before you return to intense training. Once your horse's muscles are ready, you can start working on technique.


In dressage, it's important to work on your figures right from the word go. Entries, walks and halts shouldn't be neglected. These are the first impressions you will give the judging panel, so they'd better be good! It's also important to work on your horse's expression in its paces, which will give that extra shine to your performance.


For showjumping, it's important to train on both the flat and the jumps. As every rider knows, flatwork is the foundation of showjumping. Once you've got the basics under your belt, you'll have more success with the various obstacles. Before putting everything together though, you need to work on your horse's responsiveness and control. Next, move on to jumps and isolated combinations, then whole courses. If possible, you might want to try doing this on different terrains. If your horse is young, you should focus on making it automatic.


For eventing you need to combine dressage figures with showjumping training, as well as working hard on the basics. Between competitions, take the opportunity to show your horse some obstacles it doesn't know. If this is its first season, take it cross-country riding and do some ford crossings and other typical obstacles that might otherwise surprise it.

The main thing is to preserve or even improve its fitness throughout the season to stay competitive.


Getting organised

Whether you're still at school, in the middle of your university studies or working, it's important to organise things so that you can manage both your season and your everyday commitments. This is what will allow you to train regularly and achieve more.

To avoid stress the day before a competition, prep your equipment and think about what you need. Don't forget to make a checklist so you don't leave anything behind.


Getting yourself ready

If you've decided to do a full competition season, plan your goals with your horse. Winning means boosting not only your own morale, but your horse's too. Don't forget to believe in your horse because horses can feel our emotions.

Use the winter as a time to improve your concentration and learn to manage your stress. Explore which techniques work for you and put them into practice when you find you need them. Establish your little rituals and a winning mindset.


If your horse has to get back to work, it's time for you to do so too! Work on any little positioning errors, your aid placement, and any other details that will spur you on towards victory!


To make sure you don't forget anything while getting ready, and avoid added stress, here is a ready-made checklist of gear you might need. Simply download and print it out, then tick the boxes depending on what you want to take!