My 5 tips for varied training in winter

Who doesn't know it... in the winter time it gets darker outside faster and it is colder above all. You might think that this limits the possibilities for riding? No! Quite the opposite. Even in winter you can train in a varied and interesting way.

Here are my 5 tips for a varied workout in winter

Tip No. 1 Have a plan
In my opinion, it is very important to have a plan for winter work. First, I look at what events, such as tournaments or even training courses, are coming up during the winter. Then I think about what goals I want to achieve with my horses over the winter. I try to keep my older horses fit over the winter and, above all, to give them breaks every now and then.
With my younger horses, I start by thinking about what might not have worked so well during the show season. I then pay special attention to this during the winter work. Nevertheless, I also give my young horses a break during the winter.

Tip no. 2 Use poles, pylons and cavalettis
It is not only as a show jumper that poles, pylons and cavalettis should be on the training schedule in winter. For dressage or leisure riders it can be a welcome change. For example, pylons could be used as aids to ride out the corners better, or to be able to ride slalom on the long side or on the centre line. This improves the permeability and increases the attention span as well as the balance.

Gymnastics over poles
Gymnastics over poles © Benkert

Tip No. 3 Train outside
As paradoxical as it may sound at first glance, I try to ride my horses outside in the riding arena as often as possible in good weather. You can immediately feel that the horses' canter is getting a bit bigger again. They are also happy to train outside the arena again. If it's a bit chilly, I like to use a kidney rug to keep the horses warm while riding in cooler temperatures on the outdoor arena.

Light seat
Light seat © Benkert

Tip no. 4 Train away from home
Especially with my young horses I always train outside. That way they always get new impulses and I can check whether what I have learned at home is already consolidated outside. Towards the end of the winter season, I also take my older horses to some training sessions away from home to prepare them for the show season.

Tip no. 5 Try something new
In my opinion, winter is a good time to try new things. It doesn't matter if it's ground work, a new bit or even new impulses in lunging. If you can't try them out now, when can you?

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