Mid Season Performance Improvement Tips with Victoria Bax
Here, we catch up with top eventer and ex-racehorse trainer Victoria Bax, as she stops in-between her busy schedule to give our readers her top tips for mid season performance improvement. Read on to ensure that you are on track, not only on the cross-country course, but to make sure your are also not neglecting your show-jumping or dressage.
Courtesy of her sponsors Aloeride, the natural organic aloe vera supplement for horses and Golly Galoshes, the award winning gaiter for horses.
Performance Improvement Tips
1) I spend a short period working them only long and low, on the flat to help stretch tight muscles and remind them of their relaxed way of going. Even when running through dressage tests at home, working the horses in this soft lower frame is beneficial. This helps us when we enter the dressage phase of competition, as it reminds them to relax.
2) I like to introduce short, sharp, brain teaser type exercises when show-jumping at home. I do this to make the horses think and become quick on their feet again, like they were at the start of the season.
3) For the more experienced horse, I like to build the height of fences up to competition level. I only ask them once or twice though as they are challenging exercises, meaning they have to make the height as well as getting the footwork correct.
4) Even if I have not met any problems during my cross-country, I take my team out for a quiet schooling session on a cross-country course. If possible I’ll take an extra set of eyes with me; i.e my trainer. This is to ensure both my horses and I are doing what we should be and not just winging it, at speed, during competition!
Ask yourself this: How much time do you spend training on the flat or over show-jumps at home? How does this compare to how much you train over cross-country fences? I’m sure that we are all guilty of this one, especially as few of us have the luxury of having a cross-country course at home!
It’s great, when you can, to take a trip out to a local equestrian centre with a cross-country course. Take this opportunity to practice the types of fences you feel you and your horse are less confident with and don’t forget, take the pressure off and a little fun!
5) I often give certain horses a week off work mid-season. After all, they are super fit and being Thoroughbreds, they won’t lose any fitness in a week. I just feel a week is enough to encourage them to renew their ‘keenness’ especially if I feel they have lost a bit of their ‘Va Va Voom’ after a busy first half of the season.