Posted by: rstor | January 14, 2015

Top Tips for Winter Riding from RS-tor & Emma Douglas!

Equi-Ads December 2014

Para dressage rider and former eventer, Inverness-native Emma Douglas, offers some tips for winter riding

Here are my top tips for winter riding –

  1. Winter is the ideal time to go back to basics, and focus on your flatwork – it is the cornerstone to achieving balance and rhythm over fences, and the suppleness and obedience your horse gains will also make you safer when jumping. Falls are common especially in eventing, so if you plan to reduce the risk factors for a fall, riding a supple, well-schooled horse is essential. Using pole work in your winter schooling programme will help keep your training fresh!
  1. Hone your ability to lengthen and shorten your canter stride. With a helper, set up an odd number of poles in the arena – if you set them up as canter poles, you will be able to do walk, trot and canter work over them – depending on your horse’s stride, set them up at 9-12ft apart (ensure the same distance between each) and ride over them, focussing on straightness and forwardness. Once your horse is comfortable with the distance, ask your friend or instructor to roll them out an inch at a time, so your horse has to ‘reach’ further to clear the poles. Do this exercise regularly throughout the winter months!
  1. If you are attending cross country clinics this winter, focus on your approach and getaway lines. If you do not have access to cross country facilities, utilise the local hacking available to you, and work out specific, straight routes up hills, through parkland and across paths to improve your ability to assess straightness, speed and direction when riding.

    Top Tip! When XC training at home, whilst hacking or at a venue, use an RS-tor rider safety aid, an excellent piece of safety gear which attaches to the saddle bars, and helps absorb the velocity of being unseated or falling. Visit .

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