Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cross Training

Cross training.   That's the fancy term used these days.

Ever since I started taking riding lessons as a kid in 1971, it was apparent that the average riding horse should be trail ridden, worked on the flat, and jumped.   This, after all, was what they taught at Watchung Stables in Summit NJ where I rode for 3 years.   When we moved to Dunstable Massachusetts and bought our own horses, the same point was stressed in Pony Club and 4-H.   We were taught horses are versatile and can do lots of fun things.   And FUN is definitely what we had!

In England, where I lived, trained, and competed in dressage for 12 years, cross training was and continues to be the norm.   Even FEI dressage horses go for hacks, occasionally pop a fence, or even follow a hunt!

Those who practice natural horsemanship understand cross training, as well.   They believe that allowing the horse to dabble in different activities can broaden their horizons, help them grow mentally and physically, and further strengthen the relationship between horse and rider.

Our two dressage horses have always enjoyed trail riding and jumping.   Jeddien even earned a rosette at a fun day event at Merrist Wood College (in Guildford UK) for going clear over a full colored show jumping course.   Piper has also done a bit of jumping under saddle and truly enjoys free jumping.

This winter, Piper's work will alternate between dressage training sessions with me and jumping lessons with one of our grooms.   And so far, he is LOVING it.   In the spring, the plan is for him to compete in 4-H competitions with his new jockey and USDF dressage competitions with me.

And so, with fun new training plans underway, new colorful jump poles seemed in order.   Winter will hardly be bleak and grey in our indoor arena!

1 comment:

  1. Those are so pretty! I love the polka dots.