Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Off Season

As we dropped to below freezing temperatures today (it was 10 degrees out when I went down to the barn at 8) the 2009 season has officially come to a close.

Since Championships at the end of September, I have kept the horses in full training/intensity with the plan of tapering down the training for 3-4 weeks beginning next week. It looks like by the weather reports that we'll start this week.

I kept the training intensity up after the shows ended, as I wanted to continue the positive/productive training for a little bit longer. Additionally, I wanted to train in warmer temperatures and knew we'd have some cold temperatures about mid-December and full training would be near impossible during that time.

The plan worked out great. Since the Henrik clinic the main show horses have taken huge leaps in their training (actually all of the horses and riders have).

With Neo (owner, Rebecca Chatfield), his baseline for engagement and being uphill is at another level. We now have a back that is engaged and much more through. His expression in the trot is its best yet. It can only get better, as I get him to step under more and get his neck more relaxed. The canter work is much expressive with more jump and sit. The pirouettes will be pretty darn good next season as we are showing true sit and smaller strides. This will be an exciting late winter/early spring with Neo. Next step is to get the canter zigzags schooling solidly.

For Falcon (owner, Alanna Danna), each day he is looking more and more like a potential FEI horse. He is a hot horse and now we are able to channel that energy into some really positive work. His canter has been the biggest challenge and now we have a canter that is much straighter and with more jump. The next step is to make the counter canter less stressful for him. We have done some single flying changes and they will be no problem down the road for us. In the trot if he engages his hindquarters and releases his back it is easily an 8. I don't know where we'll be come March or April but I won't be surprised by anything.

Claudius(owner, Cindy Bucceri) is starting to take his overall strength to another level. With him being stronger and more fit, he now has more confidence and therefore is schooling really well. He is using his hindend better and better and is accepting the increase in work like a work horse instead of a prima donna. When we come off our off-season break, the focus for Claudius will be on working in a relaxed and focused manner all of the time and to be able to handle a greater collection in the canter. If we get those things, Claudius will be a force to beat next season.

As of right now I have one more show horse for 2010. That is Romany owned by Krista Hawes. I have been working with Romany once or twice a week for about 5 or 6 weeks now. We need to bring Romany into shape and once we do, this horse will be a big surprise. If all goes well, we should have a hidden gem on our hands for the lower levels next year.

To everyone, thank you for reading the blog. All of you in some manner support me in my journey. Without your support and help I would not be where I am at now and without a positive outlook for the future!