"I like to keep a training log for each horse at the beginning of the year, writing out my training and showing plan for the entire year for that horse, remembering that this will be a simple road map and that we may have to adjust our goals as the year progresses. It will also include notes for each day, what we worked on in the ring, what went well, what needs improving and other observations or events throughout the day. It can be helpful and easy to keep notes on your phone."
"At the beginning of your ride, take several minutes to think about what you want to accomplish during the session and take time to simply feel your horse with no agenda while he warms up, are they relaxed? are they balanced? and then adjust your plan from there."
"Most importantly, get into the habit of letting go of what ever you have been dealing with during your day before you grab your horse's halter. Count to five and let it go, those issues will still be there for you to deal with after your ride."
"Create time to deliberately practice just one aspect of a technique, for example take five minutes of your ride to focus primarily on your hands staying still and together, during that time do not worry about anything else."
"Out of the saddle I find it great to practice partner exercises with another person, such as push hands in Tai Chi or other martial arts for balance and use of force, all of which can be transferred back to your riding."
"Practice elasticity in your arms by picking up the reins and finding a neutral contact with the horse's mouth and simply try to follow the motion of the horse's head and neck without slack in the contact."
Photo Credit: Sherry Stewart 2018
"My single top tip for preparing for the new season would be not to expect too much at once. Rome was not built in a day. Set small and marginal goals and build up training gradually. It does not matter how long it takes, just to keep on persevering and never give up."
"I have just started my new job and I have been working hard, trying to get the horses more relaxed and used to me and I find that gymnastic exercises work best for keeping me in balance and the horses loose and free."
"My favourite piece of Premier Equine equipment has to be my Pro Rider Jacket, it is freezing here in Germany so I'm glad to be wearing it every day."
"Although the season finished back in October, I haven't stopped riding since then. I previously gave the ponies a couple of months off until January but with the awful winter weather we have and having various small winter shows, I found it hard to get them all fit to a level I was happy with before the season kicked off again in March/ April time."
"At the end of January I began doing some games training on them, building up all the right muscles that they need for stopping and turning, as well as bringing on the novice pony, Ruby who is only 5 and has never done games before we got her 6 months ago."
"Now, the ponies get some down time from games but they still hack out 5 times a week (if not more) and some of them head out showjumping or to pony club rallies."
"As I am currently in my final year of University, I really appreciate the help of my mum and sister to keep the 5 ponies in work while I concentrate on my exams."
"Not many people would think it but schooling and good flat work is really key to making a good games pony as they have to be so well balanced and supple to be able to turn, stop and accelerate like they do so most games ponies will be very well schooled and balanced."
"As the season is approaching we will have a few low-key shows that I will be taking them all to, to get them back into the swing of things and get all of the excited bucks out of their system before the main shows being in March."
"My top tips for training would be don't overdo it- ponies aren't machines. Mix up training with hacking and schooling so they do not get bored."
"Schooling can be beneficial to help with turning, stopping and general balance. If you find it boring, do some around the equipment and through poles etc to mix it up."
"Make sure your pony is suitably fit and maintains fitness throughout the season."
"Remember it is not always about doing everything flat-out, sometimes slowing it down and working on technique and accuracy is more beneficial."
"My favourite pieces of equipment are : the Premier Equine Sports Medicine Boots, they are perfect for games. Not only are they protective, they come in a range of sizes and with most being small ponies and some companies forgetting that ponies exist, I'd never be without these boots."
"The Premier Equine Infrared Rug is a life saver! I use it on all my ponies at competitions before and after exercise and it really makes a difference."
"As our ponies do a lot of travelling to international shows they are usually stabled for the week. I use the Premier Equine Magnetic Boots while they are stabled and before and after training sessions as I've found them great to help prevent any swelling or soreness."
"My single most important piece of equipment- a list! although I take nearly the same things every weekend, I can't start packing the lorry on a Friday without writing one!"
Thank you to our fantastic sponsored riders for their advice, tips and tricks to getting your 2019 season off to a great start, whatever your discipline. We hope everybody has a great start to the season - happy training!