Apr 07, 2020

The Benefits of Having Extra Time

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff
USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

During this time, most riders have had to change their own and their horses' schedules due to COVID-19. Whether a rider is spending more time practicing at home or giving her horse time off, there are several articles on the USEA website that might be useful to review. Read the articles in one of five categories: downtime for horses, rider fitness routines, rider mental fitness, training at home, and how to stay positive during COVID-19.

Downtime for Horses

Giving a horse time off is never a bad thing, and the USEA website has several articles that focus on the benefits of downtime for event horses.

“One of the biggest mistakes we make with young horses is asking too much of them for too long,” said Rebecca Braitling. Read how Braitling has found success by giving young horses time off in the article Time Off in a Young Horse with Rebecca Braitling.

“Horses need to rest, just like humans. What we need to think about is that it’s not the competition itself that the horses need the break from, but all the work leading up to the competition,” said Max Corcoran. Read about rest and recovery in the article The Road to Recovery with Max Corcoran.

The 2019 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention had a panel of experts discuss the longevity of U.S. event horses, and one point that was mentioned was downtime in the season. The video of this discussion can be watched here: VIDEO: Why Aren't U.S. Event Horses Lasting Longer?

Rider Fitness Routines

The classic plank. Laura Crump Anderson Photo.

It could be helpful to find a new fitness routine that’s proven to help riding. Several top riders including Sinead Halpin, Sharon White, Michael Pollard, Matt Brown, and Allison Springer have shared their personal fitness routines.

Everyone has their own preference for fitness routines and for Kelli Temple it’s running – specifically running marathons. The Canadian Olympic rider shared her fitness regime in the article Long Distance Running for Fitness with Kelli Temple.

Emily Hamel and Tyler Held both have a passion for self-improvement through fitness, nutrition, and meditation. Read about what they think is most important for riders in the article Fitness and Mindfulness Practice with Emily Hamel and Tyler Held.

“CrossFit made a huge difference in my core strength and ability to stay in one place in the saddle,” said Pan American team gold medalist, Michael Pollard. Learn about Pollard’s journey with CrossFit in the article CrossFit for Better Riding with Michael Pollard.

Shelley Thomas, an eventer with a background in physical therapy, thinks there are a few specific exercises that are especially beneficial for horseback riders. Read about the exercises in The Power of Strength Training with Shelley Thomas.

“Feeling very secure in the saddle brings confidence,” said Sharon White. The five-star eventer uses a combination of Pilates and stretching to supplement her work in the saddle. Click to find out Sharon White’s thoughts on fitness in the article The Importance of Balance and Strength with Sharon White.

Matt Brown has been studying martial arts for over 25 years and at the 2018 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, Brown instructed a class designed to help riders increase their balance and partnership skills by using Tai Chi. View the video here: VIDEO: Tai Chi for Riders with Matt Brown.

For Sinead Halpin, Orangetheory fitness classes have provided a good mix of aerobic exercise and strength training that help benefit her riding. Read Halpin’s fitness journey here: Making Time for Fitness Outside the Saddle with Sinead Halpin.

“The plank is the exercise that is the most effective for the rider in the shortest amount of time. It’s a full-body workout that targets the riding muscles,” said equestrian fitness specialist Laura Crump Anderson. Find out more rider focused exercises in the article Staying in Top Form with Laura Crump Anderson.

Allison Springer believes there are two practices for riders of all levels to focus on. Learn those two practices by reading the article Rider Fitness with Allison Springer.

Rider Mental Fitness

KTB Creative Photo.

Daniel Stewart is an expert in the field of sports psychology and since 2014, he has provided USEA members tips on mental fitness in the article series titled Daniel Stewart’s Tip of the Month.

“Mindset is everything. It literally defines who you are and who you’ll become,” said Daniel Stewart in his March 2020 Tip of the Month. Learn how to strengthen the mind in the article Daniel Stewart's Tip of the Month: Mind Your Mindset.

“Think about what riding really means to you,” emphasized Daniel Stewart in his February 2020 Tip of the Month. Learn about the importance of willpower in Daniel Stewart's Tip of the Month: Willpower, Horsepower, Why-power, and What-power.

“Resolution-reminders, also called mental triggers, work by giving you timely reminders of the things you’re hoping to remember,” said Daniel Stewart in his January 2020 Tip of the Month. Learn how to create personal resolution-reminders in Daniel Stewart's Tip of the Month: Resolution Reminders.

Last year, Stewart explained how to have faith in failure, the concept of mirroring, how to stay motivated through memories, and much more. Click here to find the complete list of Daniel Stewart’s tips.

Training Practices at Home

Learn what the professionals are setting up in their arenas in the Grid Pro Quo articles that were originally published in Eventing USA and are now featured on the USEA website.

Richard Picken’s featured exercise is effective in teaching the rider about two important concepts: inside leg to outside rein and using your leg before your hand. View his grid here: Grid Pro Quo with Richard Picken.

Deborah Rosen’s grids require that the horses have the freedom to use their topline, as Rosen’s goal is to always approach jumps with a light contact. View her exercises here: Grid Pro Quo with Deborah Rosen.

While Alyssa Peterson’s exercise seems simple on paper, one of the reasons why she loves it is because it is so adaptable to a variety of horses and riders. Depending on how it’s set up, Peterson’s exercise can be used for horses and riders at any level. View her grid here: Grid Pro Quo with Alyssa Peterson.

Click here to find a list of Grid Pro Quo articles that explain favorite grid exercises from riders like Phillip Dutton, Robert Costello, Stephen Bradley, Tamra Smith, Ryan Wood, and more.

Staying Positive During COVID-19

RedBayStock.com Photo.

With optimistic attitudes, Melissa Stubenburg, Amanda Miller, Mellisa Warden, and Will Faudree have all shared their thoughts and ideas during this time of uncertainty.

The FEI Level II and USEF “R” Eventing Judge Amanda Miller has found a way to give back and make the most out of her time. She has invited riders to send in videos of their dressage tests, filmed from C, and she would judge the test and provide her feedback in return. Click here to read more.

Melissa Stubenburg has ten helpful tips that can be found here. Mellisa Warden shared how she's spending her time in this article, Will Faudree shares how he tries to find the silver lining during this time which can be read here, and the USEA has compiled 10 eventing books to read while in quarantine.

Please continue to check the USEA website for updates, changes, and announcements regarding COVID-19.

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