My partner, Portland, and I are lucky that while it’s really hard work, we get to work together day-in-day-out, doing what we love. We enjoy it, but it’s definitely not for the faint hearted! A typical day starts at 5am with a walk, pilates or a session on the bike to make sure we always stay fit and strong. Our walks include taking the dogs, and usually a horse too! We’ve found it to be wonderful exercise for the horses and a brilliant way to get them fit – especially as their legs get a little older. Breakfast is next – usually rice or buckwheat with plenty of fruit and sweet potato to keep us going all the way through ‘til lunch time!
We usually teach 3 or 4 lessons each in the morning and a couple in the afternoon so depending on our lesson schedule we’ll make a plan for the horses we need to work, pairing up the rides we’ll do together, and the horses that require both of our attention (such as foundation trainers) so that we get through them all in good time. Our list of horses usually includes two or more foundation trainers (horses being broken in), a couple of horses in re-training for problem behaviours, a couple of dressage horses, the eventing team and Portland’s own dressage horse.
The eventers are usually trained twice a week on the flat, twice a week jumping and cross-country schooling (we’re lucky to have fairly extensive cross-country facilities at home) and twice a week we exercise them either by trotting around the track or just riding in the arena and testing the foundation responses but not practising dressage movements or posture. We find this gives us the best chance to manage their basic buttons, their fitness, all three eventing disciplines, and their freshness. I’m very lucky to always have eyes on the ground when I’m jumping which allows us to be continually modifying our training and filling in any small gaps that may appear.
Whenever we have spare time (not nearly often enough!) we’ll have a play with some clicker-training, in-hand work, or give each other a lesson. There is nothing more fun that being on the arena together (except when it’s raining!). However, most of the time that is not spent in the saddle, is spent on the tractor fixing up yards or slashing, welding new shelters or saddle racks or fixing fences and generally managing the property. We also set aside time to blog for our website Sustainable Equitation (www.sustainableequitation.com.au), write and publish our book “Horses Hate Surprise Parties: Equitation Science for Young Riders”, and keep on top of business admin, invoices and the dreaded bills!
Next blog I’ll fill you in on our competition season so far! In the meantime we’re busy preparing for the second last event of the season at Brigadoon CNC. After that we’re lucky to be heading off to Cambodia for a week and then straight back into it with 3 foundation trainers arriving as soon as our plane lands and our annual Equestrian Boot Camp on November 19th-20th – more info here if you’re interested in a weekend of horsey fun, healthy food, fitness and a few glasses of wine! http://www.sustainableequitation.com.au/boot-camp.html
Sophie Warren is one of WA’s top eventing riders. She is a dressage and jumping coach and runs a horse training business breaking in young horses and re-training problem behaviours. Sophie is proudly sponsored by Thompson and Redwood and all her horses are powered by T&R Clayton’s Pellets. More info on Sophie can be found here: www.sophiewarren.com.au.
This blog was originally posted by Thompson & Redwood and has been re-posted with kind permission from T&R.