Friday, February 28, 2014

Knowing when to rest

"Whew, I'm beat!"
Last week I mentioned that Guinness was starting to feel a little sluggish and behind my leg. Tuesday, he wasn't in the mood to work, still lazy, slightly stiff, and a touch on the grumpy side.

That's when I knew it was time to give him an extra day off.

You see, we've been doing really well on our training schedule. I've been riding 5 times a week (4 dressage schools, and one conditioning/mental break/long hack) regularly, and I think the intensity of the schooling work really started to get to him.

Our schooling hit a totally new level last week as we switched our focus to developing more power in each gait. We've been hitting the canter/walk/canter transitions hard, and asking for a lot of work keeping connected when lengthening and coming back to collection.

Basically, we've been kicking ass and I think it's time to step back for a day and let all that work sink in.

A year ago, I wouldn't have understood how to plan that as well as I do now. Reaching for higher levels of training has taught me to see pausing for a breather as a benefit to training, rather than a stumbling block on the way success. Despite my change in view, I still don't regularly schedule breaks. Life as an Adult Amateur means I juggle so many things, breaks seem to just happen. Or, I wait until my horse tells me he's ready for a moment to rest. I'm not sure that won't change as we keep advancing our training, but it works for us right now.

With luck, Guinness and I will both be back to work on Saturday morning in a better mood and feeling ready to work. While Pig is off, I'm going to fit in another session for myself at the gym and deep clean my house (I'm coming for you husky-hair-dustbunnies!). No use wasting all that free time, right?

Do you guys ever schedule in breaks during your training? Or do you let your horses tell you when they need a moment to chill?

10 comments:

  1. I find it's really useful with my little guy, especially if we've been pushing hard. A day or so off after that seems to let the concepts resonate and he comes out better than before.

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    1. That's exactly it! It's like they sit and stew over things in the pasture. :)

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  2. My younger one does well for breaks, luckily as work has been kicking my ass since we came back after Christmas and I am not logging as much saddle time as I'd like. The older one is pretty indifferent to breaks...she'd just rather be doing nothing ALL the time ;-)

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    1. Indifferent to breaks is better than being forgetful and needing to be retrained, I guess! :) I hate how working and life throws a wrench into riding plans.

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  3. I have a hard time figuring out the right balance. Simon does better the more he is in work, and he likes to work.. but I get burned out and his body is a bit more fragile than the average horse.

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    1. I love that TB work ethic. Have you thought about cross training? Just taking him for a long walk outside the ring once a week? Or doing trot and canter sets like eventers? It might help keep both of your minds fresh, and help keep his body stronger. I know Guinness loses his mind if I constantly school in the ring. He has to get out at least once a week.

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  4. " breaks seem to just happen" This is how I view training too, though I pretty train "every other day" or at least 3-4 times a week with breaks in between but break rides are also good too and once the weather gets better, need to remember to incorporate those.

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    1. I need to be better about scheduling breaks in the summer, too. Work doesn't interrupt as much and I think we get burned out.

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  5. I always schedule big breaks in Q's training; rest is valuable for endurance training. Griffin's too - though I let him pick the point where those breaks appear with our shorter sessions; mostly he needs mental breaks not physical. Rest is so so so so so important both physically and mentally.

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    1. I run long distance, so I totally understand the need for scheduled breaks in endurance! So exhausting!

      It's interesting that mental breaks can't really be scheduled like physical ones. I guess we just have to be vigilant and aware of our horses!

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