Sally Cousins’ Weekly Training Tip: The Importance of Consistency

Sally Cousins and Ideal Contini. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Sally Cousins and Ideal Contini. Photo by Jenni Autry.

We are delighted to introduce Sally Cousins as our newest guest blogger, as she shares her wealth of knowledge with us in the form of weekly training tips. We hope these nuggets of information can be integrated directly into your program at home and can influence the way you ride and train your horses. Be sure to check out both the Sally Cousins Eventing website and keep up with her on Facebook.

Sally has been riding and competing at the highest levels for more than 30 years, starting with Badminton and Burghley at the tender age of 20, and has continued to compete at the CCI4* level for the rest of her career. She also integrated a serious job as a stock broker for Merrill Lynch with her career as a rider, before deciding after 16 years to become a true riding professional. Sally is known in the eventing world for riding some of the most difficult horses, and she loves a challenge. It is our pleasure to share her thoughts with you here on EN!

From Sally:

I have decided to start a weekly training tip. Sometimes when I am in a lesson situation with a student, we work on the technical aspects of riding and don’t always take the time to talk about some of the fundamental things that help with successful training. I hope that this series will give riders some food for thought.

The Importance of Consistency:

There are so many variables in training horses that sometimes it’s hard to tell what works and what doesn’t work. For example, if a horse doesn’t go well, is it because it is after a day off? Or is it because it’s tired from the training session before? Have I made an equipment change? Or perhaps the horse has not been in enough work to handle what I am asking. It could also be a simple management issue, like feeding or turn out.

I try to eliminate the variables by having my horses do a similar thing each day of the week; you can pretty much tell what day of the week it is by what I am doing with the horses. I rarely jump after a day off and I don’t ever gallop after a day off. If I have a particularly good or bad day with a horse, I work backwards and try to remember what led up to it. This helps me either repeat or change what I am doing to help make the training process smoother.

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