Hannah Burnett — The Season

Pan Ams Team Gold Medallist Hannah Burnett has been a regular guest blogger here on EN.  We’ve followed her throughout the year, from Rolex to the Pan Am Games.  And now, Hannah concludes the year with the following entry.  Thanks, Hannah, for writing and thank you for reading!



From Hannah:

Tis the season!! Time for friends and family, food and fun! Most Eventers have trouble remembering to take time off every year, we’re always wanting to improve and practice. This year I’m fortunate enough to have a nice chunk of time for myself and my horses to relax and recover from a very busy year. It’s nice to see my horses in Virginia all fuzzy and shoeless.

In all the sports psychology books I have read, they all talk about giving your body and mind time to recover. Here are three ways to really embrace this during the Eventing off season.

1. Try another sport. This will keep you in decent shape while also giving your mind some stimulation and keeping you physically active during the holidays. I went to the driving range the other day and although it wasn’t great for anyone else to watch (slightly horrifying), I really enjoyed it and got a bit of a workout too. Go Fox Hunting or play some Tennis with friends and run a local 5k. There are lots of ways to stay active without the mental and physical drain of drilling your riding skills. Your brain and your horse will thank you!

2. Go enjoy your horses. Take a trip to the barn just to give your horses carrots and a scratch. Just sit outside their stall and get to know them again. We get so busy competing and training that we forget why we even do this–because we love horses. Give your pony some much needed love!

3. Give your horse a break. Talk to your trainer, vet and farrier about the right ways to give your horse time off. Including whether you should pull their shoes, how long of a break they need depending on when you’ll be competing next, feeding changes etc. A lot of times, giving your horse a month or two off will make them want to go back to work, and you’ll notice that they didn’t lose any training. Sometimes they come back even better than when you left them, especially the youngsters. Younger horses and horses recently off the race-track really seem to grow up when given time off to literally, grow and fill out. Also giving them a break in supplement loading can cleanse their systems and keep them healthy. I gave 2 of my horses a round of Omega Alpha’s Kidney and Liver Flush after their last event in September, they’ve had their shoes pulled and put out in the field. They look and feel great and I’m excited to start them back to work in the next couple of weeks.

Remember that after a break, you and your horses must come back to work slowly to reduce the risk of a strain or injury. I know I’ve gotten a bit soft over my break and it’s not easy to go slow but it really pays off. Lots of hacking and hill work is a great way to bring the ponies back into work.

Good luck and enjoy your much deserved break!!! Give your ponies some carrots for me!


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