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You know how I know it’s definitely an Olympic year? January’s still not over (seriously, how long is this month?) and several Federations have already hit the ground running with some seriously intensive, star-studded training. The Swiss are really leading the charge here: they’ve had Chris Bartle, Thomas Fuchs, Oliver Oelrich, and Laura Collett out to help them across the phases, and Bartle’s been a busy boy in Belgium, too, recently. I’d love to see either of these nations vying for a medal this year after the huge amount of work they’ve been putting in across this Olympic cycle.
National Holiday: It’s National Puzzle Day. My horse is always a puzzle to me, so I suppose that works.
US Weekend Action:
Your Monday Reading List:
Could the ground jury benefit from keeping someone stationed in the riders’ tent on cross-country day? This is a question that was posed at the FEI’s Eventing Seminar last week by Chris Bartle, who pointed out that these tents, with their multiple screens, tend to fill up with riders and coaches throughout the day, offering up a huge wealth of knowledge in one small space – and, generally, straightforward commentary and opinions about what’s happening, both with the course and with fellow competitors. Most pertinently, keeping a ground jury member stationed there could, he posits, help officials make quicker decisions about pulling tired horses up. Find out more about why, and how, this could work here.
This week, in dispatches from the lesson barn: what happens when horses are snowed in, kiddos are snowed out, but the diary’s packed and everyone’s pre-paid for a semester of lessons? Online learning, of course, and the chance to focus on horsemanship. Honestly, sign me up immediately.
Thinking about taking up a working student position in 2024? Great – you could level yourself up as a rider and horseman in every single way, as long as you choose wisely when picking a program. Canadian dressage rider Gina Smith explains how her program works, and helps you to narrow down your choices, in this handy piece.
Keeping it calm is best while training horses – and that’s scientifically proven. Researchers at Nottingham Trent University in the UK conducted a study on horses’ ability to learn while in a state of arousal (that’s, um, the bog-standard elevated heart rate kind, not the freaky kind, don’t worry). Cognitive function, it was found, increased enormously in relaxed horses, which is a salient reminder that if a training session isn’t going well, getting frustrated yourself probably isn’t going to save it.
Watch Boyd Martin ride under the tutelage of Danish dressage legend Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour in a masterclass at Dressage at Devon (and tune in for the whole show on Horse & Country TV!)