We talk a lot about how to get your horse fit, and even about what sort of exercises riders do for their own fitness. But how do you tell if you are fit enough to start the event season and be able to do your best to help your horse?
Simple. Find out the longest course time at the level you will be competing, punch it into the timer of your watch or phone, and make sure you can canter in forward seat for AT LEAST that amount of time. For good measure, add a minute. Do this out hacking, over varied terrain if possible, but also in the school, where you will probably have to work a bit harder to keep your horse cantering evenly and balanced in the corners. If your horse is not ready to do that amount of cantering yet then start in trot – also in forward seat! Once you’ve mastered that, hike your stirrups up a few more holes and try it riding extra short. Your thighs won’t thank you but your horse will!