What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

Diary of a Podium Hopeful: Training to Stay Relaxed

September 01, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

by Sophie St.Clair

My fingers are still crossed to hear about the invitation to the USHJA Children’s and Adult Amateur Western Regional Jumper Championship. Preparations this week included several calls and e-mails with USEF and USHJA to get the final points tabulation nailed down. Bless the people at USEF and USHJA for their patience and diligence. Thousands of class results and their corresponding points pour in from all over the country every week to be entered. Databases are great but don’t forget there is a human element behind them.

Wednesday’s lesson: Working on ground poles and getting a steady speed to the fence. It was a short lesson because of the afternoon heat in South Pasadena. Over 100 degrees! Right now it’s not necessary to jump a lot with the show schedule I have had recently. It’s more important to keep Sjapoo relaxed and healthy. For that we go on trail rides through the Arroyo Seco near my barn. The barn has been here for almost 100 years and the trails themselves for much longer.

Riders in the Arroyo Seco, Pasadena, CA circa 1936. photo credit: Pasadena Water&Power

Riders in the Arroyo Seco, Pasadena, CA circa 1936.
photo credit: Pasadena Water&Power

Sjapoo enjoys his surroundings on the trail.

Sjapoo enjoys his surroundings on the trail.

Even at the shows I take time to have a quiet walk with Sjapoo. It calms us both and lets us focus.

Even at the shows I take time to have a quiet walk with Sjapoo. It calms us both and lets us focus.

Thursday’s hack: The heat was so bad that lessons were cancelled. I took Sjapoo for a nice hand walk and cooled him off with a bath.

Friday’s lesson: My trainer David Sterckx is at the show with other clients through the weekend. When this happens I work on flat exercises that will help Sjapoo drop his neck and work his top line. I do exercises that lengthen and collect his stride. And generally work on keeping Sjapoo flexible and responsive.

David will be back next week and we will pick up the training as we prep to trailer into the Portuguese Bend National horse show for a quick class in the Children’s Jumpers on Saturday. Again, this is just another opportunity to keep Sjapoo in the showing mindset and working but not over working him.

We don’t plan to do any more grass shows before the Championship. The shows we go to now will either be just to keep him in shape or to specifically work in the indoor arenas. Since we’ve been on grass practically all summer we will reacquaint Sjapoo with the look of the indoor arenas from around the area. The Championship will be indoors and now is a good time to begin retooling.