The horses are getting furrier and light is starting to draw in. Thoughts are turning to projects for the colder months, when it might be harder to get out and about, although I fully plan make the most of riding out whenever the weather allows.
Arena work can be duller in comparison both for us and our horses, so I am planning to vary things with some groundwork, lungeing and pole work to keep mentally fresh.
I've been injured this month, not from riding but an impact injury playing netball, which has caused me to slow down and barely ride. It's been tough and i've got some more rehab to go as I build strength in the joint again. I managed to poo pick today though, hobbling around the field gingerly. The horses I see each week have benefitted from extra grooming time and have been quite delighted to be turned back out again without any work, but not for much longer.
Where I am in Kent, we lose access to the Commons for the wetter months so hacking becomes slightly less picturesque and with more roadwork. Despite the challenges, it presents a good opportunity to don the high viz and work on road safety elements. It's good for drivers to see horses out and about on the roads, but we do rely on their kindness and adherence to the Highway Code to keep everyone safe.
But for suppleness and rideability, schooling sessions are key and Winter months present an opportunity to work on any niggles and improve things, ready for competing next Spring or to improve your horse's way of going in general.
If you, like me, struggle with schooling focus when you're on your own at home, you can download our DISCO at home coaching track. I made this so that riders can access the benefits of riding to music between events and so that you can have a virtual coach with you at all times. The track has my voice coaching you over some music, with a 30 minute concentrated session. There's also a guided warm down with Hannah, our relaxation specialist. You can find it here.