Para dressage rider, Bert Sheffield’s Equestrian Life February 2014

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Darcy and Bert at Vale View 750x426 - Para dressage rider, Bert Sheffield’s Equestrian Life February 2014

Darcy and Bert at Vale ViewMy trainer, Gareth Hughes has been away in the Far East so I have been working on my own with my horses.  The foul weather has made training outside difficult and unpleasant but I seem to be making progress with Darcy. I had my target International scores drop into my Inbox the other day, they made for some scary reading! They have certainly kicked me up the bum. I am working harder at perfecting each element of our tests and also the fluency of moving from each part to the next.

I took Darcy to a local British Dressage show to do her first Elementary test. She was a bit babyish at times but we scored 68.12%. It did throw up another issue that I can sort as well – Darcy was just not fit enough and that made her wobbly towards the end of the test. So I have been working her more outside the school as well upping the intensity of her dressage work.

As well as Darcy increasing her fitness, I have been working hard at the gym. I have been having twice weekly sessions with my personal trainer and then working independently twice a day. My cardio fitness has improved dramatically- my PB’s on the rowing machine have really come down! As well as making sure I don’t run out of puff in a test, we have been working on my balance on a gymball and core and back strengthening exercises on the floor. In the morning, I do a mainly cardio session, I have found that the treadmill doesn’t suit my joints but the rower and some cross-trainer work are possible and then I finish with some balance work and PowerPlate stretching. In the evening, after riding, I do some light cardio stuff and then weights, stretching, balance and mat work finishing again with PowerPlate.

I want to be in the best shape my body can be in for the Canadian Team’s European tour, starting in March. Annie Wright, my Chiropractor, is really important in all this as she works alongside my personal gym trainer and keeps me from picking up avoidable injuries. Staying straight, aligned and in balance helps to stop additional wear and tear on my very fragile body.

With all the horrid, windy weather we have had, George has not had as much work as I would have liked so I have sent him to local eventer, Jess Butler of Butler Eventing to get back into the swing of working, competing, hacking out and generally carrying on the good work that Carrie Adams started with ‘Spook-Busting’. To get him ‘back in the groove’ Jess is going to take him to some local shows. As I am hoping to take both horses to Europe, George is carrying on his crash course in confidence-building, ready to make his Para debut.

 

Photo by Carla Jane Photography at Vale View

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