Gearing Up for the Eventing Season: A 12-Week Fitness Plan

Gearing Up for the Eventing Season: A 12-Week Fitness Plan

The anticipation is palpable as the eventing season calendar is now live and the countdown is on. If you haven’t already started, now is the perfect time to kick off your horse’s fitness plan, ensuring they are in prime condition for the upcoming events. The following 12-week fitness programme is designed to transition your horse from a winter break to their first event of the year. Please note that this plan assumes your horse has not been turned away due to injury; consult your vet for a tailored program if that’s the case.

Week 1-3: Coming Back from a Break

  • Week 1: Begin with around 30 minutes of roadwork walking each day.
  • Week 2: Increase walking time to 45 minutes on the road daily.
  • Week 3: Progress to 60 minutes of walking on the road, incorporating more hills.

Note: If your horse has been in light work post-season or engaged in other activities, you can join the program at this stage.

Week 4-6: Building Up the Pace

  • Week 4: Introduce short spells of trotting (two minutes at a time) during hacks on suitable surfaces.
  • Week 5: Extend trotting time and incorporate more varied terrain. Introduce 20 minutes of flatwork during a 60-minute hack.
  • Week 6: Start a rotated exercise program including hacking, hill work, flatwork, and some jumping.

Week 7-8: Adding Intensity

  • Week 7: Increase hill work and slow cantering.
  • Week 8: Introduce more jump training and extend slow canters to three or four minutes on varied ground.

Note: If your horse has been in regular work in other disciplines, such as hunting or showjumping, you can join the program at Week 8.

Week 9-11: Discipline-Specific Training

  • Week 9: Introduce faster work and stronger canters on a slight incline. Include a dressage or small jumping show.
  • Week 10: Cross-country schooling with a focus on discipline-specific training. Maintain cantering and hill work.
  • Week 11: Varied week including hill work, strong canters, discipline-specific training, and relaxing hacking.

Week 12: Preparing for Competition

  • Week 12: Your horse should be ready to compete. Listen to your horse and adjust your riding accordingly. Expect heightened adrenaline during the first event; use it to settle them into work for the season ahead.

By following this structured 12-week plan, you’ll ensure that your equine partner is not only physically prepared but also mentally ready for the exhilarating challenges of the eventing season. Happy eventing!

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