Preparing for Show Jumping Season
My name is Tara Wilkinson and I am 16 years old. I compete three horses: Lissadell Satin, a 15.1h 11 year old, brown thoroughbred mare, Lissadell Zuba, a 16.2h 7 year old, grey thoroughbred x warmblood gelding and Harmony Hills Fabio (aka Zorro), 16.3h 11 year old, grey warmblood x Andalusian gelding.
My preparation for this year is well underway, as the 2018 show jumping season has already begun. Some of the major shows this year include Gatton and Caboolture World Cup as well as Aquis Champions Tour. I have already competed at Australia Day Championships (Toowoomba), Allora Show and Clifton Show. I have a very busy calendar as I also compete in Interschool Competitions and so organisation is key.
Every weekday morning at 4:30am, I wake up and ride Zuba and Zorro, as I have not yet brought Satin back into work. I vary their training regime, as they are both horses that need to do something different in order to keep their concentration. Some days their rides will consist of roadwork if I am running late, however usually it ranges from flat work to light jumping exercises.
Flat work is the most important element of their training, as it teaches them to perform on the aids and to be able to carry themselves whilst maintaining the contact. Once or twice a week I will work on straightness – a skill that is often overlooked but is, in my opinion, the most important of all – as I have always struggled with it. I will use small jumping exercises to work on both the horse’s straightness and mine.
As I am still quite inexperienced, I rely heavily on watching myself ride through video clips and comparing it to those of professional riders. I analyse what I did wrong and try to figure out how I can fix it. I constantly watch YouTube videos of European riders: such as Penelope Leprevost, who is somebody I look up to in my riding and someone who I can copy, as we are both very tall riders.
These are some ways I prepare and practice for the Showjumping season. I am very excited about this year and I look forward to representing Hampton and Harlow Equestrian!