I just took a look back at my column from one year ago. I titled it “A Fresh Start”—appropriate for January. In that editorial, I wrote about my inability to keep a new year’s resolution. And I was telling the truth—for I tried again to make and keep a resolution last January and it didn’t quite stick. But I made another attempt last April with an extra effort to take it one day at a time. Guess what? It stuck. Almost 10 months later, I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been.
In my journey to become healthy, I discovered the power of cross-training. Not only has this concept helped my fitness level but it’s also kept me from becoming bored and losing my enthusiasm. This leads me to this month’s issue, in which we include several stories on this very topic in our “Horse-and-Rider Cross-Training Handbook,” starting on p. 42. This guide offers advice from various experts on how you can cross-train yourself and your horse to maximize your success in the coming season. One of the articles covers Hanna Somatic Education, a topic new to Dressage Today. Introduced to us by DTs Technical Consultant Felicitas von Neumann-Cosel, Hanna Somatics teaches you how to access chronically contracted muscles that you are aware of as well as discover and gain more conscious control over the muscles you are not yet aware of. This process helps to eliminate soreness and improve a rider’s balance, posture and ability to follow the horse’s movement. Read “The Training Between Your Training” on p. 52.
In addition to our cross-training guide, we hear from Bill Warren and Bill McMullin, also known as “The Bills.” These dressage trainers have a knack for cultivating Adult Amateur riders in an environment that fosters camaraderie and a love of the sport, whether the end goal is to compete or not. And when it comes to cross-training, The Bills are adamant about their students stepping outside the “sand box.” Both men frequently send riders out on hacks around the farm. “We want our riders to be able to enjoy their horses,” says Warren. “Making a rider is a lot more involved than just taking someone through a fancy movement.” Read the full story on p. 28.
While the majority of this month’s articles focus on cross-training, the January issue wouldn’t be complete without a breeding story. In “Selecting the Ideal Broodmare” (p. 36), we hear from three sport-horse breeding experts about the factors that make or break a good dressage broodmare. We also hear from Iron Spring Farm about the five qualities a breeder should consider when choosing a stallion (p. 38).
There’s plenty more to help you get your training off to a great start in 2016. As always, please be sure to let us know what you think of the magazine.
Until next time…