NRM Rider Questions – Team Grayling

Q – Tell us a little bit about your team for the season ahead

A - This season we have Trudeau, GiddyUp and NRM Valiance lining up for a hopefully successful season. We have a couple of new thoroughbreds that have just arrived as well so they may come out later in the season. We plan to begin the season with the spring eventing and we will be lining up some show jumping events in between eventing to ensure we get some extra practice in.

Q - In preparation for the season, when do your horses come into work after their winter spell?

A – Our horses had 3 weeks off after the Taupo 3-day and have been in light work since. We like to do simple, basic training during the winter to improve their development. I may also experiment with some different training ideas tailored to a particular horse while there is no competition pressure on. I don’t have any set programme at this stage.

Q - While your horse have had a break what have you been keeping busy with? i.e winter sport, travel/ training etc?

A - We have a dairy farm to run so maintenance on the farm has been keeping us busy. However, Susan took a wee trip to England for a couple of weeks to visit some friends and check out the competition at Badminton.

Q - How long is the lead up to your first show?

A - We generally aim to start at the end of September, early October depending on weather, work commitments and eventing calender.

Q - What is your work plan with the horses during this time? IE- how much conditioning work, flat work, jump training happens on a weekly basis?

A - During the week we try to work the horses 6 out of 7 days. However, having an extra day off isn’t the end of the world. We canter or do hill work twice weekly, and often when schooling we school both dressage and jumping, be it only 5 or 10 jumps. Even after a dressage or jump we quite often take them for a walk over the farm. We try to hack out at least once a week to chill the horses out and take them around the hills for muscle building, even if it is just walking.

Q – Tell us about your feeding plan at this time of the year, does it change during the season?

A - During the winter we prioritise maintaining a healthy weight for the horses while they have a lighter work load. However, as we increase the workload, we increase the amount of energy we are feeding the horses. During the season we try to tailor energy needs to individual horses. We use a mix of Coolade, Race 13 and Sweetfeed, with chaff.

Q – What are your goals for the coming season?

A - Trudeau is currently at 1* level and we would like to think he has the potential to move up to 2* this season, with the correct training. I will be looking to qualify GiddyUp for a CCI 3*, to compete at Puhinui at the start of December. NRM Valiance will be looking to do the same as GiddyUp with Victoria. In between eventing, we would like to see NRM Valiance and Victoria doing some more Young Rider and 1.30 classes.

Q – The most useful tip or trick you have for getting prepared for the season ahead?

A- Don’t underestimate the basic walk, trot and canter work. Get to know your horse by getting to know the weaknesses and strengths of each horse and tailor the training accordingly.

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