Your voices: The off-season

Your voices: The off-season

With the 2022 eventing season under way, we spoke to some of our members and supporters to find out how they prepared for the coming months.

“My off-season was very different to most other event riders as I flew directly back from Pau, my last event of the season, to university in Edinburgh where I spent five weeks solely focusing on my studies and dissertation while my horses enjoyed a holiday. It was a drastic change in routine from whole days riding to whole days in the library, but it was the perfect opportunity to prepare for the season as I was able to get ahead on my studies.”

“The off-season gave me chance to indulge in indoor photoshoots for clients, which made a nice change from yomping around cross country courses in all weathers. To get back up to speed for the season, I took a camera when I walked our dogs as they are always careering around like crazy, so taking shots of them really helped keep my reflexes sharp!”

“We bought a three-year-old and a four-year-old at the end of last year, so while our main horses enjoyed their winter break, we were busy with the young ones. However, since January, we stepped up the work with our main horses, practised our test riding with a dressage arena craft clinic and had show jumping lessons with coach Alan Fazakerley. Finn also attended a two-day junior development squad training camp to hone his skills.”

“I used the off-season to work on my own strength and fitness by getting back in the gym. I’m making this a key part of my weekly programme, even now the season has started again. The horses had a well-deserved holiday but began warming up for the season in January with some cold morning hacks before a jumping trip to Portugal in February.”

“I entered as many show jumping events as I could because it’s the phase that makes me feel particularly nauseous as I enter the ring. Which is bizarre really because if you knock a pole, it just falls down and you carry on! I also spent time doing regular yoga and pilates sessions as we riders often neglect our own fitness and focus on our horse, but we are one half of the team and so we need to have the core strength and cardio to do our bit too.”

“I used the winter months to prepare by jumping round some bigger British Showjumping tracks to help me improve and achieve my goals for the season. I did lots of combined training and practised my FEI tests to make sure I can not only ride my test but gain every spare mark I can too.”

“In November, I moved to Dorset to become a professional, basing myself with the incredible William Fox-Pitt – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! This year has started slowly as I caught Covid and sprung my collarbone lifting a haybale, but I’m fit and healthy now, so it’s full steam ahead. We have a season plan for each horse and we’re looking forward to, hopefully, a very exciting season.”

“We kept the horses ticking over with plenty of hacking and light. schooling on the flat. However, the big news was that Lucie and I were blessed with the arrival of our gorgeous baby girl, Aoife Olivia Sommerville, born 15 November, so we spent the off-season adjusting to life as new parents and spending time with family.”


First published in the Spring 2022 issue of British Eventing Life magazine