It’s official – we’re one week away from leaving for Coconino.
We’ve already talked about the tremendous task that is packing, and right now I’m choosing to bury my head in the sand and pretend I don’t have to worry about that yet (omg), so let’s not talk about it again. But as I’ve tweaked Henry’s work routine a little bit this week to prep for the long trip followed by two weeks of showing, it got me wondering what other people do to prep for shows.
Most of the time I don’t really do anything drastically different before an event, I just scale it all back a bit. Usually a few days before we leave I pop Henry over some fences, more for my sake than his, and put in a dressage ride or two, but mostly I just focus on keeping him happy and feeling good. I don’t like trying to fit a bunch of lessons and work in at the last minute; I want him to get to the show and be happy and interested in what we’re doing, not mentally/physically burned out or tired and sore. I feel like if I’ve done my job on a day-to-day basis in preparing him, there’s no need to cram a million things into the last week or two.
Of course for this show we’ve done way more conditioning than we’ve ever done in the past, so while I will keep up with his normal schedule of conditioning rides, he had his last really long one on Monday and now they’re getting scaled back a bit. We’ll do a couple more dressage rides and he’ll have his last jump school this weekend. The day before we leave he gets a day off and a massage. Otherwise we’re gonna hack out in his sidepull, go on some long walks, and take a little bit of a breather before the whirlwind starts. We’re as prepped as we’re gonna be.
Which approach do you prefer – a lighter workload the last week before a show, or lots of cram sessions to try to sharpen things up? And more importantly – why?