When planning their forthcoming competition season, riders will automatically schedule time to get their horse physically and mentally prepared for the rigours of competition, but few will apply the same approach to their own physical and mental state.

An unfit and ill-prepared rider will make the horse’s job considerably harder than it needs to be. No rider wishes to be burden to their horse, but if you are unsure where to start with your own preparations then you might consider going on a course specifically tailored to the needs of competitive riders.

Carys Brunner and Kim Ingleby are two experienced fitness professionals, who have worked with top riders to help them improve their performance and have also run their own fitness consultancies. Carys and Kim both compete in affiliated eventing so understand first hand the challenges that riders face in the competition environment.

The pair run three-hour courses tailored specifically to the needs of riders, which discuss ways to achieve ideal levels of fitness, nutrition to provide sufficient energy levels at a competition and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) techniques to help riders become mentally stronger and more focussed.

Carys believes that a lack of fitness and mental preparation is particularly relevant to amateur riders, who have busy lives to run alongside riding and competing.

“I believe that grass-routes riders from all disciplines can benefit from being taught simple techniques to increase their fitness level, which can be worked into their already busy lives,” she told HHO. “The course is not about getting everyone into the gym, but offering people tips on how they can improve the fitness while at home or in their lunch break.

“The nutrition element of the course is designed to help riders understand what type of food they need to achieve the right levels of energy throughout the day. Some riders find it difficult to eat before competing, but a lack of energy can be a real problem, especially on a cross-country course on a hard-pulling horse.

“My colleague Kim is an NLP specialist and she advises riders on mental preparation and goal setting to help them achieve good results, whatever level they are competing at. NLP can also help riders deal with problems such as nervous tension, which can adversely affect performance.”

Courses cost around £50 per person and are taking place on:

  • Sunday 23 January 2005 in Cambridge
  • Saturday 12 February in Bristol
  • Sunday 5 March 2-5pm The Quality Hotel, Stoneleigh
  • Tuesday 5 April 6-9pm The Next Generation Club, Cambridge
  • Tuesday 19 April 6-9pm Oxford
  • Tuesday 24 May 6-9pm Kent

The team are also happy to hold rider fitness courses in all areas of the country for groups of 12. For more details (tel: 01223 872619/07771 602225) or email: info@activenesse.com