skip to Main Content
Off Season Blog Featured Image

What To Focus On Now That The Show Season Is Over

Submitted by member: Caroline

I just finished up the last show of the season and have mixed feelings about having some downtime from lessons. What should I focus on over the winter?

Answer by Olivia Loiacono

Here are some tips that will help you come out ready to compete next season rather than feeling like you don’t have a plan. But don’t forget to rest a little yourself as well!

1. Watch videos: Watch videos of yourself. No, not just the good ones. Watch the ones where you made mistakes, too. Study your position, your timing, your horse. Take notes and bring them to your next lesson.

2. Help your trainer: Even if your horse is having some downtime from lessons, I can guarantee your trainer has some sale horses, and even more likely, youngsters that he/she is working on through the winter. Ask to help, ask to ride them, ask to watch their training sessions. You will learn a ton here!

3. Pick up a book: Turn off Netflix! There are so many excellent reads out there about riding AND horse management. Take this time to study the sport, and to study the horse. Being a good rider is only half the game here. You need to be a good horseman too.

4. Plan: This is the perfect time to get organized for next year. Renew your memberships (USEF, USEA, USHJA, etc.) Make some goals for the spring and fall, pick options A,B,C. Order any gear items that you broke/lost over the course of this year’s competitions. Make a “show packing list.”

5. Train the details: Once your horse has had a break and you’re back into training, make sure you focus on the details. During the show season, it’s easy to get wrapped up in schooling courses and required movements in each lesson. Now is the perfect time to fix that awkward elbow you have, the tilt in your hips, or your horse’s drift. Work on drills, position, and precision. Oh, and drop your stirrups too.

More Learning

For tips on improving rider fitness while your horse has time off, check out some of the blog posts by resident fitness and nutrition expert, Robin Martinez. Click here for a full list.

Off-season slump? See Linda Allen’s post: Tips to Keep Your Horse From Getting Bored at Home

Time to get your horse fit again after a break? See Olivia’s post: Exercises to Strengthen a Horse’s Hindquarters AND Denny Emerson’s video topic on Horse Fitness below.

Video Recommendation:

improving your horses fitness

Horse Fitness – Developing a Base of Endurance
Denny Emerson
As a Tevis Cup buckle winner in endurance, Denny Emerson is uniquely qualified to set forth a fitness plan for your horse. Additionally, decades of experience as an eventing World Champion give him just a little credibility on the subject as well! The key is to begin with LONG SLOW MILES (LSM) to develop a base of physical fitness that will ensure a sound, solid and sustainable athletic progression for you and your horse.
Running Time:  10 minutes and 48 seconds

View Video

Have Something You Want to Ask Our Panel of Experts?

Ask The Experts is the ultimate way to get help from the top professionals in the equestrian industry without leaving the comfort of your home. This service is available to Monthly, Annual and Lifetime Members of

Olivia Loiacono

After years of training, riding, and competing all over the world, Olivia decided to bring her knowledge and experience back to the Southern California eventing community. She now runs OKL Eventing. Bringing young horses through the levels and teaching all stages of eventing are Olivia's specialty and primary focus. During her free time Olivia enjoys giving back by contributing to Pony Club and helping to grow the local eventing community. Ultimately, Olivia is working to build up a team of competitive top level event horses to represent the United States in international competition.

Visit Olivia's website for more information:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top