Marilyn Little’s Top Three Tips for Training at Home
Sponsored by Intrepid International
Top equestrian Marilyn Little has made a name for herself representing the U.S. internationally in both show jumping and eventing. She was a gold medalist at the 2015 Pan American Games, holds two records in U.S. Equestrian sports, won the 2016 CCI3* Fair Hill International US Eventing Championship, and in her first show back after breaking her foot earlier this year, won the $35,000 Hollow Creek Open Jumper 1.50m Series Round 2. Marilyn graciously took some time out of her busy schedule to give us her top training tips that riders can use out of the show ring!
Top Three Tips for Training at Home:
1) Be fully available.
The saddle is a no cellphone zone! We’re training our horses at every moment so take training seriously by giving it your full attention. Your horse knows if you are focused on him. If he thinks you are not, he will tune you out, too!
2) Make time at the beginning of your ride to listen to your horse physically.
No headphones or chatting with friends. Make yourself as aware as possible of how your horse is feeling. Pay attention to soundness, soreness from previous training, mental readiness to get started, mood, etc. Training against physical discomfort is useless and unfair.
3) Practice competing several times before the show so you and your horse are mentally prepared!
Change in routine, a pressurized atmosphere, and adrenaline all work against your attempt to produce a personal best at the show. Practicing competing allows the rider to see how the horse will handle an unfamiliar atmosphere and allows the horse to receive information from a rider that is relaxed and not dealing with show nerves. Practice “warming up” in one area at the unfamiliar place and then move to a second area to “show.” And always practice competing in your show gear at least once!