How to prepare the indoor season

Credit: Scoopdyga (archives)

Wednesday 12 October - 19h10 | Théo Caviezel

How to prepare the indoor season

As a rider, making the transition from outdoor competitions to an indoor course with your horse can be quite a challenge. To avoid pitfalls, extensive preparation is required. GrandPrix-Replay asked French riders Julien Anquetin and Olivier Robert, who are preparing for the first CSI 5*-Ws of the indoor show jumping season, for their expert advice.

Later this month, Julien Anquetin will get his first taste of top-level indoor competitions in Helsinki after his first selection at a CSI 5*-W. As the date approaches, the young French rider has been preparing calmly on the national circuit in his home country. “I started preparing the indoor season last weekend, at the Grand National of Lorient [in northwestern France],” he reveals. “It’s not my normal habit to do that; it’s the first year that I am starting the winter season with a World Cup stage so I think the best way to prepare my top horses is to jump this stage of the Grand National, which is an indoor event with a good atmosphere. Olivier Robert did the same thing as me, so maybe it’s not a bad idea,” he adds, laughing.
The native of Normandy has a riding school where he lives — a not insubstantial advantage — and has therefore prepared his horses with indoor sessions. “I think it’s easier for horses to get used to working in a covered space with less natural light, but when we have experienced horses, it doesn’t change much.”
So Julien, are you ready to make the big leap (indoors!)? “In the end, my horses are used to running inside each winter. It will just be the atmosphere that will certainly be different in Helsinki. In any case, I am preparing for it like any other competition!”
In the end, Olivier Robert has used the same method as Julien Anquetin to prepare for the shift indoors — something very different than the one he normally uses. 
“Normally, I finish preparing my indoor season in Morocco, at the Morocco Royal Tour which features an indoor CSI 3* at el-Jadida. Overall, this preparation has worked pretty well, but this year, we revised our plans and decided to go directly to the CSI 5* in Helsinki after having finished the Grand National stage at Lorient. 
Like his compatriot, Olivier can also count on a riding school near where he lives in order to better prepare the horses for an indoor environment. “Thanks to that, we have a pretty good interior workout space. Now, it’s up to us to organize things suitably. But Quenelle du Py also has a lot of ability and I hope the indoor season will start well [for us]… In any case, I think we are ready!”
Olivier’s motivation is easy to understand as he admits to having a weakness for indoor competitions. “I find outdoor competitions and indoor competitions to be two totally different sports when it comes to show jumping, but I am strongest indoors. It’s something that gives me an enormous amount of pleasure, and I have had good results at these competitions in the past, which pleases me even more!”


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