South-west brand ambassador Ali Dane shares some of Bruce Haskell and Kiwi Smog's top winter training tips in her latest Equo blog.

I’ve been training with four star event rider, ERA Chairman and BE trainer Bruce Haskell for a while now. He’s been brilliant with my quirky Morris, knows just how far he can push me before I cry and is relatively sympathetic when I fall off


My ponies (and I) have all enjoyed a lovely break and as a result are carrying a few extra holiday kilos, which will need to be shed before we’re able to safely leave the ground again. While the horses are all going through ‘Fat Camp’ (they probably think I should be doing it too), I’ve taken the opportunity to plan ahead and really get to grips with the training I need to do over the winter to ensure we’re ready for the new season. To help with this, I accosted Bruce (and his former four star horse Kiwi Smog) and asked for their top tips:


DO make back up plans. The weather at this time of year is rubbish. Life gets in the way. Work gets in the way. Kids get in the way. Make sure that you’re not putting undue pressure on yourself or your horse by leaving things to the last minute.

DON’T try and rush anything. Have a clear plan for each week, and what you would like to achieve from each training session. This doesn’t mean every time you get on your horse you need to be drilling him… Make the sessions fun.

DO be organised. Book the farrier, physio, saddler, vet etc in advance. Think about what kit you might need to update. Read the rules. Again.

DON’T over train. Too many miles on horses’ legs early on in the season often means a tired/sour/lame horse by mid season.

DO use your time wisely. If you are rushing, the quality of your work will be compromised. For example, if you only have 15 minutes to ride, you’re better off having a nice relaxing stretchy session than trying to go through a dressage test.


Identifying a goal for the season at this point is important, whether it’s to move up a level, or a three day event, because it gives you something to work backwards from and makes it much easier to formulate a clear plan.


The most crucial part, however, is to ENJOY IT. Happy winter training everyone!



Keep up to date with what Ali Dane and her team have been up to in her other brand ambassador blogs.