Getting Out of the Sandbox With Catherine Chamberlain

Catherine Chamberlain in the show ring with her Maxtra Saddle Pad during the third leg of the 2018 Adequan West Coast Dressage Festival.

As a top dressage rider and trainer, Catherine Chamberlain is no stranger to hard work. Among her long list of accomplishments, Catherine has earned her United States Dressage Federation Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals; earned national titles in the Junior and Young Rider divisions; and represented the United States at the CDIO Young Rider Nations Cup in Hagen, Germany. But she still makes time to have fun with her horses, too. Just like us, they need a break sometimes and cross-training is the perfect way to give it to them. Below, Catherine shares six of her favorite reasons why you should think outside the (sand)box!

1) Cross-training is helpful in preventing burnout and keeping your horse from getting grumpy or ring sour.

2) Taking the time to break up your routine and have some fun with your horse can breathe fresh air into your training program and make you look forward to another day of training instead of dragging your feet into it!

3)  Hill work helps your horse build pushing power and strength behind.

4) Cavaletti work or jumping (for a non-jumper) helps increase your horse’s reach and range of motion. On those days, I make sure to use my Maxtra saddle pad on my horses as it gives them the freedom in their back and comfort that they need.

5) Track work or trails can help improve your horse’s cardiovascular fitness, something we’re not always aware of until our horses are getting duller and slower at the end of our rides.

6) Lastly, cross-training helps you remember why you’re training and competing in the first place. Sure, competing and winning are amazing, but most likely that’s not why you started riding. Most of us started riding because we love horses and cross-training can help you remember that love and passion you felt in the beginning of your riding career. Use cross-training to let yourself enjoy spending time with your horse and just have fun in each other’s company!

Catherine Chamberlain and her mare, Sophie, training at home.

Categories: From Pasture to Performance