Winter training for EQUITANA’s Firlefranz
EQUITANA’s Firlefranz has had plenty of time to enjoy life out to pasture over the summer months. Olympic champion Ingrid Klimke, on the other hand, spent much of that time enjoying a string of successes at many of the major tournaments with her eventing horses and had relatively little time for her promising youngster back at the stables. “Now that the summer holidays are over”, Ingrid announces, “it’s winter and the dressage horses’ turn to work”. By that, she means providing the horses with a sound education rather than actual competing. “I love doing this at home”, she says, because it means I can work in peace on the lessons that help bring the horses forwards”. She deliberately keeps Firlefranz, who is always highly motivated if a little high-spirited at times, occupied with a very varied programme. “One day we’ll lunge him over cavaletti, the next we’ll work him in the dressage arena, the day after that we’ll work him on half steps in-hand in an effort to improve his collection, and then do gymnastics to make him really supple. He always has one day a week free, however, which he spends either out to pasture or in a paddock.” This break is just as important to Ingrid as her highly varied training schedule, so that horses remain attentive and develop a healthy physique. “We try and build up a horse’s muscles through our different training units to strengthen his back and hindquarters in particular. Firlefranz really loves that aspect.” The 6-year-old chestnut and EQUITANA brand ambassador is intended to tread in the hoofprints of his successful father, Franziskus, at some point. However, he still has a lot to learn before that happens.