Combined Driving Training Schedule With Bram Chardon

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Bram Chardon times Mary Phelps and her pony pair going through the obstacles.

Bram Chardon times Mary Phelps and her pony pair going through the obstacles. Photo: Cheryl Bess

Having just completed another successful clinic with Bram Chardon (NED) three time Pony Driving World Champion, I wanted to share the training schedule suggestions he wrote out for my three ponies during our last time together two years ago. I heard him make suggestions to other participants this past week in Southern Pines, North Carolina refering to the basic outline of this plan, so wanted to share.

Interval Training Schedule 1X a week

This will simulate the marathon without the Obstacles

30 minutes warm up working trot (phase A)
10 minutes walk - Rest
 
Repeat 4 times
3 minutes working trot
1 minute good working canter

Then build up to 8 times a minute canter
Do circles at a canter to simulate negotiating obstacles
(every week one more time)

Practice "sprints" which will be needed heading in and out of tight obstacles.

5-10 minute trot (easy)
15 minute walk

Day After Interval
Longing 1/2 hour
or
single 30 t0 40 minutes; stretching, relaxation
Ponies must do something the day after

Dressage Training - Minimum 1 hour
Warm -Up
Practice dressage parts, improve mistakes
Drive the test
Improve what went wrong
Finish
If possible warm up and test in a different arena

At show - Al single first

Marathon Training
30 minutes warm up - A section
10 minute walk
drive obstacles
Flag some with long and short options

Start easy, don't make them crazy
Focus on route and position in the obstacle

After some rounds, speed up and time
Drive the long and short route
Compare the time
try to pick the perfect route and be a your time
If they get too strong, slow down, stay in obstacle, and just drive around

Always finish with a good round and feeling

Don't drive too much race obstacles like the water

Cooling down, trot 10 minutes, then long walk

Always after marathon, light work, longing
If they are just turned out, with walking in the field they do not loosen the muscle

Cones
Get a little course
Train at advance width 20 cm
Good warm up, don't start when they are too fresh
Drive some single combination: slalom etc
Go for the course - on time

If cones are set up drive in them daily. Also after/during dressage training so they stay relaxed in it

Ideal schedule for the week - 3 ponies
1 - interval training should be combined with the marathon
2 - single/longing
3 - pair dressage
4 - pair dressage
5 - cones
6 - Interval/marathon
7 - short longing/day off

Change according to shows and if ponies are not fit. If one of the phases is not good, more focus on that one.




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