All RFS horses have individually tailored training programs
Selection of the best horses, training and horse management are the three critical components to delivering on the RFS vision and strategy.
Training of the RFS Show Jumping horses is lead by Peter Moloney with strong support from veteran Duncan Inglis (Team Manager) and second rider Aoife O'Connor. There are three pillars to the RFS Training Program namely Flatwork; Pole work and Grid work with Gymnastics.
Every horse is managed and trained to the highest standard to bring out the very best in each one using individually tailored programmes.
RFS’s eventers are trained by Caroline Harris with Captain Mark Phillips as her lead trainer.
Flat work is a vital part of every RFS horse's training. Without very strong flatwork we believe a horse cannot fulfil its true ability at the top level with complex challenges set by the modern course builder. Richard Davison ( four time Olympian Dressage rider) is the lead flatwork Trainer and provides unparalleled insight to each of the RFS horses. The initial steps are to address the specific challenges for each horse such as weight distribution or natural leg action. The generic flatwork challenges for each horse are agreed between Peter and Richard and the training program is tailored to incorporate horse specific exercises to address each of these challenges within every flatwork training session.
The RFS approach is to ensure the horse can complete all the requirements with ease included within the range of course building without the fences. These requirements include:
Training exercises are incorporated into the 2-3 days of flatwork training weekly as follows:
"Integrating pole work with flat work is critical"
Pole work is a key integrator between the flat work and show jumping. At RFS we re create different parts of courses using poles and raised poles. These will include different distances requiring shortening and lengthening with varied turns. This type of pole work is mentally and physically easier for each horse compared to jumping over fences and facilitates faster learning.
RFS uses regular pole work for developing strength and flexibility similar to working out in a gym. Varied exercises particularly engage the hind quarters where the exercise is increased further using raised poles.
"Integrating Grid work with Pole Work has Significant Benefits"
Grid work is a key integrator between the pole work and show jumping. At RFS we use grid work as our main form of jump training at home. It helps the horse develop its own technique and develop its own brain skills to think quickly and work things out for itself. RFS is always focussed on developing skills needed for jumping Grand Prix where we believe it is so important the horse can really think for itself and be able to adapt as required to different challenges. Early grid work training helps develop such skills.
The gymnastic work out around gridwork is a key tool for RFS to develop additional key muscle groups required for jumping