Leo’s back to work plan by Olivia Whitelaw

Leo’s return to work is going really well, he’s trying very hard and is looking better than ever. We have followed the ‘back into work’ plan laid down by Newmarket carefully, and as such he has been slowly building up his trot work, and i am very excited to report that he is now allowed to do some lateral work as part of his training. As he has started to do more work, we have been liaising with Dengie Performance Horse nutritionist, Claire Akers, and have now moved him back over onto Dengie Alfa-A Molasses Free and Performance+ Balancer. At the minute he’s still loving being in the field 24/7, but as the goodness starts to fade from the grass its important to know that he is getting exactly what he needs nutritionally as we step his work back up the levels.

Last weekend we went off to a really brilliant British Dressage Under 21’s training camp, where we had two lessons with Olivia Oakley and we really focused on his balance and rhythm in his suspension throughout the trot work. I was so pleased with how hard he tried, particularly as it was also his first time in months doing lateral work. Leo loved being back travelling and going away, and spent his time as per usual, being very excited, sleeping or eating in no particular order!

As winter squad training approaches we have made the difficult decision not to view with Leo this year for the official Pony Prime squad. The selectors viewing takes place in mid-September, and he will not be back at full PFEI work by then according to our training program, so we have discussed with the selectors how we do not want to rush him and that we would prefer to wait until he is back in full work later in the year. Luckily the selectors know Leo and his abilities well, and have been so supportive in letting us give him the time that he needs and so they are prepared to wait and see him just as soon as we feel he is ready. Therefore for the next couple of months we will be focusing on continuing his training a little closer to home, coupled with some lower level dressage competitions so that he can get himself back in the swing of the white boards whilst still remaining within his training plan. We will hopefully be getting to go to a few training camps too – the Dressage Under 21’s Christmas show being a particular favourite of ours.