Seventeen ESNZ eventing squad riders were put through their paces at the latest Off Horse Camp held in Cambridge recently.

Performance leader Jock Paget says there is plenty to take away from the annual camps that focus on giving the New Zealand-based riders tools and opportunities to plug into top-flight expertise thanks to High Performance Spot New Zealand.

“We know riding is only one part of our sport,” says Jock, “so we try and supplement that that with all they need to know to become elite athletes.”

That includes strength and conditioning, sponsorship, branding, networking, nutrition, psychology and more. The latest camp started at the Avantidrome with strength and conditioning with Andrew Keene and Jason Hill giving riders tools and exercises they can easily do at home.

“These camps are an opportunity for us to plug into spaces which are really important to any successful event rider and we are so fortunate to have access to these types of facilities and experts through HPSNZ.” They are a chance to gather vital information about the riders who are tested through exercises specifically designed for eventers.

Over the past three years there has been a 59% improvement in the strength and conditioning pass rate, which is just what Jock wants to see.

“We give our riders the information, test them and educate so they know the areas they need to get stronger in. They head home with ways to improve their scores, which in turn improves their effectiveness on the horse.”

One of New Zealand’s leading sports nutritionists Jeni Pearce delivered a session on nutrition for riders, giving insight into ensuring both mind and body were powered up for top competition and training.

Also included in the Off Horse Camp was a session with former world champ Vaughn Jefferis, a session with Bundy Philpott and a day at High Ropes where riders delved into the sports psych side of the programme with Jason Yuill Proctor.

“This was about creating opportunities for riders to get into an uncomfortable space so Jason could walk them through what is happening to them physically and mentally. It was a day to learn about themselves and explore how they perform under the pump.”

Jock says there is a continual push to always be improving on the programme, and he feels every Off Horse Camp has continued to improve. “We are constantly developing the programme and building the capabilities of our talented riders.”

The camp was put together by Eventing Performance Manager Penny Castle and Eventing Performance Administrator Yvette Lawson.

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ