Israel’s #1 ranked show jumper Danielle (Dani) Goldstein is no stranger to the winner’s circle. Just last week, she and top mount Lizziemary won the CSI5* ‘Saturday Night Lights’ Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival — for the second year in a row!
The good news? PonyApp has recruited Dani to be your personal trainer for a day. Here’s a look at the program that keeps her horses at the top of the podium.
Building Stamina — I think the horses need an enormous amount of exercise for what we do. It’s about cross-training and the overall fitness program. I like my horses to get out and exercise 3–4 times a day.
Flatwork — This is a super important part of my program. I ride my horses for a good 45 minutes to an hour. For me, taking that time to get them loose through their bodies is the most important thing.
Jumping — I try not to jump too much when the horses are on a break. Gearing up for a show, I try to do 2–3 days, scattered over a weekly period. I’ll do a mix of course work at a moderately high height, a day of gymnastics, and then maybe another day of low cavaletti work.
Trail Riding — I personally love trail riding, but I’m so worried about the horses getting hurt on uneven footing. At home, we’ll take them to the woods, where I love to gallop them on a straight line for a really long time. I think it’s good for them to not always go on a tiny little circle [in the ring].
Aquatic Treadmill — I love this machine because it’s a little less impact on the horses’ joints and it really exercises their hind end when they have to pick their legs up and out of the water, and put them back in at the correct level.
Walker — My horses typically start their days at home with a good, 45 minutes on the walker in the morning. I prefer this to hand walking, because I think they walk too slow in hand and they don’t exercise enough.
Lunging — I’ll put my horses in the ropes [or a lunging rig] with the bridle on, and I like them to stretch down on the lunge line. If you can find a place [such as a round pen] where you can let them lunge freely, that’s ideal. As long as they’re not stupid about it, I think it’s better for the horses to find their own balance instead of holding them on a line.
Routine Services & Therapies
Chiropractic — I think we as riders make our horses do such unnatural things, they need to have some type of external re-alignment and help. When the physiotherapist comes, she’ll work on the horses for a long time, and then I won’t ride them for 3–5 days. We’ll lunge them and they’ll stretch their backs, but that’s it. I think that allowing them to have that kind of recovery is really important.
Dry Needling — Our physiotherapist sometimes recommends dry needling to focus on specific areas on the horses. We tend to use dry needling more than acupuncture.
Icing — I’m a big believer in ice! I think it is one of the most valuable, therapeutic things you can do any time the horses jump or work extra hard.
Feed & Supplements
Havens Horsefeed — I try to keep my feed program pretty simple, but I really like Havens grain.
Muscle Recovery — I like to use a Lactanase-type supplement, or Neutradex, for muscle recovery. I will also medicate therapeutically, such as giving the horses aspirin, as needed, if we’re at home a week before the show and we’re going to jump a little bigger.
Yunnan Baiyao — In general, I like to gear my supplement program toward fixing a specific problem. For example, Lizziemary has asthma, so with her, I use Yunnan Baiyao, a Chinese herb supplement for respiratory issues.
I think bits are such a personal, rider-based thing. It’s so much about that balance between your leg and how much pressure you’re using with your hand, and creating that individual connection with the horse.
One Rein Gag
My favorite show bit is a one-rein gag, which I use on Lizziemary and some of my other horses.
- I like this particular bit because there are lots of different models and variations.
- I’m short, so I think I gain more reaction time from a one-rein gag than I might with a different bit or two reins.
- I like that this bit allows me to make a quick decision on course or change my mind if I need to.