My horse is a temperamental 5 year old 15hh welsh section D, she loves jumping and we have done 3 indoor show jumping competitions, one out door and we are at a show on Sunday.
I am actually taking my horse along with two other youngsters cross country training tomorrow, I was just looking for advice for getting her into a nice canter into a fence? As she will canter but only on her terms and it’s usually either very quick (as she is strong it’s difficult to hold her even in a gag) or broken, I want her to start going round in canter and I was wondering if you have any exercises that will help? She also tends to try and run out of doubles. Which will be a problem when the fences are bigger. Also she turns very sharp which isn’t great for dressage so I need some exercises to help her to go on the bit and start bending nicely.
I had a nasty jumping accident so I am not the most confident, but I want my horse at a good standard for competitions- and I feel with guidance we can achieve it
First of all, I think you shouldn’t be in too much of a hurry because your horse is only a 5 yr old.
You need to do plenty of work on the flat to improve the canter. Work to encourage your horse to stay in a rhythm and to remain relaxed. Use transitions to get your horse listening to you and working on your terms. Jumping is just an addition to canter work.
One good exercise to use is to have a 20 m circle with a jump on each of the 4 points (think of a clock face and place a pole at 12, 3, 6 and 9). Start with a pole on the ground and begin by just trotting over them in a nice rhythm and then eventually work towards cantering over the poles. By taking the inside track or the outside track, you can change how many strides you put in between each pole or fence and just keep everything low.
Also work around jumps when working on your flatwork, rather than doing your flatwork and then jumping. So, have your jumps out in the school and just walk, trot and canter in-between them and around them.
Another thing you can do is pick up canter, jump a jump and bring your horse back to walk as soon as you can. Keep repeating the exercise. The important thing to do is to keep everything slow and not ask too many questions. If you keep the jumps low you don’t really have to ‘ride’ it that much so you can hopefully maintain a nice relaxed rhythm.
Any sort of grid work would be good. There are some quite good grid exercises in this month’s ‘Eventing’ magazine, but any grid work will be good as long as you have someone who knows what they are doing on the ground who puts the poles in the right place. Grid work will give your horse a bit more confidence in the canter strides between the jumps and to teach your horse to jump off its’ hocks.
Also, go and canter in fields and establish a settled rhythm.
It’s all about patience and time and effort. Successful jumping begins with good flatwork. It needs to be right before you jump and you need someone on the ground who knows what they are doing to help you and guide you in the right direction.
Christine & Colin Hardinge – 07768 156012