HomeExpert AdviceArticleA little respect: Focus point

A little respect: Focus point

Posted in Riding Schooling and Training Jumping

Would your horse happily knock every pole on the course? Eventer Kitty Boggis helps you focus on clearing every fence, every time

Showjumping is all about leaving the fences standing, but with a horse who has little respect for poles, that can be easier said than done!

Get the basics right, however, and it can be done. It’s vital to have:

  • Focus
  • Rhythm
  • Straightness
  • Impulsion
  • A positive attitude

Here, Kitty Boggis illustrates the importance of these and suggests an exercise to help you achieve them. The result? A clear round every time!

A yellow rosette indicares advice that's especially suited to novices, or more experienced riders who fall into bad habitsFocus point

Whether you’re taking your horse somewhere new – a show, for instance – or if he simply gets a little jumpy when you first get onboard, like Colin, it’s important to get him settled in order to focus on the task in hand.

“Let him have a walk around until he is nice and relaxed before you ask him for anything else,” Kitty advises.

“If your horse is a little onward bound, try slowing your rising. This will slow the rhythm and speed of his trot, and create a little more elevation.

“Allow him plenty of time to swing through his shoulder and use his body as much as he can, and let him find his natural rhythm. It may be that you need to shorten your reins, to enable you to work your horse through to a nice contact, and have him more connected and smoother through transitions.”

Our trainer

Kitty Boggis has represented Britain at all four European levels, from Pony to Senior. In 2006 she won Gatcombe CIC** on Kings Cross and the South of England CIC** on Imperial Master, and she was fourth at Blair Castle CIC*** on Boondoggle.

Our models

Nicola Fryer has owned Colin, a 10-year-old Irish cob, for three years. When they’re not doing unaffiliated dressage and one-day events, they enjoy fun rides and side-saddle displays in costume!

“Colin can be quite sharp when he wants to be and can get nervous and jumpy, so I’m working on spook-busting him,” says Nicola.

“He loves cross-country, but lacks respect for showjumps.” Nicola hopes Kitty can help them with their ‘bogey phase’ in the lesson she won in an H&R competition courtesy of Toggi.

Our rosette symbols highlight expert riding advice of various levels

Our rosette symbols highlight expert advice for various levels

A yellow rosette indicates advice that’s especially useful for novices, or more experienced riders who fall into bad habits!

A blue rosette denotes information ideal for anyone who wants to improve their skills.

A red rosette highlights techniques for more advanced riders to try, and all of us to aspire to!

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