Jumping is so much fun, but sometimes we lose sight of this when our fears get in the way. Showjumping trainer Jackie Harris shows you how to get yourself back on track.
In your arena, lay out ‘corridors’ – parallel poles about 2m (6.6ft) apart – following the long diagonals, running F to X and K to X and another 3m (10ft) in from the track at B. Practise riding out of the corners and straight through the two diagonal corridors on a figure-of-eight in both directions.
Use an active working trot, keeping up the rhythm as you turn, and have your leg in constant contact with his side ready to re-energise him.
Trot Pole Exercises
Swap your corridors for lines of three or four bright-coloured poles placed between a pair of jump stands. Start with the poles about 1m (3.3ft) apart and adjust them according to your horse’s stride – you want him to have to stretch a little to bounce through them, but not flatten or or he may become unbalanced.
Now you can practise your ‘recovery’ – collecting the trot again after the poles. Ride the same figure-of-eight exercise as before.
When you are happy, introduce canter as you hit the track. Turn to the next line of poles in canter, come back to collected trot when you’re straight and ride over the poles. After the poles, leg-yield back out to the track, canter and repeat.
Trot to Jump
Now replace the trot poles with trot jumps and guide poles. Start with the jump on the long side at B. Use a cross-fence to remind you to aim at the middle and have a ground line at the base of the jump so the horse is clear about his take-off spot.