Balance, correct way of going and a good line are the cornerstones of jumping. And, if you can get these basics right, the rest is simple, says Richard Waygood
If you’re the type of rider who gets carried away planning elaborate training routines, or seems to always overcomplicate your schooling – either on the flat or over jumps – you’re certainly not alone. It’s something we’re all guilty of at one point or another. But what if it was possible get the same results, if not better, by keeping it simple?
While the excitement of jumping may entice you to rush through your warm-up routine, before you ask your horse to start leaving the ground, ask yourself…
- is my horse moving forward?
- is he laterally supple?
- do my brakes work? Does my accelerator work?
- am I in balance?
If you answer ‘no’ to any of these questions, spend a little more time perfecting the basics – practising transitions and riding shapes to engage his hindquarters.
There are three golden rules I use for riders as they ride over fences. Invariably, when something goes wrong on course, it’s due to one of these rules being broken…
- You must sit in balance all the time – on your approach, in the air, on landing and in-between
- Your horse must have the correct way of going for the obstacle in hand
- You must provide your horse with the correct line
A tell-tale sign of a loss of balance is the rider nodding their head as they land. Be aware of this when riding, or ask a friend on the ground to watch you.
Pick up a copy of October Horse&Rider, on sale 22 August, for Richard’s riding exercises to help you stick to the three golden rules.