Don’t try too hard The horse jumps the fence, not you!
Sometimes when we get so determined and try too hard the horse gets a bit confused and so do we! With the young ones you have to do little stints’
THE FIRST JUMP of the day is a little trot cross-rail with take-off and landing poles set 3m from the jump (above). The take-off pole gives the horse confidence and helps the stride become consistent, explains Sean. The landing pole prevents the horse from jumping too far out; the horse has to ‘finish’ the jump and tip behind to get their feet inside the pole, rather than doing a big ski jump.
Sean reminds Devon not to let her lower leg drift back: ‘You’re going scuba-diving!’ he says.
The first couple of times, Devon’s line after the fence is ‘squiggly-wiggly’, says Sean, and he reminds her to ride away from the fence in a straight line and stop. “He dodges left and right...he’s actually trying to escape a little bit everywhere, so that’s the main reason to be 100% in the middle and keep him straight,” explains Sean.
Approaching the cross-rail in canter, Chez is a little headstrong on the way in, and Devon takes a pull. Sean tells her not to worry so much about the distance, but just to let him quietly float over the pole. “There was a tug of war the whole way in,” he notes. “You want to get him soft in the canter and stay nice and relaxed. Trust yourself.
“You’re trying a little bit too hard to be super-accurate on a horse that’s not ready to be trained that way yet. Relax a little bit more. You have to keep the rhythm, soften to the pole and let him jump. He has to teach himself.
“The horse has to learn to do the job. You can’t help them. It’s them that jump the fences, not you!”