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’

NZ Horse & Pony - - Masterclass -

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!”

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