Let them kick the bed Learning from mistakes
THE NEXT exercise is a normal six-stride line and Sean reminds Devon not to get too picky, but to just let her horse canter and jump.
“This is one of those horses who, the more you try and do, the more it’s going to fight you. You have to let these ones learn from their mistakes,” he explains. “If they run you in deep and hit the fence, it’s going to hurt, so they’re not going to do it too many times. It’s the same as us: if we walk around the edge of the bed and kick it, the next time we’re going to walk right around the side of the bed. If they make a mistake and have a fence down, hopefully they’re clever enough to try and help themselves and jump it differently.
“Everyone tries to manufacture the horses too much and make them go a certain way, but then they never actually learn to go for themselves. I’ve had quite a few horses to fix that have been manufactured their whole life and then all of a sudden something has gone wrong but they’ve never learned to look after themselves and it makes their life so much harder. You have to train them that if they are a bit off or a bit deep, they have to jump. If they put themselves in that position, they have to figure out how to get out of it.”
When Chez gets a bit deep and knocks down a fence, Sean says ‘he’s just kicked the edge of the bed – hopefully he’ll learn from it.’ He tells Devon her ride was absolutely perfect and not to change a thing. Sure enough, next time around, Chez jumps carefully (right).
“He was looking for himself and jumped that fantastically,” says Sean.