6 THERE’S NO MAGIC BULLET
Correcting a drift
When it’s time to jump, Vicky tells Chloe to carry her whip in her left hand to help with the left drift. “All horses are left- or right-handed, like people. My thinking is you should carry the whip on the side the horse is stiffest on,” she explains.
Vicky says Chloe can also use an opening rein to help correct the drift and adding a pole behind the fence might help keep Molly straight, but the biggest correction is flatwork – control of the left shoulder. Most of the training is actually about what you do before and after the fence, not the fence itself, she explains. “Where you hold the stick or the type of bit you use are all parts of it, but they are not a magic bullet. It’s the whole training technique and the philosophy of how you train your horse.”
Approaching the fence, Vicky reminds Chloe to get up into a light seat, until she gets to the corner before the fence – then she can bring her shoulders up. “Excellent distance. Super!” she praises. “But don’t sit on your backside when you land.”
The lesson finishes with Chloe riding down a small related line in six strides (right). Vicky wants her to stay absolutely straight and halt after the second fence, which she manages well.
“You poor thing,” says Vicky. “You’re probably bored witless because you only got to jump one little 85cm fence and I do apologise. I could jump you over 1.20m, but I’m trying to teach you something that you can take home. As a trainer I don’t want to win popularity contests, but I would like to think that I can help your horse. How easy was it cantering down that line?” “It felt better,” agrees Chloe. “When I first hopped on and started to jump, she was ducking, diving, jumping crooked and hollowing out,” concludes Vicky. “I would find it very difficult to take that horse around a 1.10m track the way she was on the flat. If you make them straight, and so they listen to your leg and stay in a balance, they are dead easy to ride. Those basics have got to be in place.”