Cor­rect­ing a drift

NZ Horse & Pony - - Training Masterclass -

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.”

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