Control the canter
It’s common to steady your horse when turning for a fence and then race towards it once you’ve found your line, but this could be setting you up for a refusal. “If you slow your horse down when you turn, you could be losing power,” explains Jemma. “The key is to push him on and have a canter that’s longer and more powerful, but not necessarily faster. Then, when you straighten up, you need to be able to control his stride towards the fence. “Give yourself time. The more you rush, the less chance you have to keep your horse straight on the approach.”
How to ride it
SET IT UP: Place two poles on the ground 19 yards (17.5m) apart down one side of your school or paddock. In the middle of the two poles, place a set of tramlines. a) Go large in canter around your school on the right rein. b) At the end of the school that’s closest to the first pole, canter a 20m circle. c) Establish a good canter, pushing your horse on to make his canter longer, but not faster. Think of it as adding energy rather than speed. d) Maintain this canter as you look for the poles. e) Turn towards your first pole, keeping your horse straight and between your leg and hand. f) Canter over the pole, riding straight between the tramlines and counting four strides to the second pole. g) Ride over the second pole and return to the track. h) Repeat until you’re confidently maintaining an even canter. i) Change the rein and ride over the poles in the other direction.
THE NEXT LEVEL: Adapt your horse’s canter and change the number of strides you fit in between the poles. Lengthen and aim for three, or shorten for five or six.
Tramlines help maintain straightness After the first pole, count the number of canter strides to the second