TEST YOURSELF ON A CLOCK FACE
This final exercise requires you to negotiate a series of jumps in the shape of a clock face. Once your horse has landed, he needs to be thinking about the next fence, which will keep his brain engaged and stop him from switching off. “Don’t worry too much about the distance between each jump,” says Willa. “Focus on riding a good canter and learn to adapt your distance for each fence — this will ensure your horse is really listening to you.”
How to ride it
SET IT UP: Place four vertical fences at a height you’re comfortable with at equal points around your arena, on the inside track at A, C, B and E. If you prefer, have all four poles on the floor to begin with, so that you get a feel for the shape first. Go large around the track in an active, bouncy canter. Look ahead for your first jump. The first time around, only jump the fences at A and C. Repeat. Change the rein and jump the fences at A and C in the other direction. Now jump the two fences at B and E. Change the rein and jump them in the other direction. Once you’ve got the hang of jumping two fences in a row, it’s time to tackle all four fences together. Remember to ride to the middle of each fence and try not to fiddle with your horse’s rhythm too much; allow the canter to keep coming, so he has to think about his footwork in front of each fence. It might not feel comfortable at first, but don’t give up — it’s all part of the learning process. If you need to, jump threeee three fences (so you’re doing a semi-circle shape) as a stepping stone to tackling all four. Change the rein and repeat.
Below: Look ahead for your first jump and aim for the middleBelow right: Turn the upright fences into oxers — but only when you and your horse feel ready