1. Fortify Your Flatwork
Establish a good-quality canter.
I start by sitting down in the tack, wrapping my lower legs around Autumn’s sides, while maintaining a steady connection to his mouth. This encourages him to step his hind legs well underneath his body, producing a nice uphill balance in self-carriage. Once we find that canter, I’ll stand up in my two-point position and trust him to continue on without losing his balance or pulling on the reins.
Know your horse.
If you have a nervous or spooky horse, trotting past the first jump during your entrance may help to build his confidence. Getting this close to the fence is permissible so long as you don’t aim him toward it head-on or lose your forward momentum. Here I’m keeping a good rein connection and asking for a slight inside bend before picking up the right-lead canter.