1. For­tify Your Flat­work

Practical Horseman - - Cross Country -

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.

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