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Ditches are the fi­nal task. To build con­fi­dence, Al­li­son be­gins by walk­ing over the small­est one she can find. “It never feels nice walk­ing over a ditch. If it does, it’s be­cause you’ve got in front of the horse,” says Lucinda. She ex­plains that walk­ing forces the horse to look at the task. Any faster and he can avoid the ques­tion by rush­ing. “Ev­ery­one can do a ditch in trot. Walk­ing is harder, but it sets up con­fi­dence for fu­ture ditches.” Feel­ing con­fi­dent, Al­li­son in­tro­duces her pony to a slightly big­ger ditch, be­fore pro­gress­ing to jump a log, ditch, log. In can­ter for the first time, Brooks puts in a big leap, un­bal­anc­ing Al­li­son. “The time you most need your horse to be straight af­ter a fence is when you’ve nearly fallen off. If he’d kinked then, you’d have fallen,” says Lucinda. “When you were only walk­ing over the ditch you weren’t grip­ping. Then you did the same in can­ter and got a big leap, which eas­ily un­bal­ances any­one. Think of it as hav­ing your horse in a tube of your legs, es­pe­cially when you’re un­sure about a fence.” Al­li­son and Brooks fin­ish on a pos­i­tive note, clear­ing the log-ditch-log com­bi­na­tion seam­lessly.

Pa­tience is key to Brooks pop­ping a big­ger ditch with ease

Don’t r ush d itches: time t o build con­fi­dence i s v ital

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