Nail curving lines
Sweeping lines on varying distances are commonly found on a course and can easily catch you out. Nail them at home with event rider
FENCES ON A BEND are common in a course and it’s imperative that you’re able to jump the right line. This element of jumping is a progression from dressage where you use your lateral work, such as serpentines, so that you’re able to change direction easily. Riding on a curve is a lot harder than riding on a straight line, as there is more chance for error in your stride pattern. The following exercises from CCI4* eventer Franky Reid-Warrilow are all about jumping on a curving line and changing direction, which will help you identify whether you and your horse find it easier to turn one way than the other. They’re suitable for any level and can be set up using ground poles, showjumps or moveable cross-country fences.
Begin with poles on the ground. Place one pole horizontally across the centre line with a left curve to the next pole (see diagram). Place another pole on the other side, on a right curve from the first pole. Both curves should be five strides from the centre pole. 2 Start in trot and practise on both reins so that you’re turning both ways. 3 Once you are confident, canter. There’s no jump here to change your line or speed, so just focus on your rhythm. 4 Make sure you ride over the centre of each pole every time. 5 You should begin to feel whether you and your horse have a stronger rein. 6 Use your eyes: when you’re two strides away from the first pole, look to the middle of the second. 7 Continue to ride forwards after the second pole. This will help you progress towards exercise three.
1 Turn the poles in exercise one into small fences. If you aren’t feeling confident yet, start with a cross pole. 2 Your left and right turns should be a mirror image of each other. This will give you a clear idea of your strengths and weaknesses on each rein. 3 Using your inside leg and outside rein is really important here to meet the right line. If you’re jumping on the right-hand curve and your horse is falling in to make the five strides short, this means your horse is falling in against your right leg, so you need to be able to push the horse out with that leg. 4 Remember your processes. When you’re two strides away from fence one, look to fence two. This will help you decide what line you’re on and what adjustments you need to make. 5 Always imagine that there is a third element and continue riding so your horse doesn’t learn to stop after the final jump. Practise turning both right and left after fence two.
1 Build an ‘S’ shape with your poles on the ground/small fences so that you’re going from a left turn straight into a right turn and vice versa. 2 Think of riding a serpentine, incorporating changes of direction. 3 Remember to use your eyes. While you’re going over the middle pole/jump, move your line of sight to your next fence. 4 To ride the ‘S bend’ perfectly you must stay on your line. To do this, you need to be able to stop your horse falling in, using the aids you learnt in exercise two.