Here, event rider and coach Caroline Moore, explains how to get your horse fit for a show jumping competition
How can I ensure my horse is fit enough to compete in a show jumping competition?
First of all, think about how much work your horse will be doing in a competition. You’ll need to warm him up for around 30 minutes before going into the ring and there’ll be a short first round, which will usually take you about 1min 30sec to get round (these are normally set at a rate of 325-350 metres per minute). Then, if you get into the jump-off, you’ll have to have a short burst of speed and jumping to finish off with.
Ideally, you need to be doing around 40 minutes of training each day, including some slow canter work. This can be broken up by short bursts of intense activity, which could be made up of jumping around four to five jumps together. A great way to improve stamina is to maintain your canter after finishing your round. So many people let their horses stop and come straight back to walk, but I ask my riders to carry on riding for another two to three minutes after completing a round.
When getting a horse fit, an important aspect is the intense work you put in, which could be taking him to the gallops. Only do more intense work every fourth day – it’s been proven that your horse needs a chance to recover after hard work so the days of slow canter in between will help prevent injuries.