How to stop my horse knocking jumping poles?

Does your horse knock poles when he's jumping? Follow top show jumper Ben Maher's advice on what you can do. 

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Q: Although my horse can jump the height, he sometimes has poles down because he doesn't tuck his legs up properly. Is there anything I can do to help him be more careful? 

It sounds as though your horse is unbalanced, so concentrate on your flatwork to gain an even rhythm and make sure you remain soft in your hand. 

A good exercise to develop a nice rhythm is canter transitions. This gets your horse's legs underneath him and works on developing his balance evenly on both sides.

Another thing to remember is to use twice as much leg as you do with your hands, for example if you do take a pull on the reins, you need to back this up with your leg to ensure your horse doesn't fall out of balance.

Your position is important too,

You need to keep your upper body upright on take off and move forwards with your horse's natural movement. 

If you lean too far forwards, you'll be putting your weight onto his front end, which will unbalance him and make it harder for him to clear the poles. 

Putting both your position and flatwork skills together, try practising your jumping over bounce jumps and a row of vertical fences. 

These ask your horse to power through using his hindquarters, so are great for developing his balance.