How to build his balance by jumping diagonals

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This exercise is made up of three parts and is all about focus and looking ahead.

You’ll start this exercise by jumping an angle. This gets your horse listening to the line that you want. The take-off will be different to riding on a straight line – his inside shoulder will be closer to the jump and he’ll need to compensate for that. Balance will be key to helping him go clear. Once through the angled jump, the focus for your horse will then be on keeping straight and being bold. The second and third parts will help your horse to practise jumping through channels. He’ll need confidence to look through gaps and keep jumping. Ready to give it a go?

SET IT UP: Down one side of your school, build three uprights, with a distance of 6m-6.5m between each, depending on your horse’s stride. The end two jumps should be parallel, while the middle jump will be off to one side (see diagram above).

Part one: How to ride it

a) Canter around the outside of your school on the left rein in an even rhythm.

b) Look ahead for your first jump and turn down the diagonal towards it.

c) Jump the first and second jump of the exercise on the diagonal.

d) Canter straight towards the track and change to the right rein.

e) Repeat on the opposite rein (your third fence will become the first).

Part two

a) Pick up canter on the right rein.

b) Look ahead for the jumps and ride straight towards the centre of the first jump.

c) Jump the first and canter three strides towards the third jump.

d) Once over the third fence, canter straight back towards the track, changing to the left rein.   

Part three - the challenge

a) On the left rein, establish your bouncy canter and look ahead for the jumps.

b) Look down the jumps at a line that will take you over all three (Alex says use the wing of your last fence to act as a wing for your middle jump).

c) Canter straight towards the first fence and jump this – you’ll be slightly off centre to line you up for the second.

d) Jump the second and third fences with one stride of canter between each.

e) Ride straight back towards the track.

TAKE IT UP A LEVEL: Once you’ve practised the three parts on their own, try bringing them all together and riding as one exercise.

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