British eventer Tom Rowland has competed at the likes of Badminton and Burghley, completing his first CC15* at Pau in 2015.
Here he shares his top tips for training, to improve your riding and boost your jumping confidence.
Tailor your warm-up routine to your horse’s temperament. If your horse is forward-going keep your warm-up very relaxed. If he’s more sluggish, this is your chance to get him awake and ready to jump.
The most important thing for any horse when jumping is going straight.
Using poles with coloured stripes makes it easier to judge whether you’re jumping straight. Aim for the central stripe.
After jumping a new obstacle or course of fences, take a short break before staring a new exercise so that your horse can process what he’s learnt. Walk around the arena or do a couple of figure of eights, but keep the walk active.
Get your horse used to working in an arena containing jumps, even if you don’t plan on using them.
There’s a balance between keeping a soft hand and keeping the line of communication there too. Be giving enough that your horse knows you’re there, but you’re letting him lead.
Walk the courses you set up at home as you would at a competition. Not only will this ensure you’re not making the course unnecessarily hard for your horse, it’s also great practice for competitions.
In training, it doesn’t matter if your horse makes a mistake. Don’t panic, that’s what training is for. If he makes the same mistake a second time, that’s when it’s something to work on.
Get creative with your training at home. It’s the place you both feel most confident and comfortable, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
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