Riding accurately is a crucial element of jumping a clear round and feeling confident. Top Aussie event rider Sam Griffiths, who won Badminton CCI5* in 2014, shares the following three exercises that will help to improve your accuracy around a course of fences.
Before you start, remember to warm up.
Exercise 1: Control his canter
Time: 5 minutes
Being able to control your horse’s speed has many benefits. When it comes to jumping, it can really help your approach if you can control his stride. In this exercise you’re aiming for your horse to respond as quickly as possible and to make him sensitive to your aids.
- Go large in canter around your school or paddock.
- Use your leg to speed him up along the long sides. Try to only ask once.
- Slow the canter on the short sides.
- Repeat this until your horse is reacting quickly and obediently.
Exercise 2: Boost his straightness
Time: 15 minutes
Keeping your horse straight sets him up to jump clear. To set up this exercise, place two poles on one side of your school or paddock, five canter strides apart.
- In trot, ride over the centre of the first pole, maintaining a straight line to your second.
- After the second pole, ride straight back to the track.
- Do the same in canter, keeping your position upright.
- Now change the rein and repeat.
- Once you’re feeling confident, raise your poles by 30cm and repeat the exercise again.
Exercise 3: Learn to see a stride
Time: 10 minutes
This final exercise helps you to see a stride. Keep your poles as before, but raise the height of the second jump.
- Go large in canter and look ahead.
- Canter over the first pole, keeping an upright position.
- Count the strides from the first pole to the jump.
- Repeat until your horse is consistently getting the same number of strides between the pole and jump.
- Remove the first pole and repeat the exercise, checking that you can see a stride.
- Change the rein and repeat.
Meet the expert: Sam Griffiths is a 5* star Australian event rider. He won Badminton in 2014 and was part of the bronze medal winning team at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Main image = stock image. Credit: Your Horse Library