There’s a lot to think about in a jump off. Do you play it safe, take the long route and go clear, even though you could risk losing out to a faster pair? Or do you gamble, taking tight turns to make up time and chance a fallen pole?

Here, showjumper Yazmin Pinchen McCulloch shares three exercises to help improve your jump off performance by suppling your horse, getting them to listen and enhancing your control.

Exercise 1: Adapt their stride

Time: 10 minutes

In a jump off, you need to be able to adjust your horse’s stride to a fence quickly. Practise this exercise to get their canter under control.

Set it up: Place two poles on the ground down one side of your arena, eight canter strides (29m-32m) apart.

How to ride it:

  1. Go large in canter, looking for the poles.
  2. Canter over the centre of each pole, counting the strides between the two.
  3. Repeat this, aiming to get the same number of strides in.
  4. Now add or take out a stride, altering between the two with each repetition.
  5. Change the rein and repeat.

Exercise 2: Supple them up

Time: 10 minutes

This exercise helps make your horse more supple, ideal for perfecting those tight turns.

Set it up: Place a small upright jump at X in your arena, so you jump over it going from B to E.

How to ride it:

  1. Go large in canter on the left rein.
  2. Ride as if on a 20m circle, looking ahead for your jump.
  3. Turn towards your jump, keeping a forward but relaxed pace.
  4. Use your inside leg and outside hand to direct your horse. Jump the fence.
  5. Continue along the figure of eight on the right rein. Repeat the exercise and then jump back onto the left rein.
  6. As you progress, gradually make the figure of eight smaller.

Exercise 3: Get them listening

Time: 10 minutes

Having your horse listen to your leg will help with communicating quick changes of direction in a jump off. Practise the following on each rein.

How to ride it:

  1. Canter a 20m circle on the right rein.
  2. Use your outside leg and inside hand to guide them into a smaller circle. You should aim for 10m.
  3. Once on the smaller circle, use your inside leg to push him back onto the bigger circle. Open your outside rein to guide him.
  4. Change the rein and repeat.

Love hacking? Join our free #Hack1000Miles challenge and see how far you can go!

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