Jumping your horse indoors — whether you’re training or competing — can be a whole different ballgame, so it’s important to be prepared. It makes sense that the smaller the arena, the harder it becomes, particularly if you’re jumping.

With a cluttered arena your horse will need to be attentive to your aids, but also be prepared to think for himself when needed. He also needs to be super balanced to deal with all the tight turns involved…

1 Create confidence

The first thing you should nail is your warm up. Create something simple that you can do at home and replicate at competitions. It should involve lots of circles, changes of bend and transitions.

Make sure he stretches at the beginning and end of the warm up too. This will give your horse confidence as it is something familiar.

2 Shorten your distances

When jumping indoors you’ll have shorter related distances – three- or four-stride combinations rather than seven or eight. Build these distances at home to help your horse deal with them.

3 Practise in tight spaces

Space will be tighter indoors and you’ll be jumping into the wall. You can still practice this in your outdoor school – just position the jumps near the edge of the arena and closer together than usual.

4 Hire an indoor arena

Most people don’t have their own indoor school, but it’s a good idea to practise in one if you can by hiring a school for an hour so that you (and your horse) can to get a feel for it.

5 Use every corner

Use all the corners – there will be less room to take a turn, so utilise the space well.

6 Walk it well

Walk the course carefully and watch a number of other competitor’s rounds before you’re called in. This way you can work out what’s causing riders most problems.

7 Relax and have fun!

Remember, you’re here to enjoy yourself. Take a few deep breathes and think positively. You’ll love it!

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