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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