When your horse rushes at fences, it’s easy for him to make mistakes and pay little attention to where he’s putting his feet. Try the following exercises from showjumper, Tim Page.

In the first exercise, you’ll bring your horse back to trot. Trotting in your approach gives your horse more time to think and also gives you the chance to keep him straight, if he tries to run out.

Exercise 1: Improve the accuracy of your horse’s approach

SET IT UP: Put a cross-pole at a height you’re comfortable with across your school or paddock. Place a canter pole either side of the fence, roughly three yards away.

How to ride the exercise

  1. Go large around the school on the left rein, establish a steady trot with an even rhythm
  2. Once happy with your trot, look ahead for your turn to the fence
  3. After your turn, straighten your horse and maintain a steady rhythm in trot
  4. Jump the fence from trot
  5. After the fence, ride in a straight line back to the track, turning back onto the left rein to repeat the exercise

THE NEXT LEVEL: Add a second fence, so that you’re gradually building up to riding a course of jumps and you’re happy you can maintain your horse’s speed throughout

Exercise 2: Collect your horse’s canter

Once you’ve mastered jumping from trot and feel your horse is working in a calmer manner, take it up to canter. This exercise encourages you to collect your horse’s canter and keep him in your hand to stop him rushing.

SET IT UP: Put an upright fence at a height you feel happy with on the diagonal of your school. Place one canter pole on either side of your fence, six yards away. On each side of your canter poles, add another two poles eight yards away.

How to ride the exercise

  1. Go large around the outside of your school on the left rein and establish a steady canter
  2. Look for your jump and turn towards the fence, keeping your horse straight
  3. Canter over your first pole, aiming to have two strides of canter to the next pole
  4. Jump the fence and ride two strides of canter between the poles on the landing side

THE NEXT LEVEL: Vary the distance of the poles so that you have to lengthen and shorten your horse’s canter stride.

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