There are a variety of exercises that you can do at home to help improve your showjumping. Don’t miss these training tips to help you prepare for your next showjumping event.
Flatwork, flatwork and more flatwork
Flatwork is very important and the majority of your training time should be spent schooling. Do not over-jump your horses at home – instead work on improving their balance, adjustability, fitness and strength through schooling on the flat.
Poles are a useful training tool. As well as incorporating them throughout your flatwork schooling, try using V-poles when jumping. This encourages the horse to lift up through the shoulder and be neater in front. It will also help your horse stay straight, as straightness is key when riding a course.
Don’t allow your horse to rush
If your horse tends to rush off after a fence, try sitting up on the approach until the last second and then bringing him to a halt on a straight line if he tries to rush off after the fence. If you have a forward upper body position it’ll encourage your horse to be quicker, so ride tall. If your horse is allowed to pull you about at home, he’ll try to at shows too, so be consistent in your training.
Master your canter
A good, strong, rhythmic canter is a must-have when showjumping. This canter should also be adjustable so that you can lengthen and shorten your strides when required. Try asking your horse to go forward by giving with your hand slightly, then collect him back up by sitting up through your upper body. This will also allow you to ride with your seat more.
Use your leg aids
Your horse must listen to your leg aids. Even if your horse is hot-headed or excitable, he must still accept the leg as it will act as support into the fence. Make sure that your horse is used to the leg – if you go from no leg to too much into the fence your horse may overreact.
If you begin to lose impulsion on your turns, practice riding a small circle in your best ‘showjumping canter’ – focussing on maintaining your pace and rhythm. Then practice turning your horse using your leg and seat aids, rather than your reins. This will allow you to be lighter on your hands, thus not risking pulling on his mouth and losing impulsion.
Whatever fence you are approaching, do not change the way you ride. Think of every fence, whether it be a double, a treble or a related distance and only one fence and try to ride these combinations as you would a standard upright. This will stop you from over anticipating the jumps and transmitting this through to your horse.
If you’re looking for showjumping events to enter near you Equo has a wide range of events available to enter online with the click of a button. Visit www.equoevents.com.