We all know that sinking feeling you get when your horse decides to stop in the showjumping ring. A mixture of disappointment, embarrassment and sadness hits you like a bus. So here we identify different types of refusal and how you can help avoid them.
Preparation is key. You need to give your horse the best possible chance of jumping the fence, so straightness is key. If you are not approaching the fence in a straight line then you are opening the door for your horse to run out.
These types of refusal can be down to a lack of confidence in the surface or ground from which you are jumping your horse — think about appropriate studs if you are not jumping on a surface. Also remember that speed isn’t always the answer (in fact it rarely is)! If your horse is prone to stopping, firing it into the fence is likely to only compound the issue further.
The almost go, but then stop
Some horses might take you to the jump and then change their minds at the very last second. This is often due to a lack of horse confidence. Make sure that you are schooling and competing to the correct level of your horse’s ability and don’t be afraid to drop down a level to instill confidence. Also always make sure that you, as a rider, are doing everything correctly to help your horse.
If your horse is prone to jumping a fence and drifting mid-air to the left or right, your chances of making the second part of a combination or related distance are instantly reduced. You resolve this issue, riders need to go back to basics in schooling their horse. Start on the flat before moving onto ground poles before eventually returning to jumping fences. Riders must be focused and disciplined on riding their horses correctly and in a straight line — as soon as the rider stops paying attention to straightness, the horse is highly likely to return to old bad habits.
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