Following on from our three useful exercises for horses that rush to fences, we’ve condensed some more tips into a 20-minute weekly workout:
It is obvious if your horse is rushing at a fence. Signs of rushing include your horse raising his head, clear quicken of the rhythm or no rhythm at all and a messed up stride pattern. Overall a loss of balance occurs and your jump is not as smooth as it can be.
This exercise is of benefit to all horses, not just those who rush. It can be done with anything from a pole on the ground to a vertical of 1.20m.
The ultimate aim of this exercise is to teach a horse to wait as he comes into a fence, as well as helping him stay straight and in balance on the approach.
Before you start, trot over a cross-pole a couple of times to get the horse into “jumping mode”.
- Set up a simple fence in the middle of your arena, with plenty of room before and after it. Set the fence at the right height for you and your horse, you need to be very comfortable jumping it. Let your horse to canter to it
- After jumping, allow him to canter away but prepare to halt about five or six strides after the fence and then halt
- From halt, ask for a half-turn on the haunches back towards the same fence
- When he is facing the fence, go from walk to canter and jump the fence again. After a few repeats of this exercise, your horse should begin to anticipate the halt and not rush towards or away from the jump
- Your horse should now go from walk to canter with the fence in his eyesight, calmly without rushing. It also shortens and “bounces” up the canter, which in turn will help make related distances easier
It is important not to over do this exercise, 20-minutes is plenty or you can stop as soon as you are happy. You don’t want your horse to loss his enthusiasm or become a backward jumper.
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