Do you seem to find yourself more often than not, taking off too early or perhaps getting too close to a fence?

If so, this simple exercise should help you to correct the issue, without even needing to leave the ground.

The exercise

  1. Set out three or four ground poles, each one canter stride apart from one another (about three yards/three human strides), preferably in the centre of the area you are riding in
  2. Warm your horse up around the poles
  3. Once you are warmed up, canter down the poles. Focus on keeping your horse’s canter stride regular
  4. Aim for your horse’s canter stride to land exactly in the middle in between each canter pole — not too close to the next one, or too far away from it
  5. Don’t let your horse rush or sit behind your leg. Equally, it is important that you as a rider doesn’t chase or rush your horse down the poles
  6. Counting can help you to ride in a consistent rhythm, so count up as you go through the poles — doing this aloud should help you even more
  7. Don’t be tempted as you come around the corner to collect your horse’s canter as this tends to end up in riders then kicking three strides away from the fence or poles to get the stride they want— really try to keep the rhythm and balance all the way through the turn to the poles
  8. Don’t over-think where the poles are. Try to ignore them and instead focus on your horse’s canter stride instead
  9. Once you are both comfortable and confident with cantering down the poles, you can add a jump to the end. But don’t be tempted to change your way of riding just because there is a fence at the end

Ready to enter an upcoming showjumping competition? Search the range of events listed at www.equoevents.co.uk and get ready to enter, compete, repeat.