There is no benefit to losing your temper with the spooky horse (or ever for that matter) — you will end up taking two metaphorical steps backwards for every one step forwards you make. It’s not about whether or not your horse spooks, it’s how well you can train him to control the spook. You must always be patient.
Your horse might be green and inexperienced or perhaps is a bit older but is sensitive to new environments and changes in his usual surroundings while you’re riding. Here are some top tips for conquering spooky jumps with your horse:
- Allow your horse to go up to the fence and have a look. Walk past it plenty of times until he feels comfortable. If you’re not feeling super-confident on your horse, to start with at the beginning of each session you can lead your horse up to the spooky jump a few times before you get on.
- To start with approach the jump from a short distance away so that you don’t give your horse too much of a run up or time to think about the spooky fence. Despite only being in trot, make sure you are always thinking forwards. Make sure you maintain a secure lower leg, keeping your body upright so that you are ready for a spooky reaction from your horse.
- The fence doesn’t need to be big. Keep things small and straightforward to start with.
- Repetition is key. You want to desensitise your horse to these spooky situations — do plenty of small jumps until your horse is going over them quietly and confidently over the centre of the jump.
- If your horse jumps to the left or right or jumps too high over the fence, just keep repeating the exercise until you get the reaction you want. Only then should you move up into canter.
- Remember you are preparing your horse to go into the ring and do his job so don’t be afraid to show your horse as much as possible both at home and at a competition. Training shows and clear rounds are also a very useful tool for practicing in a show environment without any pressure.
- Ensure you release the pressure on your horse when he does as you wish without losing your balance or compromising your secure position.
If you’re ready to get out to an event, which will help your horse get used to a competition environment, why not search upcoming events at www.equoevents.co.uk?