This e-lesson with UKCC level three showjumping coach Joanne Burns-Firth focusses on using lateral movements in canter to improve your jumping. Joanne believes that "Canter is key" and uses this exercise when teaching beginners and competition riders alike, as it can be made as technical as required.


British Showjumping UKCC level three coach Joanne Burns-Firth focusses on using lateral movements to improve your canter in this lesson:

Step 1

Warm up your horse as usual, but incorporate 10m circles in canter. Make sure that you ride your inside leg to your outside hand when working on a circle to get your horse soft and bending nicely. When your horse is working well, begin leg yielding on and off the track as part of your warm up.

Leg yielding will enable your horse to move forward off the leg so that his hind leg steps forward to reach where his front legs would have been previously; your horse moves forwards and sideways on two tracks. Therefore his inside hooves step in front of and across his outside hooves. His back should remain straight and he should flex through his head and neck. This exercise helps to improve his lateral flexibility.

Once your horse has warmed up, use leg yield exercises before jumping to engage his hind leg. Also work on improving your turn into the jump by getting deeper into your corners. This creates impulsion out of the turn and helps to ride a disciplined turn into the fence.

Straight after the fence, leg yield back to the track. This encourages you as a rider to ride forward and not rely on your hands. It also helps to set the horse up for a flying change, if he has landed on the wrong leg.

You should initially work on one fence at a time, then as your canter improves combine both of the jumps. You could also begin with poles on the floor as well, and then work up to building a fence across both diagonals.


Rider focus

  • Ride a good turn with plenty of impulsion.
  • Look where you are going.
  • Think ahead.
  • Ride an accurate line to the fence.
  • Ensure your balance is central.
  • Have an effective, balanced seat over the fence so that you are secure and ready to ride forwards upon landing.

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