If you’re looking to compete in some upcoming showjumping competitions, don’t miss these tips to help ensure an effective showjumping warm-up.

Warming up for a showjumping class can be stressful. The warm–up is often crowded and this, combined with trying to remember your course, can lead to bad nerves and poor performance. For this reason we’ve put together some top tips for keeping calm, so that you can enter the ring feeling confident and ready.

  • On arrival, find out where the jumping and warm-up arena is. Ask the collecting ring steward whether there is a course walk and how they are letting people in (first come first serve, or number order). Have an idea of what time you want to get on and make sure that you watch a few rounds to see how the course is riding.
  • Take some time to note how you are going to go through the start gate and which rein you are going to come off. Horses tend to find it easier to change lead over a fence, so it’s a good idea to start on the opposite rein to the direction of the turn to the second fence.
  • If you get an opportunity to walk the course, do so thoroughly and picture yourself riding each turn and fence approach.
  • Before you mount, always check that your tack is correct and you’re wearing all the right clothing.
  • If you have done a dressage test before, remember that your horse is already half warmed up so there is no need to over-do it. If not, it is a good idea to find somewhere other than the showjumping warm-up arena to do your initial warm-up. This allows you to focus on a calm, normal warm-up.
  • Don’t start jumping too early, 8 horses before is normally enough time.
  • Stick to your everyday warm-up routine. It is a good idea to add in more transitions and changes of pace to get your horse active and listening to you.
  • Once in the jumping warm-up arena, try not to be fazed by all the other competitors; know how many jumps of a certain height you need to do and stick to it. Don’t feel any pressure to jump bigger than you are comfortable with.
  • The warm-up arena can be very crowded, with jumps going up and down constantly. Just be patient and keep calm, but at the same time don’t let the other competitors walk all over you, if you need to jump a jump one more time at a certain height say so.
  • If your horse is not particularly careful it might be worth, on one of your last jumps, to pick a slightly deeper stride. If your horse is careful, it’s a good idea to give him a wider, rather than higher jump to encourage scope.
  • About two horses before you go in, take another look at the course and make sure you know it. Now is a good time to put on any boots you need for your round.
  • Once you are in the arena, trot around the fences and listen carefully for the bell. Once it goes, just relax and enjoy it.

Tune in next week for some top tips to ensure an effective cross-country warm-up. Now that you perfected your showjumping warm-up why not enter some upcoming events near you?