I recently joined five other budding point-to-point jockeys for an afternoon of training with Yogi Breisner at the British Racing School in Newmarket — sharpening up our technique over a fence and learning the secret to jumping a horse at speed successfully.

Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the action-packed day…

The spotless stableyard

British Racing School in Newmarket in Suffolk, UK on the 3rd December 2015

The main yard at the British Racing School is surrounded by a number of American barns. Many of the horses at the racing school have had careers on the track and are loaned to them for use as schoolmasters.

Meeting my steed

Point-to-Point training in the menage at the British Racing School in Newmarket in Suffolk, UK on the 3rd December 2015

I am introduced to my mount for the afternoon, Masters Blazing — a six-year-old gelding formerly trained by John Ryan.

Starting in the sand school

Point-to-Point Training on 03 12 2015

Yogi puts up two hurdles in the sand school and gets us trotting through them first, to give the horses a chance to have a look and get any spooks out of the way.

Lower leg position

Yogi Bresner providing the training on Point-to-Point riding in the menage at the British Racing School in Newmarket in Suffolk, UK on the 3rd December 2015
We are all told to keep the lower leg pushed forward, to maintain a good position and balance. “If your lower leg is coming back before the jump, it means you don’t have true balance and are pinching with your knee,” he explains.

Continued below…

Staying low in the saddle

Yogi Bresner providing the training on Point-to-Point riding in the menage at the British Racing School in Newmarket in Suffolk, UK on the 3rd December 2015

Staying low in the saddle will keep the forward momentum coming into a fence, then release the hands over the jump — as Yogi demonstrates.

Putting Yogi’s words into practice

Yogi Bresner providing the training on Point-to-Point riding in the menage at the British Racing School in Newmarket in Suffolk, UK on the 3rd December 2015

Masters Blazing and I have a school over the hurdles before Yogi tells me to shorten my stirrup leathers — this helps me get lower in the saddle approaching the fence.

The schooling ground

Yogi Bresner providing the training on Point-to-Point riding on the training hurdles at the British Racing School in Newmarket in Suffolk, UK on the 3rd December 2015

We then head out to the schooling ground where there are three hurdles in a straight line — Yogi wants us to practise getting the horses to jump at speed and out of their strides.

Sit tight!

Point-to-Point training on the hurdles at the British Racing School in Newmarket in Suffolk, UK on the 3rd December 2015

Masters Blazing puts in an exuberant jump a stride too early and my lower leg practice comes into play — is that a smile or a grimace?

Riding upsides

Point-to-Point Training on 03 12 2015

Yogi gets us jumping upsides each other — Tommy (nearside) and Louise pair up, with Lucinda behind.

Jumping out of their strides

Point-to-Point training on the hurdles at the British Racing School in Newmarket in Suffolk, UK on the 3rd December 2015

Izzy (nearside) and Harriet demonstrate jumping at speed. “Well done,” Yogi says at the end. “You all got them jumping nicely out of their strides.”

Read the full race riding masterclass with Yogi Breisner in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale 24 December.