Six-time Badminton winner Lucinda Green and her daughter Lissa have a very clear approach to a horse’s cross-country education. In this exclusive video series, Lucinda and Lissa take four-year-old ‘Jay’ (Boleybawn Identity) and five-year-old ‘Snoop’ (Corraggio Z) cross-country schooling.
Build up from walk
Having warmed up by walking over fences, then introducing water, steps and ditches, Lissa proceeds to stringing several fences together with Jay. Fences look different when approached at speed, which is why Lucinda prefers to build up from walk, to trot and eventually canter. Horses coming to a fence a little faster may be surprised by an element – when Jay has a refusual, Lucinda emphasises the importance of keeping fences small enough to encourage the horse forwards and jump from a standstill. Keeping them in trot at first is important to give the horse time to look and assess the fence.
Shadows can be the spookiest element for a young horse, particularly in bright sunlight. Lissa jumps down the line both ways because ‘everything looks different’. Jay is finding it difficult to assess one particular fence, which Lucinda feels may be due to the odd shape of the planks. Different shapes can make a simple fence much more difficult than it first appears, especially for a young horse.
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Give the horse time
Lissa allows Jay to find his own stride to fences as they move into canter, letting his confidence grow. The morning’s training is certainly effective as Jay willingly negotiates a combination followed by the coffin he had schooled over earlier in the morning. At this stage Lissa does not correct Jay when he lands on the wrong leg, giving him time to balance himself. Lissa also makes sure to practise jumping away from Snoop so that Jay is happy to leave his companions behind.