Six-time Badminton winner Lucinda Green and her daughter Lissa have a very clear approach to starting a young 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, beginning with their warm-up (video above), introducing water, ditches and coffins along the way, then finishing by stringing a series of fences together.
The day starts with at least 10 minutes of ‘legging them up’ – this is simply walking around over steps, ditches and small obstacles, as well as through the water, allowing the horse to feel its way over the fences, learn where his legs are, and gain confidence.
All of this early ‘footwork’ is ridden on a loose rein; in the video above, Lucinda explains how the horses read the fences and why this early stage of training is such a valuable part of their schooling.
To boot or not to boot?
Lucinda tends not to use boots or studs on horses until they are competing at intermediate and above, believing it’s better for horses to learn how to keep their balance and the consequences of not doing so, at the early stages.
“We don’t have any boots of any description on them – in my young day everything was booted and bandaged up to the nostrils,” she explains. “We feel that less is more; at this level, when they’re not being asked to jump big fences. Horses should learn how to deal with slipping, and riders should learn how to help them not slip.”
Lucinda believes there may be a risk to soundness long term using studs and boots, but if she has a horse that is frequently hitting itself, and the problem can’t be corrected through remedial farriery, then it will wear boots.
“Normally we don’t usually put boots and studs on until intermediate level – at that height they don’t want to be slipping.”
Petplan’s Masterclass with Lucinda Green
- Find out more about Petplan’s Masterclasses with Lucinda Green
Thanks to Petplan Equine, Lucinda Green, Lissa Green for their help with producing these videos as well as Rabson Manor for use of the cross-country schooling facilities.