Preparing for successful cross-country

  • Riders must establish the basics before tackling cross-country, says leading event rider Jeanette Brakewell

    Olympic silver medal-winning event rider Jeanette Brakewell says most riders don’t prepare their basics sufficiently before tackling a cross-country course, putting their own and their horses confidence at risk.

    Jeanette, who will be hosting two clinics at this weekend’s HORSE 2001 event, says many riders try to do too much too soon and rush their horses before they are ready.

    “I find riders don’t allow their horses time to progress at their own pace, so naturally problems arise as a result of this,” she says. “When I’m training my horses, I always take them through the stages slowly, which gives them time to build up their confidence. This way they are never over-faced or lose confidence in their rider.

    “Also, due to the bad press eventing has received over the past couple of seasons because of the number of deaths in the sport, I think a negative attitude has developed among riders. We need to encourage them to become more confident and positive in their riding.

    “It isn’t an attacking style I’m talking about, but a way of riding which isconfident and positive. The only way to improve cross-country riding is to have a positive attitude.”

    Jeanette will be holding cross-country clinics at 12 noon and 3pm at HORSE 2001 at Solihull Riding Club, West Midlands.

    The event that runs from 9.30am to 5.30pm also includes clinics with Richard Maxwell, Stephen Hadley, Rob Hoekstra and Jennie Loriston-Clarke in the Baileys main arena.

    A busy programme of horsecare talks will take place in the Blue Chip arena throughout the day, while trade stand shopping will also be available.

    Visitors can also try their hand at trailer reversing and take advantage of a grand draw with a weekend for two in Ireland courtesy of Drive Ireland/Aer Lingus Holidays as the top prize.

    El Caballo De Espagne will demonstrate a stunning finale and riding clubs will try their hand at exciting new sport Working Equitation.

    Tickets are £12 for adults, £8 for students and children under-16, while under fives go free. A family ticket (two adults and two under 16s) is priced £30.

    For further information, (tel: 01403 256 255).

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