We all know how to walk a showjumping course so we know where to go, which fence comes next and what the distances are in the combination fences, but what other things should you be thinking about as you walk around the track prior to your round?
Showjumping course designer Steve Williams and trainer Corinne Bracken gave delegates at the BHS National Coaching Conference at Addington Equestrian Centre last month plenty of food for thought regarding approaching your round and things to consider in the arena and we share their top tips here.
1. When walking the course it’s important to look out for visual distractions.
“Consider what could distract or spook your horse – is there a public gallery, a burger van at the side or a load of poles or fillers lying in the corner of the arena that you need to be aware of?” says Steve.
2. Where is the space?
“Look for the space in the arena where you can regroup, breathe and put things right. Use those spaces effectively during your round to bring your horse back under control or regain momentum,” explains Corinne.
3. Break the course down into sections and then take each section at a time. This helps you to put a bad jump behind you and move on.
4. When walking the course look back where you have come from.
“Frequently looking back helps to give you a better idea of the line you should be taking between and over fences,” says Corinne.
5. Think how each fence jumps as a standalone entity and how it jumps in relation to the next fence or line of fences and ride it accordingly.
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6. Use your corners.
“Make corners your friends and use them to prepare, get the hind leg underneath the horse, regain momentum or do the opposite if the horse is running away from you,” says Corinne.
7. Don’t overthink distances.
“On longer distances get back in the rhythm that you and your horse need, stop counting the strides,” says Corinne.
8. Make sure you understand the course, what it is asking and where the challenges lie.
“If you don’t understand the course how can you expect your horse to?” adds Steve.
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