How to ride a perfect dog leg line while jumping

Dog leg lines are frequently used by showjumping course builders and they can be challenging to ride correctly.

Here’s some helpful pointers from Irish international showjumper, David Simpson (pictured), who trained and produced young horses for Shane Breen for seven years, won the Queen’s Cup at Hickstead in 2016 and the Olympia Puissance in 2014.

1. The key to any dog leg is to break it down into two straight lines i.e you would break a seven stride distance into three and four — three strides moving away from the first fence on the line and then four strides until take off for the second fence in the line.

2. Stay centre to centre of each fence. A course builder designs the line to be jumped best from centre to centre, so follow this rule and it will give you the best chance of clearing both obstacles.

3. Entry to the dog leg is important. Don’t be worrying about the line until you have jumped the jump into the line. The dog leg is designed to distract you into making a mistake on the way in.

4. The jump at the end of the dog leg is equally as important. This will determine how you ride the line. For example, to a double of verticals you would always try to add a stride to create more balance, whereas if you’re riding to an oxer you would be keen to not add and have more impulsion.

5. Know your horse’s strengths — no two horses are the same (some have a long stride, others short, some are naturally quick, others will struggle with the time allowed). So when you make your plan to ride a dog leg, consider the horse you are on and adapt accordingly.

Now you’ve got that advice in mind, take a look at these showjumping competitions available to enter where you can showcase what you’ve learnt…

British Showjumping

Date: 5 January
Venue: Keysoe, Bedfordshire
Details: “This show features a range of classes from clear round and British Novice up to 1.40m.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated showjumping

Date: 5 January
Venue: Oaklands College, St Albans
Details: “This competition has classes from 50cm to 1m incorporating qualifiers for the GB Rider Championships and the Sunshine Tour.”
Enter now

Saturday afternoon unaffiliated showjumping

Date: 5 January
Venue: Beaver Hall, Leek
Details: “This event features a range of classes and is open to everyone. The dress code is smart casual and if you enter two classes, you get a further two class entries for free.”
Enter now

British Showjumping

Date: 6 December
Venue: Muirmill Equestrian Centre, Kilmarnock
Details: “This event offers classes ranging from clear round and 85cm to 1.15m.”
Enter now

Cash showjumping

Date: 6 January
Venue: Forest Edge Arena, Swaffham
Details: “This show has classes from clear round and 60cm to 1.05m with cash prizes available.”
Enter now

Clear round evening showjumping

Date: 9 January
Venue: Fenland Equestrian Centre, Wisbech
Details: “This clear round runs between 4pm and 7pm. Arrive and we will adjust the fences to the height you would like to jump.”
Enter now

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