In November 2012, this year's Badminton winner Jock Paget travelled to southern Germany to train with Olympic, World and European eventing champion Michael Jung. Here he reveals what he learnt
I have always believed in “training trips”, if they can be arranged. Spending a few weeks, rather than a few hours, with someone is a great way to take a step to the next level. You can do so much more than with just the occasional lesson.
What Jock Paget learnt
- Michael put me in a slightly different dressage position, adjusting my leg to get the horses a little more active behind. I am continuing this work at home as I think it does make a difference.
- To improve my position on the flat, I need to improve my posture. I’m working with a personal trainer to try to achieve this.
- When jumping we would warm up over a simple vertical, sometimes with a canter pole in front of it. Then we would go and ride some courses, building a new track each time we jumped.
- At home, shape and technique over a fence is my number one priority. I do a lot of gymnastic work to create the shape that I like.
- I try always to jump out of a balanced canter but, in training, I ride slightly differently to how I would in competition. A lot of my horses are thoroughbreds and it is more natural for them to jump a little flat.
- I like to press the horse to a slightly deep distance — taking off a little closer to the fence than I like them to in competition — on a soft hand, to encourage the horse to back off.
- I’m not trying to make them hit the fence, but I don’t go out of my way to help them over it. By getting the horses just fractionally closer, they have to be a little sharper in front and make a good shape in the air.
- At a competition, I give my horses a bit more room in front of the fence and make the canter a little more powerful to help with the distance.
- Michael encouraged me to give my horses more of “a competition ride”. He had me working on the canter to create more quality and power in each stride, and riding to a distance that gave the horse more room. This encourages the horse to jump bigger and out a little more.
The full version of this feature was first published in the 10 January 2013 issue of H&H
To read an exclusive interview with Jock Paget — where he reveals the secret to his success following his win at this year’s Badminton Horse Trials — see this week’s issue of H&H (23 May 2013)