Cross-country riding isn’t just about galloping in straight line — you also have to make turns.
You will often find on a course that after a long, straight galloping stretch, you are then required to turn into either a single fence, but more frequently, a combination or line of fences.
As a rider, you can use the corner to set your horse up to create the right speed and canter in order to jump the fence well.
The rider is responsible for the direction, the balance of the horse and for the pace (speed and rhythm) that you are traveling within.
The horse’s job is to look at the fence, measure it and then jump it.
If a rider is galloping up a straight towards a combination, they should look towards the fence nice and early.
When riding round a turn it can be helpful for the rider to bend the horse’s neck to the outside. You can use this as a preparation tool to steady the horse enough to ride them in balance through the turn. This bend also helps to control the outside shoulder.
When you come around the turn you must be on the correct line for the fence within a suitable pace. As you have looked after the outside shoulder, the horse will also be in the correct balance to take the combination fence on.
Look out for more expert advice on cross-country riding from Yogi Breisner, brought to you in association with NAF, on the Horse & Hound website during the next few weeks.