Starting to get everything together. One thing that is very important in a successful showjumping round is the ability to lengthen and shorten the canter strides. If you can do this successfully you can do really tight turns mixed with long almost “steeplechase like” approaches. How awesome is that! To do this you will of course also need the ability to see where the horse is going to jump, to see the stride (more exercises for this later on in the series).
Put a parallel oxer in the middle of the arena, you should be able to jump this fence from both directions. Leave a ground pole each side about 20 cm from the fence, think width instead of height, but don’t overdo it. Build four uprights as picture above is showing. Vary the heights, some fences should be easy for you to push your limits turning..
This exercise is about experimenting with your limits! How tight can you turn? Can you alter the canter really fast? Do you dare to lengthen the stride to max, jumping the oxer?
No, I do not want to get you killed, but I want you to relax and have fun as well as pushing your ability. Sometimes this requires a bit of letting your hair down. Remember that this should be fun for someone else too!!! Your horse!! And the good thing is, it has every ingredient to be just as fun for your horse.
With this exercise you should have learnt where your limits are. How tight can you turn and how much can you lengthen your canter strides. Note this down. You should feel more competent in shortening and lengthening the strides. The confidence in taking a sharp turn should be growing and the picture of you as that 8 year old Irish kid should start to grow more clear in your minds eye.
Written by @StinaHarvidsson with the inspiration of Eddy Andersson.
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