Do you get the feeling that your horse does not listen? This is a common problem with some of the hot headed horses of today. This is one exercise that focuses on getting the horse alert and for the rider to practise how to show the horse whats next.
Setup exercise 1
For this exercise you only need 3 fences and it does not focus on height rather getting the horse to listen to what you want, so keep it simple. For beginners and young horses poles on the ground are ideal.
Start off your exercise in trot. Trot over A in a straight line a few times, focus on hitting the middle of the pole and keeping your horse straight. You might feel your horse starting to rush. Make a half halt at point X, look at fence B, use your weight aids to indicate a left turn together with an open inside rein to clearly show your horse the way.
Look at the fence you want to jump. This will automatically shift your weight in this case to the left.
Use weight aids.
Use an open rein to clearly show the way.
Hold a light but constant connection with your outside rein. This will prevent over bending of the neck. If you bend the neck too much chances are the shoulders are still pointing in another direction and the horse will not follow your intentions. If you are lucky enough to get to the right fence you may get a pole down if your horse is too bend.
Continue the exercise
Move it up a notch. Try to keep the horse in canter. Be diligent on keeping the right canter. The easiest way to ensure this is to look where you are going and use your weight aids. As soon as you take off over one fence look to the next!
Do the exercise from both directions, keep your horse straight over the fence and think about your position. There are endless combinations. Keep the fences low and your speed down. If you need to, make a halt before the fence to slow down your horse. Continue in trot. You can also make a halt after the fence if this feels necessary.
To finish off you can make the exercise into a show jumping course, include E and F. Alter your route to keep both you and your horse alert.
Back to basics
If your horse gets too excited and you start to fight it with your hand, bring it back to poles on the ground or even no poles. Practise your transitions between halt and walk, halt and trot etc. More exercises to come….
This post is written with inspiration from Eddy Anderson.