The Q&A series with top riders has been very popular in the past. Our panel of experts answer your questions and give advice to help you with your training at home.
We selected a jumping theme for this month’s question. It comes from customer Emma Yeates with her horse Jack. Their questions have been put to eventing superstar Jonelle Price! Lets see what the international event rider has to offer to Emma….
Emma tells us…..”I am very lucky with the fact that Jack and I have been placed in virtually all show jumping competitions that we have entered. This, I don’t doubt, is thanks to Jacks ability to produce double clears. Our jump off times, however, are not very quick. We generally go for safe and clear rather than quick tight turns. Is there anything we can work on at home that will help us obtain greater balance on turns and quicker jump off times?”.
“Hi Emma…it sounds like you’ve done your homework and just need to be a bit braver and take a few risks! Of course, you can practice turning tight up to and from fences. Jumping fences on angles at home etc. Ultimately the competition is going to be won in the ring. Maybe try using cones or small markers to ride around to help get your lines shorter and sharper. Then take them away. Work on direct transitions like walk to canter. Get him more off your leg and ready to get to work as soon as you ask. Switch his brain on to you in the final seconds of warm up before your jump off. You often learn more from your mistakes than anything else though. So next time out, give it a try, be bold and see how you fare!
Emma tells us….”Although very bold with his showjumping, Jack is less confident when asked to compete over cross country fences. At the last hunter trial we took part in, Jack did fly confidently around the majority of the fences but we came to an abrupt stop (fence 17 out of 21) when I had to ask him to jump into a dark woodland. When schooling over xc fences, we don’t seem to have many issues. Is there anything I can do at home which will help build up his confidence in a cross country competition? –
– “It is true that some horses are more natural than others when it comes to cross country. If a horse is naturally spooky, you could put fillers in unusual places, hang your jacket over a jump, change things from what they are used to – create the environment that they may take a look at so you can get used to riding them when they are like that. Likewise, a horse that is wary of ditches you could get a plastic tarpaulin and place it under a jump or use it as a ditch in a line of fences to recreate a coffin type fence. You often can’t change their characteristics but they should improve through experience and in the least if you are a bit more prepared for their reaction, you might be able to prevent a few stops along the way.
Many thanks to Jonelle for her advice on the above questions. For more cross country help and pointers why not follow her guide to cross country schooling in last weeks Horse and Hound magazine. We hope that the above helps you Emma and that you and Jack have a super season head of you!