Event rider Althea Bleekman was welcomed onto Team Selwood earlier this year along with her sister Janou. Althea started riding at the age of just two and steadily worked her way through pony club, team competitions and then onto international teams. Riding for the Netherlands in the senior Europeans in 2013 was a career highlight for Althea and this year she has been making the transition from 2* up to 3* competitions.
Our featured rider for todays ‘Ask the Experts’ blog is 16 year old Bethany Sadler who is currently competing at novice pony club level and BE90 level, her aim is to move up a level for 2015. Bethany’s horse for this season is called Jinks, he is a 15.1hh, Welsh X, 15 year old Gelding. Bethany tells us “He can sometimes be cheeky but we always finish within the placings or in the top 10 when competing against a large number of starters”.
Bethany’s question to Althea is:
“The pony that I ride and compete will not canter through water; how can I encourage him to canter through the water when we are riding cross country?”.
Althea Bleekman advises:
I love the photos of you and Jinks!
In answer to your question; Getting horses to canter confidently through water can be difficult. It is all about confidence. I tend to allow my younger horses to trot into water and canter out, gradually cantering closer to the edge of the water. Normally they grasp this fairly quickly and start to enjoy it. However as your horse is older it could take longer for him to gain that confidence. I would suggest that perhaps you could try getting a friend to canter through the water in front of you and encourage your horse to catch him up. He needs to learn to love water and that is not a frightening place to be. Taking him through water as much as possible is important, like walking through puddles when your out hacking. When it comes to schooling or competing concentrate on repeating what you have been doing and this should help. Take it gradually to begin with and you should see positive results in the end – good luck!