Christine Armishaw runs through three handy training tips to help you and your horse perform at your best the next time you enter the show jumping arena.
- Practice over short jump poles. Most competition rails are 4.2 metres long, but try setting up shorter practice fences at home of around 3 metres in length. Once you get comfortable with these and go out competing at events with full-length rails, the jumps tend to feel lower due to there being more distance between the jump wings. But wait, there’s more ¦ being shorter than normal, you can fit more schooling jumps in a smaller space, plus they’re easier to lift and handle.
- Train higher than you aim to compete at. Getting your horse comfortably jumping about 10cm higher at home than what you expect to face at your next competition is a great way to build both horse and rider confidence. There are already extra stresses of being off-property, remembering the course and those pesky butterflies in your tummy. When you trot in knowing the jump height you’re about to tackle is lower than you confidently train over, you can focus more clearly on the task at hand.
- Start and finish on a positive note. Always begin your jump schooling with something fairly straightforward, like a cross rail, to get into the swing of things. Likewise, finish the session with a fence that your horse, and you, feel really confident about. This leaves you both ending the workout feeling capable and competent, a great memory to draw-on at the beginning of your next ride.