30. Apr. 2019.

Approaching the jump

The strides before the jump are fundamental for its success. When we are at home and face a small fence or an exercise, we usually have no problems and we don't even bother.

Everything changes on a show or if we consider the fence particularly difficult for its dimensions, the colors, the position along the track and so on.
Usually a well-trained horse does not really care about these things. However, it can react to our emotional tension, to our stiffness, to our smallest changes in the saddle. If we are worried, our concern goes directly to him and this is where the problems arise.
To approach any jump in a good way, the important things are: a good rhythm and a straight horse.
These two aspects depend very much on us. A good position with the horse between hands and legs keeps the horse straight, a good rhythm throughout the course, especially on a turn, helps to maintain the ideal canter.
Our eyes must never be turned to the fence itself but must go beyond. We must always imagine that the horse canters on two rails like a train, with a precise direction.
We are almost always worried about setting a 'good distance'. But if we can achieve everything we have said before, the right distance will come by itself.

Let's have a look at great riders like Ben Maher (in the picture riding Diva II at the European Championships in Aachen): the eyes are far away beyond the fence, the hands are equal and follow the movement of the horse, his position in the saddle is perfect and the legs are close to the horse. Diva II expresses the concept of 'straight and forward' horse very well.



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