How can you improve your track-riding skills ?

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Isn’t your horse as obedient as you would like him to be? How can you improve your track-riding skills ?

I suggest you take your horse to a riding arena and work on some schooling exercises.

You can start off by working on riding some corners: bend your horse well and ride into the corners until your horse accepts to get close to the wall.

Then, you can add different elements: like for example, an oxer that is wide enough to pass through it (to create a small corridor, so entering it sideways). And another similar device with a perpendicular ground pole and two doors marked out using cones (one door going in and one going out). 

These exercises are useful for horses with little training or that have been broken in recently. They’re not very obedient yet or very accurate when you ask them to jump or follow a precise line. Such elements with cones and poles are going to be very helpful in channelling them and keeping them straight.

For the corner work, start by trying to get your horse to remain straight with your inside leg and the corridor of aids. To improve the accuracy of the lines, it is necessary to work with a horse who carries himself. That is to say, a horse that has enough impulsion, that is in front of your legs, so you can get some contact in the bit and keep the horse in the corridor of aids created by your hands and legs. It’s like on a bicycle, if you ride too slowly, you fall down. You must have a horse who carries himself enough to keep a straight line, so that when you ask something, you don’t get a hesitant floating response.

For the exercise going through the oxer, remember that your horse can be intimidated. I advise you to walk through it first. You can even halt your horse in the middle of it to reassure him. Then, go through it in the trot and canter. It’s a corridor and it can be intimidating for a young horse. But it’s perfect to work on straightness and confidence.

Once your horse is familiar with each element, you can start practising the whole course in the trot. Remember to change the bend regularly and work on looking ahead. To check that you control the pace, you can halt your horse during the course. 

Tip: There is a useful trick you need to know in order to improve your track-skills. It is something I’ve noticed when trying to avoid rocks on the tracks while riding outdoors. If you stare at something you’re trying to avoid, you always end up stepping on it. Your body gives subtle directions to your horse without you realising it! So, don’t forget to use your gaze to guide your horse.

Do you have difficulties with track precision? Did you enjoy reading this email ? Leave me a comment here.

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