How can you ride corners properly in show jumping ?
The goal is to ride tight turns while keeping the quality of the canter and jumping well – and obviously without any faults. For that, I advise you to practise on a small course exclusively composed of verticals. Indeed, we do not seek to work on the width of the jumps but rather on how to ride tidy turns.
In show jumping, we tend to want the horse to stay upright in the corner, i.e. not leaning into the turn, in order to approach the next obstacle in the best conditions.
What are the basics of a good turn ?
To ride a turn, for example to the right, you first have to look in the direction where you want to go. So first, think about your gaze, then direct your whole body and finally open your right rein to turn. The movement comes mostly from the pelvis. The horse feels it and pivots naturally.
Then, the centrifugal force is what’s going to make you turn. For a horse, it’s the shoulders that are going to turn first. Turn by opening the rein on the chosen side, but not by pulling on it, just by pointing to the direction. If you pull, you’re going to lose speed and impulsion. With your opposite hand, you have to control the shoulders. That means keeping your hand against the neck and stopping the shoulders from drifting out of the corner. If you only turn with the right rein for example, your horse will drift to the left. Once you control the shoulders in tight turns, you can start jumping at an angle!
In short, to ride better turns, you have to anticipate and keep the fluidity of the movement. Fluidity and anticipation are fundamental to all speed sports. Then, when you want to achieve tight and tidy turns, it is essential to channel your horse with your hands and your legs. It’s important to maintain the pace, make sure you compensate for any loss of impulsion (due to the sharp turn) to approach the next obstacle in the best conditions.
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