Before the season begins, I do a few show jumping competitions to prepare to get back into eventing. But you can also train at home, in your club, and set up a show jumping course that is not too long – seven or eight fences – so you don’t get your horse tired and allow him to practise the different types of obstacles.
How to approach your course well ?
I usually start by warming-up my horse on a small vertical with a ground pole in front and a pole after, that I place three meters away from the fence. This device allows you to give the shape you want to your horse’s jump.
Once the warm-up is over, you can start working on the course. Remember to use different types of obstacles on this course. You can start with an easy vertical, one with a lower vertical pole right below it. It’s easy to jump, it’s educational and it’s nice to get back into training.
Then, you can have an oxer for example, harder verticals, a triple fence combination… It’s also always worth practising on a liverpool water jump before going back out to competitions.
In addition to jumping, also remember to work on your lead changes or flying changes. It’s always useful. Work in a relaxed manner with your horse. Keep it fun!
How do you capitalise on your horse’s progress?
After the course, I put my horse in a stretching position so that he understands that he has worked well. Remember to end the session on something comfortable for him. When your horse starts training again, he has been off since the end of the last season. All of his little difficulties will reappear. It’s normal! With Ben, for example, I always worked on the landing phase and flying changes because that was his main problems. Every horse has little things that need tweaking. For horses that are too hot, it might be the approach phase. In that case, remember to jump the same obstacle several times.
So, focus on your ‘little’ challenge, get working on your weaknesses and don’t worry about faults. Now is the time to let the horses make mistakes. They learn their lessons at home to be perfect when competing.
How do you prepare your season with your horse ? Are you having problems ? Leave me a comment here.