Everyone with a pet would agree that it is not an easy job to train them by yourself. You have to spend adequate time with your animals and have enough patience to train them properly. Some animals are more difficult to train than others. Horses, especially those used for showjumping, fall into this category.
Horses, much like humans, have different personalities. Where some may be calm and gentle, others could be much more excited or erratic at times. Horses belonging to the latter category make it hard for their riders to control them while showjumping. Such horses usually speed up at the sight of a fence, and it is important to learn some important tactics that can help you in slowing down these fast jumpers.
Turn it Down a Notch
Don’t make your horse run to a fence. Slowing your horse down to a trot allows it to focus on the fence or the obstacle. This helps the horse be aware of its own body, and calms it down.
After making a jump, you should bring the horse back to a slow trot again. This helps the horse recalibrate its thoughts, and in some cases it can also learn from its mistakes before making the next jump.
Keep Them Engaged
In order to make a fast jumper slow down, you need to keep its mind engaged. To do this, you can ride circles of different sizes. This allows the horses to cool down a little and gain their composure, and they can concentrate on the track more. Once they are calm, they will learn from their mistakes. For example, if they knock down a fence, they will have the time to focus on what they did wrong as opposed to running off to the next fence in their excitement.
Use Poles to Help Them be Better
Using different combinations using poles, you can help your horse immensely.
- Using a V-pole, which can be made by placing two poles against a fence so that they make an upside down ‘V’, can help improve your horse’s jump. The horses tend to tuck in their legs while jumping a V-pole, making their jumps sharper.
- Using landing poles will make your horse look at the obstacle more closely. There are many excited horses that don’t back down from a jump even if they can’t successfully make it. Using a landing pole makes them assess the jump they are about to make more carefully rather than just speeding towards it.
- Placing a pole diagonally on top of an oxer will encourage your horse to jump higher. This is effective for those horses who have a flat jump, or those that are careless with their jumps.
These techniques are sure to help you in slowing down a fast jumper. Horses that are used to being hotheaded are the ones who get injured more often. They need someone to help them be calmer, and to train them in the art of showjumping. These tips have been laid out for the riders of such horses by Piggy French, who is a top equestrian sportswoman herself, and can be a very effective answer to your problems.
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