British showjumping training
Tuesday 21 June 2011
British Showjumping over the years has rapidly become one of the most prestigious equine sports not only in the UK but internationally as well, from Badminton horse trials to the FEI Cups show jumping is now on centre stage. But how do you train to get involved in this amazing sport?
Through much analysis and observing British Showjumping in national standards as well as training in the sport myself I have to say that the most common way of training for British Showjumping is simply just that, training as hard as you possibly can. However this can be executed in a variety of ways, each to suit individual horses and their needs. The most basic principle of training horses for showjumping is getting them used to the poles and getting them to achieve the correct pace and timing in order to clear the jump.
To start with I suggest placing a few poles a couple of strides apart on the menage floor and asking your horse to walk, trot and then canter over these poles. This gives the horse a sense of the idea, and it means that you can assess their pace, stride and position whilst going over the poles. Once your horse is going over the poles nicely with a correct pace and you are leading the horse over the centre of the poles, then you can start to increase the height. I reccommend just making a small jump by forming an 'x' shape with the poles on the lowest height, and then once again go over this jump at trot a few times, making sure you maintain your position so not to put the horse off balance as he goes over the jump. Once the horse is going over the jump steadily in trot as you come round the corner towards the jump, just before the last few paces ask the horse to canter and then go over the jump before bringing him to a steady trot and then a walk afterwards.
When your horse is going over the singular jump correctly and you have perfected your jumping position, as this affects the horses balance and performance greatly, then try putting up a second 'x' jump on the opposite side of the menage so that you give the horse space to get used to the jumps and do not put too much pressure on him. You can then move the jumps closer, insert more jumps, place them in a course and make the training fun! As you and your horse gain more experience then increase the height of the jumps, but remember it is all about confidence, caution, pace and position that makes a good showjumper, not who can jump the highest. There is no point in pressuring the horse into jumps that are too high too early, and then damaging his confidence and self-esteem resulting in refusals.
Showjumping is a truly amazing sport, and is open to almost everyone from pre-novice to international champions, although the pressure can be intense in a jump- off final where you have to get round a course of jumps in under a minute or there is only a few points between you and first place; the main point of showjumping is to enjoy the sport and the bond between horse and rider.
Photo (c) Rayand
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