10 Tips for Better Jumping, and a great partnership, with Your Horse


Horse Scout Blogger asks: Are you getting to know your new horse or training a youngster? Whatever your competitive goals, Showjumping, Eventing or the flatwork of the Dressage or Showing arenas, jumping should be built into your training programme.  Building a good relationship with your horse in the home arena will give your partnership a head start. Start simple and build on success.

  1. Start your jumping session with a proper warm up on the flat.  Work through the muscles groups and ensure your horse is moving off your leg well.
  2. Work with poles on the ground on circles and in grids to increase your horses elevation before asking him to jump.
  3. Always use an experienced lead horse when you’re introducing a new jumping concept. Horses are herd animals. Let a youngster see his friend do it first, and he’ll think it’s OK, too.
  4. Build in a confident approach from the start. Never test a young horse’s courage over fences; give him a chance to learn how to be brave in the first place. He may not be timid he may simply not understand what he is being asked to do.
  5. Trot jumps first. Trotting will pay off in spades down the road. Trotting teaches your horse to remain calm on the approach to his fences and encourages him to rock back on his hocks and jump correctly.
  6. Keep the jumps so small that he can go over them from a standstill for the first few months jump training, Never give your horse the option of refusing. If your horse questions a jump, do not him turn away and reapproach the fence. Instead, quietly keep your leg on for as long as it takes, until your horse hops over the jump from a halt or walk. It is important not give your horse the option of refusing.
  7. Use a neck strap so you can hang on however awkwardly he jumps so you can follow him in the air with your upper body and arms, even if he jumps from a standstill. If you catch your horse in the mouth as he attempts to jump, you’ll quickly teach him that this game is not fun.
  8. Train progressively. Ask one new question at a time. i.e. if you jump a three element grid at the end of one session reward by finishing there.  Add the three element earlier in the next session and follow this with an easier exercise before stopping.  Reward progress with down time, hack out or turn out to build a positive attitude to new things.
  9. If you get into trouble, make it low and simple. If your horse loses confidence for any reason during a jump session, don’t take a chance. Quickly lower the jump or simplify the question.
  10.  Working with a trainer will work in your favour.  Having someone on the ground to increase build your training programme will pay dividends and, on a practical level, a pair of hands altering the jumps for you will allow you to keep up the flow of the training session.

Horse Scout has a great selection of trainers and coaches in all disciplines and from all over the UK.  Find your self a trainer to help you build a great partnership with your horse.