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Improving your Show Jumping with RS-tor rider Michaela Huntington!

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Local Show Jumper Michaela Huntington explains how to improve our jumping in just 5 minutes! 



Recently featured in Absolute Horse Magazine Michaela Huntington informs on her top tips to improve your show jumping. 


Micheala says...

"There are many different short jumping exercises to further your confidence and bonding. If you put yourself in slightly tricky or awkward situations, and can learn to cope with different questions at home, it will be so much easier to deal with the unexpected should it occur in the ring.

The zig-zag


One of my favourite exercises at home is a zig-zag series of five to seven small jumps down the centre line of your arena, as per the diagram on this page. They should be set up so that they may be approached in either direction, uprights and/or spreads. If possible build each obstacle with different coloured poles or number them and ensure that the height is low; say up to approximately two feet high, and well within your comfort zone, and ideally have someone on the ground to help. The exercise is about quick thinking and dexterity, rather than height ability.

After your usual warming up period, start by popping over the fences in a simple straightforward way, i.e. approach fence 4 on the left rein across the diagonal of your arena, changing the rein and back over fence 3 from the right rein, completing a figure of eight. Once you have become familiar with each fence and have jumped them in this simple pattern, you can move on to mixing it up a little by taking fence 4 from the right rein instead of the left, which will pose a question as to getting the line right, or perhaps jumping it at a slight angle. Depending on the direction of approach, you may both be led to question if you should be jumping fence 4 or the one immediately next to it! This can happen to you in the ring all the time, so this is an excellent preparation to focus your attention and to teach your horse to trust your judgment and not make his own decisions!

An excellent use of the zig-zag is to set yourself a course of fences starting with simple natural approaches, i.e. 2, 3, 1, 5 and 4, which means you must figure out your route. It doesn't matter which direction you jump the fences or the length of your route, as long as you complete the sequence. This is very good for quick thinking and you may choose the way that is best suited to your individual partnership.

Your helper on the ground can join in the fun by thinking of a different sequence for you to negotiate and once you are confident and accustomed to this exercise, the ultimate test would be, for example, for you to start with No 4 and then your helper to call out a different fence while you are in the air, continuing until you have completed all the fences at least once. This is no easy task as you never know what is coming next, but it is a perfect mind sharpening exercise.

This is meant to be a short bit of fun so don't overdo it, take it in small bites and not try all the variations at once, but it's a great light-hearted way to learn and improve.


Remember your RS-tor rider safety aid; perfect for stability and security in the saddle when tackling new exercises or when training a novice horse! Available at www.rstor.co.uk


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