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You know the saying: “Practice makes
perfect.”Whether you’re an amateur rider
or a professional, you know how true
that phrase can be. Every minute spent
training with your horse outside the ring
increases your chances of success in
the ring. You become more comfortable
with your horse, and your horse becomes
more comfortable with you, resulting in a
stronghorse-rider team.
However, everyone has different types
of training exercises that are most beneficial for him or her and
their horses. Today, I’m sharing with you what I’ve found works
best forme.
Fitnessand stamina stem from flat work, so I aim formyhorses
towork on the flat twice a day, two or three times per week. The
two-a-day workdays are dedicated more to endurance than to
complex exercises, while the days where the horses only work
once tend to consist of a lot of basic lateral work such as leg
yields, shoulder- andhaunches-in, and transitions.
In general I keep training fairly simple. Opinions vary on how
complicatedflatworkshouldbe, but inmyopinion I amnot training
my jumpers to be dressage horses. I feel that if you have the
basic movements mastered – your horse should be reactive to
your hand and leg, soft and supple, and good through transitions
– your flatwork is sufficient.
I keepmy jumpingexercisesstraightforwardandsimpleaswell.
In general, I don’t jump very much, and when I do, I don’t jump
high. Some gymnastics I use include:
1. To improve timing, quicknessandgeneral coordination: short
bounce, vertical, short bounce, vertical, short bounce. So, rail on
theground, 9-10 feet, vertical, 10 feet, rail, etc.
2. Toworkonscopeandwidthcapability: four oxers, twostrides
apart. A toB long (about 38-40 feet), B toC short (about 33 feet),
andC toD long (about 38-40 feet).
3. To practice width and coordination combined: Similar to the
previous exercise, four oxers in a row. However, I add a bounce
rail coming inandout andalso inbetweeneach oxer.
4. Finally, I’ll set normal lines and do three different numbers
rotationally. For example, I set a five-stride line and do four, five
and six strides.
It’s extremely important with any exercise that you do an equal
amount of work on both leads. Even if your horse has a more
difficult side or direction, it’s important to strengthenboth.
Training and practicing with your horse can be a wonderful
experience, bringing you and your horse closer together as a
team. It canalsoat times bequite frustrating. I’ll be the first to say
that I’mnot aperfect rider, but I like to think that every singleday I
spend practicingbringsmeone step closer.
About the writer: Brianne Goutal is a 2012 graduate of Brown University and
professional show jumper. Shemade history by becoming the only person towin all
four junior equitation finals.
Photo by TheBook LLC
Brianne believes
training and
your horse can
bring you closer
together as a
by JackMancini,
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