We are delighted to announce that our ambassador showjumpers, Australian rider Rowan Willis and Austria’s Aline Domaingo, have started blogging for leading equestrian title, Horse & Countryside. As ambassador riders for Ozone Therapy UK (visit www.ozone-therapy.co.uk), they will be contributing to Horse & Countryside regularly.
Rowan’s first feature can be found HERE - and below is a sneaky snippet!
First show jumping steps - by show jumper Rowan Willis
I’d like to talk about starting young horses within the field of showjumping. It’s really exciting to start a new youngster in his education processs, and once he is backed and riding away with some flatwork started and a degree of balance and rhythm, we can turn our attention to working towards jumping.
Start by working your horse on the flat between guide poles, as all baby horses wobble, and this will ensure straightness. Start by placing your guide poles poles on the three-quarter line, parallel with the arena fence, approx. four metres apart, creating a ‘tunnel’ for your horse to go between, and accustom him to going between them.
Then place a third single pole at the end of these guide lines for your horse to walk, trot and then canter over.
Once your horse is confidently trotting and cantering over the single pole, it is then time to introduce trotting poles. Simply add a second pole, approx. one metre from the first one, and build up to three, then four. Canter poles are the next stage, approx. three metres apart; repeat the process from one to four poles. It is very important to establish this with a young horse before asking them to jump, as it makes them familiar with poles in an arena, plus it will also help with balance and coordination. Groundwork put in place in the early stages will help prevent common mistakes such as over-jumping, awkwardness, running out and stopping.
Keeping your guide poles in place on the approach, start with two ground poles about three metres apart, and just trot over them once or twice. The first will become your placing pole for a small jump. Next, make the second pole a small cross pole jump, and repeat the exercise in trot; this gives your youngster more time to take everything in. If he feels confident enough to canter away afterwards, you can encourage this, before then coming back to trot. Having a placing pole in front of your first jump is just an extension of the trot and canter pole work that he is now used to doing.
Click HERE to read more, and find out Rowan’s tips for moving onto a course of jumps.