Training to jump
The trainer’s task is to develop the horse’s ability, giving him the confidence to jump many different types of obstacles.
In order to compete in show jumping, the horse must be taught to jump all types of fences with confidence. He should be introduced to miniature versions of all the fences found in the show ring: brightly coloured obstacles, walls, triple bars, oxers, planks, brushes, barrels etc… When riding out, every opportunity can be taken to jump the young horse over unfamiliar obstacles, such as ditches, banks, hedges, logs etc… as long as they are low enough not to overface the pupil.
Tackling water jumps should also come into the training programme. Firstly, the horse must learn not to be frightened of water, so he can be walked through puddles and made to jump small streams and ditches, preferably following a more experienced horse. He must have encountered a water tray under a fence and learnt to jump with confidence. The first water jump he is asked to attemp should not be wide (max 1.20mt/4ft). It is also advisable to put a pole of about 90cm/3ft high over the centre of the water to encourage him to jump into the air, not just to pop over the brush into the water.
The rider should try to get the horse to approach the water with little more speed than a normal fence and to ask him to take off as colse as possible to the water.
A horse who is to compete must learn series of fences other than in straight line. Therefore, a short course of fences, similar to but fewer in number and smaller in height than those in the show ring, can be erected. The rider should try to give the horse the best possible approach to the fence. The horse must be in balance and in rhythm. To do this the rider will probably need to half-halt and collect the horse immediately on landing over each fence and to do his best to turn each corner correctly. The horse must have correct impulsion to tackle the fence but impulsion must not be confused with speed. Going fast will tend to make the horse flatten over the fence.