When it comes to jumping, it all starts during the approach. A properly ridden turn is fundamental for a properly jumped fence, and you cannot ride it correctly without a fine inside flexion. This article brings you yet another way to work on beautiful turns combined with a regular, relaxed pace.
This session consists of three parts: the warm-up, jumping the double combination alone, and the entire course. In the first part, you will slowly stretch your horse starting on smaller jumps. Then, you practice riding the combination while focusing on an inside flexion and even rhythm through circles. Riding the entire course challenges you by tight turns and the need to react quickly, especially if you have a small arena.
After your horse is warmed-up in trot and canter, start with warming-up over small fences. First, canter over the two verticals on an ellipse (picture 1). Do two or three ovals on the one hand, then put the verticals a bit higher and canter over them in the opposite direction.
Do the same with the two oxers (picture 2). Start with smaller ones, on a hand where you feel more comfortable. Then put the fences up a little and repeat this to the other side.
Your goal: Always try to keep a bit of an inside flexion during this stretching. It will help your horse to relax faster.
Tip: Over the jump, always look into the direction you are going to help the horse land on the correct lead.
Now comes the time for the double combination! The scheme below (picture 3) shows the distance of 10.2 meters, but do not hesitate to make it a bit shorter if it is too long for your horse. It can happen, especially in an indoor arena.
Start on your left hand and jump the combination. Then maintain the straight line as long as possible and continue to the right. Make a circle, from which you approach the double again. After the combination, continue to the left to make another circle. Do this at least twice in a row, then put the fences up and repeat.
Your goal: When you land, try to maintain the straight line as long as possible. Your goal is to ride the turn smoothly, so sit down during this line and prepare for the turning point. Your pace should be all the same, and your horse rounded on a circle.
Tip: Do not forget to use your inside leg every time you ride a circle or a corner.
There are many ways to ride this exercise; this is just one of many (picture 4). Start on your left hand over the vertical. Continue through the right-handed turn to the oxer. Then there comes the double combination. After combination, continue right to the other oxer and then left to the vertical. Finish with the double again, this time from the right side. Ride this course two or three times and heighten the course each time, if you feel up to it.
Your goal: You have practiced the turns during the previous part, so try to keep the same feeling in mind. Do not rush anywhere and think about every move you make. This lesson is about practicing the turns, not about trying to jump as high as you can, so keep on a level where you feel comfortable. Your goal is to keep the same rhythm for the whole time and ride every corner with a flexed and relaxed horse.
Tip: Riders sometimes tend to stiffen when they jump more fences in a row. Stay relaxed, and do not forget to breathe!
Is everything clear? Let us please know in the comments or via email.