W hether we are training our horses for pleasure or business , it ' s best to keep them fresh , active , and interested in their work . Many top trainers are the first to say they keep jumping to a minimum when at home for various reasons , the most prominent being to not over jump the horse ahead of competition . Keeping the horse on its toes ( of hooves if you prefer ) can prove invaluable when adding that extra spring to the stride when competing against the clock and riding a clear round . Which leads us to the question ; when at home , what ' s the best type of training we should be doing when it comes to jumping a more experienced horse ? To help answer this question , showjumper and trainer Bex Mason returns with her four top tips for the more established showjumping horse .
It ’ s so vital to keep your horses fresh and loving the job . A variety of work is not only great for their brain but training a variety of muscle groups is also essential to helping your horse stay fit and strong in their bodies . Their brain is always developing and changing too , so you want to keep things fresh and focused by mixing it up . Our horses regularly go into a big field and do canter work , do hill work up the lanes and go in the arena to do poles and exercises at least two or three times a week . This work is always with the mantra of being forward in the bridle , balanced and soft .
I go back to the basics regularly . It ’ s only ever going to help improve your ride in the ring . Raised trot poles and cavaletti training helps fire off the jumping muscles that the horses need to perform without putting strain on the joints by jumping big fences . These exercises also allow you as a rider to improve your focus , rhythm , straightness . I regularly build a course of fences at cavaletti height with a few bounces and related distances .
“ I go back to the basics regularly . It ’ s only ever going to help improve your ride in the ring .” Bex Mason , showjumper
With a more established horse use your flatwork as the equivalent of yoga sessions . Stretch and encourage them to move and use their body . It ’ s great to start off with forward , long and free movements for 10-15 minutes , then pick up the work to more elevated uphill work before finishing with some long and low stretching throughout the paces .
Finally , make sure you pick and choose your classes . With a more established horse you want to choose your goals for the season and work out what is the best route to get there , whether it ’ s that you need a certain number of points , experience at a certain height or in a type of arena . There is no need to jump two classes at every show every week if you ’ re both comfortable and confident . Save those jumps for the important classes .
To learn more about Bex Mason , including horses and services on offer visit www . bexmasonshowjumping . co . uk