Some horses naturally rush fences, whilst others can develop bad habits as the season progresses, so how do you nip the problem in the bud or correct seasoned old habits?
We asked our Ambassador Gemma Tattersall for her training tips ahead of the season.
“This is a great exercise to help horses rushing between fences. The placing poles teach the horse to remain in the same rhythm throughout a combination or line of fences. You can use canter poles before and after a fence, so they don’t rush in to the jump or away from it. This in turn should lead to the horse being able to jump a whole course in a lovely rhythm. This exercise can be modified very easily to the level of horse and rider.
The most important factor here is to ensure that you do not over phase your horse, by putting the jumps up too high, so keep things simple and easy and build up slowly. Make sure that your horse is forward and off your leg before you start this exercise and make sure that your horse’s muscles are properly warmed up before you attempt any pole or jump work.
To start this exercise off, place a pole three (Human) paces to the first fence, four paces to the placing pole, four paces to the second fence (Initially as the pole is on the floor) and then four paces to the placing pole.
Ride through first time, over the placing pole and over the first fence, and then canter over the poles on floor. This introduces the concept to the horse to slow down, as the horse has to canter within the pole spacings and therefore encourages the horse to remain in the same canter tempo and not rush off.
Once your horse has established a relaxed way of going, then you can then add the third fence. The sequence of poles and jumps now is: Placing pole, first fence, placing pole, second fence (as pole on floor), placing pole, then third fence, placing pole.
Ride your horse over this sequence of jumps and poles and then once he or she is happy with the combination, then you can think about adding in the middle (second) fence. So ultimately aiming for placing pole, first fence, placing pole, second fence, placing pole, third fence then final placing pole.
The below images show the end goal off brilliantly with all three fences up and Pebbles jumping through beautifully!
This is such a simple training exercise, but one that works really well. You can jump through it in either direction, but it is important to make sure that the final placing pole is on four (human) paces not three, as you will need slightly more space coming out of a grid than going in.
Good luck with this exercise!”
Photos by David Miller