Last year saw Ros Canter take third place at Badminton and Luhmuhlen Horse Trials and become World Champion after taking Individual and Team Eventing Gold Medals at the World Equestrian Games in North Carolina, USA. Here the FEI World Number One Event Rider, Ros, shares her insight into jumping at home to improve your skills and prepare for a competition courtesy of her sponsor Equipe.
Based in Lincolnshire, 33-year-old Ros, first looks at rider position when approaching a fence. Ros says: “Start warming up with a small show jump, both horse and rider must be looking at the fence riding in a balanced canter, with impulsion to jump the fence with impulsion.
When approaching a fence the rider must keep a strong core position, sit calmly and let the jump come to you. Keep control, but ensure your hands are low and together, so the horse can focus on the jump without the rider doing too much with their hands. Maintain positive riding and keep your leg on as you approach the jump. You want your horse to be confident, in balance, and concentrating.
Regardless of the jump, look beyond it and try to land straight and in a secure position. The key is to always look ahead to the next jump and where you are going.
You must trust your horse to find a stride to the jump and not interfere too much this will only put the horse off and cause confusion.
By keeping a quiet contact on the rein, keeping your hands low, body in a secure position and once you are on your line, your eyes must stay focused beyond the fence, this will help direct your horse in a confident way to tackle the jump. The horse will find his feet quietly and understand what they need to do without just following your lead all the time.
When jumping there are many occasions that a horse has to think for itself, and the sooner he learns how to cope in those situations the better.
Especially when going cross-country there are many instances when a horse may be required to use a ‘third leg’ to stay upright.
Let your horse choose where they want to set off from, don’t chase them or drop your hands, rather create strength through your body and don’t fight them through the rein but keep a consistent contact.
It is important to follow these principles in both show jumping and cross country training. If you have a problem or if your horse is getting strong, halt for a minute then start again so that you can both relax and try again.
Cross country fences may appear daunting but keep calm with soft hands and aim for the middle. Poles either side of the fence in a V shape can help keep the horse straight and focused.
When riding a course turn with your body and steer from the outside, not just by using the reins, again keep your contact as quiet as possible.
Always look where you are going, keep the reins steady and if you feel tense look above the fence and ride forward over the jump.
Always finish with a big pat, try not to over phase the horse, just keep everything calm and do what you both feel comfortable doing. At the next schooling session, you can then progress further.”
Ros rides in the Equipe range of saddles and accessories. They have been created with the highest quality craftsmanship and attention to detail and are used by leading event riders around the world.
Each saddle is manufactured to satisfy the demands of both the rider and the horse whatever the equestrian discipline.