How to ride a great jump off with PIppa Allen
This month, British Horse Feeds sponsored show-jumper Pippa Allen, provides advice on how to ride a jump off against the clock.
Based in West Yorkshire, Pippa Allen, 23, is a very talented rider who is now back home in the UK, after spending two and half years in Germany riding for international showjumpers Helena and Tim Stormanns in Eschweiler.
Having competed from a very young age, Pippa started on the national pony circuit winning many top titles, and began competing internationally for Great Britain from the age of 12. She was also selected to be part of the UK Sport lottery funded British Equestrian World Class Programme in 2014.
With two European Team gold medals under her belt, Pippa has competed all over the world and achieved major wins at prestigious competitions including: The Horse of the Year Show, the Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead, Scope, National Finals, Olympia, Aachen, Hagan and the Liverpool International Horse Show.
How to ride a great jump off
Show jumping requires great skill, precision and technical riding. While a clear round will get you into the jump off, the winner will be decided on who can leave all the fences up in the fastest time. Here Pippa shares her top tips for riding against the clock and putting in your quickest round when it counts.
“While you need to up your game in the jump off and speed up, you still need to plan your route and include smooth turns. If you strategically plot the fastest line and best places to make your turns, you’ll be less flustered in the ring.
“Take the opportunity to walk the jump off course if possible so that you can work out the best line to suit your horse’s stride. Also make sure you consider anything which could put your horse off its line, such as a spooky flag or uneven ground.
“It’s a good idea to have a backup plan in case an awkward jump leaves you unable to follow your original idea
“Make sure you warm up thoroughly, trotting a few circles and extending his stride before bringing him back to walk again. Once you’ve got him relaxed and listening to you, practice a couple of fences, but take care not to wear your horse out.
“Timing is key here as you don’t want to warm up too early, or leave it too late before going into the ring.
“Don’t take too many risks over the first couple of jumps as this can unsettle the horse at the beginning of the course. Instead save the big push until nearer the end once you’ve both got going.
“Although you’re trying to go as quickly as possible, you must ensure that the horse is well presented to every fence and is not asked the impossible. Three straight strides before each fence is sensible and you can then push on when you land.
“‘Seeing a stride’ is vital in the jump off especially as you may be coming off some unconventional lines. Although you may have your route planned beforehand, you may need to make some quick adjustments in the arena. Make sure you go with the first stride that you see and stick to it. Taking out strides can save valuable time but this is only safely possible if there are six or more strides on a related difference. You must be riding forward positively and trust your horse to take off when you ask him and be able to clear the fence.
“If you’ve been drawn later in the running order, take the time to watch a few fellow competitors and assess how the course is jumping. If clears are few and far between it may be more sensible to try and play safe and go for a good clear rather than really pushing on and risking incurring a fault. This is all about strategy and deciding what tactics might work best.
“Once in the ring, all your preparation is tested. Outdoors or indoors, the most important thing is rhythm. Developing and maintaining a good rhythm in the ring is all based upon having the horse under absolute control. Ultimately, a rider should be totally aware of how the horse is behaving and of why he is riding in a certain way. No one, however talented, gets it right all the time. The overall success comes with the ability to stay cool and calm whatever is happening.
“Most of all, whatever part of the season it is, have fun and enjoy it!”
All of Pippa’s horses are fed on Fibre-Beet to help maintain good condition throughout the winter and the busy showjumping season. Most importantly it provides them with plenty of fibre to help absorb excess acid and maintain a health gut.
Keep up to date with Pippa and her team throughout the season or find out more about Fibre-Beet at www.britishhorsefeeds.com