Four showjumping tips for the more experienced horse
This month we are joined by equestrian competitor and coach, Bex Mason who gives her four top showjumping tips for readers with more experienced horses by highlighting the importance of the basics, variety, cavaletti training and goal setting.
About Bex Mason
Based in Gloucestershire, there’s not much Bex Mason hasn’t done in terms of equestrian competition since the launch of her business in 2010. Having spent over a decade training and competing with top riders such as Tina and Graham Fletcher, naturally her next move was to hone skills to help others achieve their dreams while building a team of horsepower to ride into the future with.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
For more information on Bex Mason, please visit www.bexmasonshowjumping.co.uk