Through various exercises over ground poles and cavalettis, we worked on controlling the horse, improving the quality of the approaches, keeping the control upon landings, changing leads, choosing the correct speed, and staying on a precise track….Now, we are going to test the rider’s ability to master all these elements that are crucial for a successful course with higher fences.
Michel sets up a short course that requires the rider to stay in control of her position, her mind, and of course, her horse.
In Michel’s opinion, one of the key elements to a successful approach is to be ready for any possible action: to jump, stop, slow down or speed up…Usually, two to three strides away from the jump, riders are already in the position of jumping with their shoulders forward, their eyes fixing the fence. Horses take advantage of this to get away with the rider’s control, or to rush, or even run out. This exercise is a good way to train the horse and rider to stay alert and responsive from landing from one fence to the take of stride of the next one.