What’s in Your Ring? is an EN series sponsored by Attwood Equestrian Surfaces in which riders share their favorite jumping exercises. It’s easy to get stuck in a training rut, and we hope this will inspire you with fresh ideas that you can take home and incorporate into your own programs.
This week’s edition comes from William Fox-Pitt’s January clinic in Aiken, SC, courtesy of Mary McEachern with photos by Clara Richards.
This is how he warmed everyone up for every level including Advanced. What he did was literally have everyone trot a crossrail a few times then go immediately into a small course of six fences where they looped around and around.
What he wanted from them was to not help the horse much or set them up, but to let them “find their legs” and be thinking for themselves. He asked the riders to concentrate on the quality of the canter but not worry if they come in on a half stride or a long one, just to keep coming so the horses start sorting it out for themselves.
- You want them to work it out.
- You want them to be clever and quicker.
- So you must in essence switch off and not over help them and do the work for them.
- The rhythm and balance is what is important.
- The striding is not.
He called this the “not quite right, nevermind” warm-up. As in if the striding was not quite right, never mind. Just keep improving the rhythm and the balance.
When he did more course work he deliberately left out a foot in the measurement in the related distances of the one stride and two stride. He wanted to make the horse more alert and more reactive to jumping up around the fence.
The Prelim group demonstrates:
Clara Richards generously shared these photos from the clinic: