Top Tips From Olivia Dales

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This is an exercise we do 2-3 times a week with each horse to improve their core strength, agility and also working on their straightness.

Build a cross pole or an upright with a placing pole a distance apart from the fence (see distances below).


The short placing pole should cause the horse to make a compacted stride thus encouraging the horse to rock back onto their hocks and throw a rounded jump. Start of with a smaller fence until the horse knows what to do and then don’t be afraid to go bigger.

Once the fence is bigger this exercise can also help to improve ‘snappiness’ in front as core strength of the horse will improve and they will find picking up their shoulder and front much easier as well as powering from behind. -a horse jumps a fence by hitting the ground with both front feet together and transferring their weight backwards onto the hindquarters- pushing himself up into the air to make the jump. – the place pole will encourage the horse to arrange their feet into pairs, causing them to take off by ‘putting down’ with both feet together to get the power they need. – you should not tip your weight forward over the pole otherwise this will cause unbalance to the horse as they are trying to rock back onto their hindquarters.

For the horse to achieve the desired action he must: – have a calm, forward, active trot with plenty of impulsion and in an even rhythm throughout – balance around the preceding corner, with correct bend then straightness approaching the fence For the rider, it is important that they regulate the rhythm of the horse and remain calm and controlled themselves.

Be disciplined in making sure the horse remains in trot but also remember to keep soft hands and to go with him (the exercise is for the horse to jump, not you!). It may also take a few tries before your horse understands what to do but by repetition and always asking the same thing he will eventually learn.