You may have heard said that dressage is a base of everything. This is exactly right, as a good jumper always has great dressage work behind him, too. Dressage helps horses become stronger, more supple, more flexible and relaxed. All of which is very important when you do showjumping or go to hunter shows.
What kind of exercises can help my horse?
There are many easy dressage exercises that can help your horse become a better jumper. One of the most basic exercises are transitions: transitions will help your horse become more supple and to listen to you better. Also, transitions can make your horse stronger.
For instance, you can do walk-trot and walk-canter transitions on the track or on a circle. These help your horse improve his balance and get stronger. You can make a trot transition at every letter of the arena and take your horse back to walk after a few steps.
If you want your horse to become more supple and flexible, you should do circles and serpentines. Also, leg yields and half-passes are excellent exercises when you want to increase the flexibility of your horse. You can, for example, trot down the center line and do a leg yield or a half-pass towards the track.
As you become more experienced and these exercises get easier for your horse, you can also do transitions within a leg yield. This is a great exercise to check if your horse is actually listening to you.
And don't worry, you won't have to buy dressage tack in order to do dressage: your jump saddle, safety stirrups and regular bridle are just fine for flat work.
Even though you may not be a fan of dressage, some dressage exercises can definitely help your horse become a better jumper. Train dressage exercises a couple of times a week and you will surely see an improvement in your horse's movement and ability to jump.