Showjumping is by far one of the most popular riding disciplines around the world. It is fun, exciting and there is no lack of speed. You can do showjumping on many different levels and horses tend to love jumping too.
No matter how fun jumping is and how much may love jumping high fences, you have to remember that there is a lot more to showjumping than just riding courses over and over again.
For instance, dressage, gymnastics and ground poles are important things to introduce your horse and they should, in fact, take up most of your training.
Benefits of ground poles
Before you can jump, you have to master ground poles. And before your horse can jump, they have to master ground poles, too. Though you may be a very experiences showjumper already, and maybe your horse is too, ground poles are an excellent way to improve precision, distance and communication between you and your horse.
As you probably already know, you can’t jump every day. That would be very damaging to your horse’s joints, but fortunately, ground poles are not. You can still practice distance by setting up ground poles around the ring.
Also, practicing collecting your horse between ground poles is a great way to test if your horse is listening to you. This will come in handy when you are riding lines and combinations on a course.
Placing ground poles 120cm away from each other is a great way to test if your horse is quick with his/her feet. Trot over these poles and your horse will have to lift their legs and watch where they’re going!
Benefits of gymnastics
Gymnastics combinations are wonderful to strengthen your horses hind end and back and to make your horses shoulders more loose. Gymnastics are practiced with small fences, such as cross rails, and the fences are placed close together – about 0-2 strides from one another.
Also, they can easily be combined with ground poles. These exercises are not damaging to your horse’s joints, but will make your horse stronger, quicker and more confident.
Gymnastics are also super fun, and you will definitely like it as will your horse. You can practice gymnastics and ground poles a couple of times a week, while jumping a couple times and giving your horse a chance to do dressage and trail riding on others.
Showjumping is a fantastic sport that is super fun to watch and even more fun to ride. Remember, though, that showjumping isn’t all about jumping high! It’s also about precision and quickness.
Get your own safety stirrups already today and start practicing your ground poles and gymnastics.