In today’s podcast we will go over 7 things you should do in your equitation over fences class.
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These are simple things that the judge would like to see and could make the difference between getting a ribbon and placing and not.
- this is the most important thing. Get to all of the fences.
No Refusals, run outs or disobediences. No chips, and no knock downs. Sounds simple enough. There is nothing a judge hates more than seeing a competitive athlete mess up a great equitation round because of a major error.
No chips. That means you have to meet each fence correctly. You should, as a rule of thumb, leave the ground for the jump, the height of the jump away. That means if you are jumping a 3 foot fence then the horse should leave the ground approximately 3 feet away from the fence. If you get too close, that could be a chip.
A chip is when a horse gets too close to the jump and has an iddy biddy stride just before take off.
- Get the correct striding between fences.
If the striding is a related distance then getting the correct number of strides is important.
- Have your heels down and correct leg position.
Your heel and leg position is the foundation for your riding. If your heel isn’t down and leg secure, your position is in jeopardy. One of the first things a judge will see and remark on in your equitation is the position of your leg and heel.
Your leg and heel is the base of support for your position. A weak heel means a weak lower leg, which leads to a weak base of support for your riding position. If one is weak it will lead to weakness all areas of your riding.
Your ankle should be supple and absorbing. Heels down is not a good thing if they are jammed down and forced into a stiff, awkward position. they should be down, relaxed and absorbing the movement of the horse.
A weak base will lead to getting left behind at fences, falling forward at fences and generally bad riding.
- Eyes and head should be up looking forward to the next fence.
This is necessary for you as the rider knowing where you must go but also so the horse knows where he is supposed to go. This is important for the horse. When you as the rider looks forward and around turns and corners it provides shifts in your body position and weight that the horse can feel so they understand where they are supposed to go next.
Think of it like riding a bicycle or driving a car, you have to look where you are going! or you may drive off the road!
- Have an even rhythm throughout. A steady rhythmic round gives a lovely impression and shows off your riding. If your round is fast/slow/fast it detracts from the overall appearance and could cause difference in stride length which in turn may cause adding strides in a line.
- Have balanced planned corners. Remember there are 8 fences in a hunter course, but there are many more strides, corners and turns. Having a balanced turn, rounded corners will improve your approach to your fence and give a thoughtful, polished look.
Cutting corners will make your round appear choppy and unplanned. This leaves the horse unbalanced to the fence and sometimes results in a poor jump.
- Have excellent turnout. Looking the part with proper attire,neat conservative jacket and clean, well fitted tack sends a polished image. You have to back it up with a matching round.
These are just some of the top things that judges would like to see. Remember