Horse Riding Course

Learn to Jump on a Horse Riding Course

Once you feel secure in the saddle, you might think about taking a horse riding course which teaches you to jump over manageable fences. Even dressage riders work over raised poles on the ground to vary their horses’ routine, supple them and improve their gaits.

If your goal is to ride on the trails, learning to jump will increase your fun. You’ll be able to clear small obstacles and spice up your riding.

Here’s what to expect when you learn to jump on a horse riding course.


You start with work on the ground, so don’t worry about being asked to do something you’re not ready for. Read a well-illustrated horseback riding book which incorporates the basics of jumping, and it will help you adopt the correct position in the saddle.

The course instructor will make sure you’ve mastered the riding basics of walk, trot, canter, turn and halt in a controlled fashion before you begin jumping.

Baby Steps

You’ll start by walking and trotting your horse over poles on the ground, and get used to the feel of ‘going over’ something in the jumping position. Riding in both directions, you’ll learn to control the speed of your horse while you ride round corners and through the poles.

First Fence

Once you’re comfortable with this, you’ll trot over a pole placed on the ground, at the correct distance in front of the cross-pole to aid your horse in making a smooth jump over it.

A ‘cross-pole’ comprises two poles crossed in front of each other which form their lowest point in the center where they meet. To jump correctly you must aim for the middle of a fence and since this is the easiest place to go over a cross-pole, both horse and rider are naturally drawn to the correct jumping spot.

Pop over this and you’ll have cleared your first fence! It’s now up to you and your riding instructor to decide how much higher you should go during the rest of your course.

Do You Have the Right Horse?

You may worry that your horse is not a ‘jumper.’

As long as he’s not a hot-head, overweight or unfit, it doesn’t matter whether or not your horse has a natural talent for jumping. Virtually every horse can clear a 3 foot fence, and you’re starting with a few inches. So if you have a large Shire horse or little pony, your equine friend will have no problem clearing small fences.

Both you and your horse will benefit from the gymnastic exercise jumping provides and feel refreshed when you return to your regular riding routine. Or maybe you’ll get hooked on a new riding discipline!

What To Do When Your Horse Makes You Mad!

Posted on 2010-07-29

We all have off days, and so do our horses. If we keep a good perspective when taking a horse riding course we can develop smart ways of coping when our equines make us see red!

A Personal Story

One of my horses was off work for over six months due to injury. He’d been a willing, pliable animal before his lay-off, but after a good rest his whole attitude changed to ‘why should I do a single thing you say?’

He’s a very big horse, and obviously much stronger than me. But that didn’t stop me getting really mad and trying to force him to listen to me anyway.

The idiocy of this ploy soon became clear, and I had to completely change tactics with him. This horse taught me two valuable lessons.

The First Lesson

A good horse riding book will tell you that you cannot bully a horse into doing something. You have to persuade him through good riding. If a normally genuine horse is being unco-operative, you should ask yourself ‘why?’

But if the day has not gone well, and you’ve been looking forward to your ride to help you unwind, it’s difficult not to be furious at the horse for not fulfilling your expectations. Yet, however disappointed in him you may be, you must not take out your frustration on the horse.

And now we come to that first lesson: If you feel yourself becoming irate with your horse – whatever the reason – DISMOUNT!! It’s not worth destroying the trust you’ve built up during your horse riding course to suddenly punish your equine buddy unfairly.

The Second Lesson

As well as the times when we are disappointed in our riding performances, there will be those glorious moments when it all comes beautifully together. The horse is listening to our aids, and it feels wonderful. The temptation is to push the horse to more and more when this happens, but the smart rider rewards his mount for such great work by finishing early.

When I rode the horse with more sympathy and feel, it didn’t take long for us to get into sync again and win a lot of shows together.

If you feel angry with your horse when you ride, consider dismounting or at least ask him for an easy movement before you end for the day. And if your horse goes exceptionally well, make it worth his while by finishing your ride earlier than usual.

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3 Reasons to Take a Horse Riding Course

Posted on 2010-05-06

A horse riding course is useful for both beginners and experienced riders. Even for riders at the higher levels, there’s always something new to master.

If you’re not sure whether a course of riding instruction is for you, these three reasons may persuade you to try a short one.

1. Rapid Reinforcement

Repetition is the fastest way to learn a sport. You develop muscle memory and your body starts to do the right thing automatically, without your conscious participation.

A condensed riding course offers rapid reinforcement over a short period of time. In the horse riding book Horse Riding Lessons: Teaching Yourself to Ride you’ll find a course of lessons which teach you the basics of riding in a few weeks. By repeating what you’ve learned in each session over the next five to six days, you’ll quickly progress and become a competent rider.

2. A New Viewpoint

Even if you’re riding with a good instructor, it’s still worth taking a few lessons with someone different from time to time to get a fresh perspective on how to improve. Even the best instructors train with better riders than themselves.

Riding clinics are great opportunities to ride in front of professionals who give excellent tips to improve your riding, whatever your level. These clinics are usually only two or three days long.

You’ll watch other riders and learn a lot from them, too. For a nominal fee, you can also audit these clinics, without bringing a horse, which is another great way to meet famous riders in your discipline.

3. A New Challenge

Maybe you’re ready to take your riding in a new direction, such as stadium or cross-country jumping.

If you immerse yourself in an intense course of instruction you’ll gain in confidence around your horse and widen your riding horizons. At the same time you’ll meet a group of riders who can encourage you and help you discover more about your new discipline.

If you’re serious about becoming a good rider - and especially if you’re unable to take regular lessons - consider going on a short riding course whenever you can. It will be a pleasant change in your routine and boost your level of competence.

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