Whether you love show-jumping, dressage, eventing or showing, you can always learn a tip or two from the professionals. We asked our Ambassadors, top show rider and producer Katie Jerram-Hunnable and International Show-jumper Jessica Mendoza their top tips for competition success.
Katie Jerram-Hunnable’s Tips:
1. Manners maketh a horse.
Regardless of your chosen discipline, make sure you teach your horse to stand still when you mount and that he or she has manners on the ground when being lead or held.
2. Variety is the spice of life.
Give your horse plenty of variety in his work, and he will enjoy his job even more. Boxing up for a hack somewhere new or going to a clinic away from home is something which our horses love. Remember, every outing doesn’t have to be at a competition.
3. Be consistent in your training.
Correcting your horse one day, then allowing him to get away with the same issue the following week will only confuse him or her. Be consistent in everything you do with your horse, both in and out of the saddle.
4. Remember you don’t know it all.
Even top professionals have an experienced eye on the ground to help them occasionally so don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you know everything! Regular training sessions and watching the professionals ride or giving lecture demos can teach you a considerable amount and help you progress with your riding.
5. Take pride in you and your horses’ appearance.
Turning yourself and your horse out to the highest standard isn’t just relevant to the show-ring. Presenting your horse to the judges is something which you should do with pride, so take time to plait and groom your horse and polish your tack and boots.
6. Take your time.
Don’t rush your training. Let your horse be your guide as to whether he or she is ready to move up to the next level. Don’t be corralled by your friends, family or yard into doing something with your horse if you feel your horse is not ready. You know your horse better than anyone so go with your gut feeling.
Jessica Mendoza’s Training Tips:
7. Keep your training consistent.
I have the same warm-up and cool down routine for the horses as I do at shows. This is a familiar safety blanket that can give the younger or more novice horses that extra confidence.
8. Horses are like humans.
Just like us, sometimes their head is just not that focused on work. If this is the case, don’t battle through but go for a gentle hack or do something different with them in the arena. This works a treat if you get in the arena at home and they feel less than enthusiastic that day!
9. Check them over daily.
Our horses are all groomed daily, and it gives us the perfect opportunity to check them over for any lumps, bumps or swellings. A little heat in a leg might be nothing but if you don’t notice it, it could turn into something so ensure you are familiar with what is normal and what is not. We also check them over after riding.
10. Riding a variety of horses does your riding the world of good.
It takes a good rider to get a good tune out of a horse the first time they ride, so take advantage of the opportunity to ride other people’s horses – it could highlight all those lousy riding habits we get into but also boost your confidence too.
11. Don’t ride with a stress head.
We all have worries and woes but leave them at the arena gate when you ride. Having a clear head and focusing on your horse will ensure that your horse doesn’t pick up on your anxieties and become tense. Parking your troubles for 45 minutes also does wonders for your own mental well-being.
If you enjoyed reading this blog, you may enjoy reading Katie’s blog, How To Wow The Judges In The Show Ring.Back to Journal