Gracie’s lesson with Ben Hobday – part 2

Posted 5th March 2020

Part two of Pony Nuts’ lesson with event rider Ben Hobday!

Pony Nuts having a jumping lesson with Ben Hobday

Last month in Spring PONY, Ben helped Gracie and her horse Bella develop an awesome jumping canter! They used ground poles to create a balanced, adjustable pace, and now Gracie’s putting what she learned into practice over fences!

A recipe for success

According to Ben, jumping’s just like baking a cake. If you want to make a bigger cake, you use the same ingredients, but add more of them! With jumping, the three things you should always focus on are power, control and straightness. So, to jump bigger fences you need more power and control, and it’s even more important to stay straight.

Get in line

Your pony needs to be super-straight when he approaches a fence because it’ll give him a better chance of clearing it. If his body’s crooked he’ll struggle to push off the ground evenly with both hindlegs and propel himself up and over the fence.

Exercise: stride guide

This easy exercise will help you practise seeing the correct stride into a fence.

Set it up

Build a double of cross-poles four canter strides apart (approx. 16-18m).

How to ride it

  1. Create a showjumping canter where your pony’s moving forward with lots of energy.
  2. Approach the double and help him stay in a rhythm by repeating da da dum, da da dum to yourself.
  3. Count how many strides he takes between the fences. If it’s an even four strides that’s great! But if he took off too close or far away from fence two, ask yourself if you need more energy or to wait for half a stride to help you see the perfect spot.
  4. Come again and try for the four strides.

Grab a copy of April PONY, on sale 11 March, to find out how Pony Nuts got on in the rest of her lesson.

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