How can I improve my performance on the jumping course?
Show jumping is one of the most popular equestrian disciplines in the world. It is an exciting sport with many technical aspects. We help you understand this discipline from the viewpoint of the horse as well as from that of the rider.
1. Improving one's technique for jumping obstacles: exercises and explanations
Improving one’s jumping technique depends on several parameters:
Approaching the obstacle.
Take care to approach the jump straight and in the middle, and the horse should be cantering on the right lead.
Every step is important, whether before or between jumps. It’s therefore important that the horse approach the jump with balance and good push-off.
Venture to mentally break your course down into its individual elements, i.e. into turns and obstacles. You can also mentally break down the act of the jump itself into approach, jump and landing.
Each step is important in riding through the course correctly. Take your time and remember to breath.
Your line of vision.
Your line of vision is a point not to be neglected because it allows you to see ahead on the course (and thus stay on track), but it is also important for balance in the saddle. A look in the wrong direction can lead to imbalance in posture. For example, if you look at the ground, it may happen that your shoulders “follow suit”. Your body weight will shift forward and this may cause your horse to go on the forehand.
Your posture before the jump.
Incorrect posture can have an effect on your horse. We recommend that you always look to the distance and keep your head facing straight ahead. This will help you sit in balance better.
And! Get to know the course.
Don’t forget to walk the course in advance! Take time to do this with concentration if you really want to make progress. Walking the course in advance is a must for being able to ride it without faults. It will help you find the right track. Make a note of different possible behaviours that your horse might display whilst navigating the course. You can also count the strides between the obstacles so that you can ride them under the best conditions.
It’s also helpful to note how the obstacles are placed, and what colour they are.
The iSPORT tools that will help you...
The iJUMP saddle:
2. Improve your horse's performance by improving physical condition
Jumping takes enormous physical effort on the part of the horse. Training must therefore be carried out as efficiently as possible.
Training improves the circulatory system and strengthens the airways and muscles. It is an important parameter, especially if you have the feeling that your horse is tiring quickly or if you want to prepare for more challenging tests.
We’ve already spoken about the heart rate of the horse. Today we will see how we can use this to improve the horse’s physical condition.
A horse’s heart rate is an indication of fitness. Analysis allows you to help your equine companion work more efficiently and at the same time to protect your horse’s physical integrity.
Your horse will be able to perform better and work much more easily. You can also analyse heart rate at rest and during the recovery phase. This will help you get to know your horse better in the long term and make more informed decisions. You can see at a glance when heart rate is higher than normal.
By analysing heart rate you can account for your horse’s stress level, the influence of heat, or possible pain or illness.
The iSPORT tools that will help you...
The iPULSE girth:
3. Do not neglect the physical condition of the rider
There are many things you can do to improve your riding, even out of the saddle!
Mental preparation is an oft-neglected yet important point when it comes to improving the performance of horse and rider. Negative thoughts can have an effect not only on your own morale, but also on your horse’s, and thus on your performance.
There are various ways to prepare mentally, for example yoga or meditation.
Mental preparation can help you in the following ways:
One method that’s popular with many athletes is mental imagery. This technique has been proven time and again in sports psychology.
This technique consists of creating or recreating a situation in your mind. You can engage many senses in this way. You can actually imagine a picture, a noise or even a feeling. You have to concentrate to imagine it. You have to imagine what you want to do. Close your eyes and go through the jumping course in your mind. Imagine your actions: what your hands and legs are doing, and feel your horse cantering beneath you.
Because your horse isn’t the only one in training, we suggest some exercises for strength training that you can do at home. 😉
We have a training series especially for riders that you’ll find on our Facebook page!