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In this feature. . . ➤ Become effective and organised in the saddle


course riding with

As told to Bethany Searby. Photos: Daydream Photography


Five-time Olympian William Fox-Pitt guides you through your best showjumping round yet


hile it’s easy to look at a course of showjumps and focus on their height, width and brightly coloured fillers, try not to let the details distract you – after all, jumping the fences is your horse’s job. You can’t do it for him, but you can set him up for a successful round. By concentrating on what happens between the fences, rather than the jumps themselves, the perfect round is within your grasp. To show you how, let’s break riding a course down and look at what you should aim for in the ring, and how to practise at home.

Our expert

William Fox-Pitt started eventing at the age of 15, and was the first British eventer to become World number one.


Our model

Summer at Fernhill (Summer) is a 10-year-old gelding by Summer at Saratoga. He was William’s ride at the Tokyo 2020 test event last year.

In the saddle

➤ Perfect

your course-riding skills ➤ Reduce your jump-off times

1. Before the bell

You might have seen showjumpers, or eventers in the showjumping phase, canter into the ring, ask for a walk transition, then pick up canter again. While it might look impressive this isn’t meant to be a showcase of their skill, rather it reminds their horses to stay tuned in and listening as they prepare for the course. To get your horse performing at his best around a course of showjumps, he needs to be ready and waiting for your aids. Riding transitions as you wait for the bell will help ensure he’s switched on and primed for your instructions.

Try this at home

Incorporate plenty of transitions into your schooling sessions and jumping warm-up. This will not only keep him responsive, but also inject his way of going with a bit more energy. You’re not limited to walk to canter and vice versa – any transition, whether within or between gaits, will help to keep your horse on the ball and listening.


In this feature. . . Our expert

As told to Rebecca Philpot. Photos: Jon Stroud

Part of Bristol-based Collective Equestrian and a former Young Rider team member, Alex Harrison is an international dressage rider, UKCC3 accredited trainer and List 3a dressage judge.

➤ Perfect

Our model

Diamond Hill (Damo) is a nine-year-old warmblood gelding by Don Diamond. Alex has produced Damo from a three-year-old and they’re now competing together at Intermediate II and Grand Prix.

If you want to score those sevens, eights and beyond, you need to put in the groundwork


your horse’s free walk on a long rein

In the saddle

➤ The

key to a straight centre line ➤ Improve your serpentines

Alex Harrison’s

test riding tactics Sometimes the simplest moves can be the hardest to execute. Alex Harrison shares how to make these movements count


rom free walk on a long rein to centre lines and serpentines, sometimes the hardest movements to perform are those that sound the simplest. Remember, simple doesn’t necessarily mean plain sailing so, if you want to score those sevens, eights and beyond, it’s important that you put in the groundwork at home.


Photos: Bob Atkins, Equine Grass Sickness Trust, Jon Stroud. With thanks to World Horse Welfare for their help with this feature,

Our expert

Professor Bruce McGorum BSc BVM&S MSc PhD Cert EM (Int.Med.) DipECEIM FRCVS is the Head of the Equine Section at the University of Edinburgh, which provides specialist veterinary care for horses referred by practising vets throughout Scotland and Northern England. His research focuses on equine grass sickness and equine pulmonary disease


Ask a vet

What is

equine grass sickness? It may sound like the result of over-indulgence in the field but the reality is far more sinister. Professor Bruce McGorum and World Horse Welfare team up to shed some light on the condition


razing horses out on pasture may sound like an idyllic picture, but, for some incredibly unlucky horse owners, beneath it lurks a grave undertone – equine grass sickness (EGS). An often-fatal condition that typically occurs in grazing horses, it was first recognised in Scotland in the early 20th century, and the United Kingdom has the highest incidence rate in the world, with approximately 1–2% of horses dying annually.


EGS affects horses of all types and breeds across most parts of the UK.


Profile for DJ Murphy (Publishers) Ltd

Horse&Rider Magazine – May 2020  

May Horse&Rider is out now! It's full of great riding exercises, management know-how, expert advice and great prizes, just for you. Olympia...

Horse&Rider Magazine – May 2020  

May Horse&Rider is out now! It's full of great riding exercises, management know-how, expert advice and great prizes, just for you. Olympia...