g n o r t s r e p su ponies sorted! Does your pony get too strong and rush when it comes to jumping? Here’s how to solve it
ots of ponies get super-excited when they’re jumping and this often means they become stronger to ride. If your fave pony does this, you might find it difficult to keep him balanced and listening to your aids, while he’s thinking he knows better and dashing towards every fence he sees! For ponies who are strong, it’s especially important to think about your position, and how this can affect his speed and way of going. Plus, there are several exercises you can use during your schooling sessions to encourage him to stay focused on you.
l keep your shoulders back The more you think about pulling your shoulders back, the less likely you’ll find yourself tipped forward in the saddle. Think of your elbows as shock absorbers – keep them soft, bent and close to your body to stop your pony being in charge of your position
The way you sit on your pony really affects how he responds to your aids. It’s easy to let yourself get pulled forward when you’re riding a strong pony, so follow these tips to stay strong and secure in the saddle...
Did you know?
As well as not being fun, riding a strong pony affects your chances of a clear round. If he’s not listening, you won’t be able to get your approach to each fence spot on and you’ll be more likely to have a pole down or a run-out.
l push your heels down Keeping your weight into your heels makes your legs secure and brings them underneath you
Polework is a great tool for encouraging rhythm and balance in your pony’s paces
1.10m 1.10m 1.10m
l look up! Keeping your eyes and head up, especially on the approach and landing of a fence, helps keep you in a safe position
Exercise 1: Trotting poles
Polework is a great tool for encouraging rhythm and balance in your pony’s paces, which can be used when it comes to jumping, too. He has to concentrate on where his legs are as you ride over the poles, so it’s much easier to keep him focused and stop him rushing. Set it up... Lay out four poles on the ground in a straight line, each approximately 1.10m apart for a 14.2hh pony. How to ride it... 1. Trot over the poles a couple of times on each rein, making sure your pony’s comfortable with the distances. 2. Turn the last pole into a small cross-pole, then approach again. 3. Keep your legs wrapped around your pony’s sides and your hands soft to encourage him over the fence, then ride away in a straight line.
l soften your hands Avoid pulling hard on the reins, as your pony will try to pull back. Give and take with your hands to encourage him to stay soft, and use halfhalts to ask him to wait
You can do these exercises over several schooling sessions – practise them little and often whenever you need a refresher.
g n i c n a Bal
Being in balance with your pony is easier said than done. Check out these tips for improving balance, so you can move in perfect harmony
alance is super-important because when your pony can carry himself in a balanced way, he’ll be able to work more easily and it’ll seem effortless. He’ll also muscles evenly, building strength his work r equally over his body, which makes it easie for him to carry you. It’s important for you to have good balance, too, so you can move with your pony, rather than him having to put in extra ce effort to counteract you. A lack of balan so le, sadd the in re secu less also makes you it! on work to idea good a it’s
Did you know? Balance is a very impo rtant skill for ponies in the wild, which is why they’re naturally good at it. If a wild pony loses balance and falls over, they’re putting the mselves in danger from predator s.
ways to improve your balance
1 Ride without stirrups Riding without stirrups makes you find your own centre of gravity to keep you secure in the saddle. Start by walking without stirrups, and work on staying relaxed and moving with your pony. When you feel confident in walk, build up to trot When you’re riding and canter. without stirrups, be careful not to brace against your pony as it’ll be uncomfortable for both of you.
2 Ride on the lunge When you ride on the lunge, your instructor’s in control of your pony from the ground, so you’re free to focus on your riding and position. Ask your instructor if you can ride without your reins, as it’ll help improve your core stability and you won’t be able to rely on them for support should you lose your balance.
3 Perfect your position Each time you ride, regularly check that all the elements of your position are correct. Your weight should be over your pony’s centre of gravity, so it’s particularly important that you keep sitting upright – tilting forwards will put too much weight on his forehand and unbalance him.
4 Practise when you’re not riding Sit on a large exercise ball, lift your feet off the ground and try to balance. It takes lots of effort and concentration to remain in a steady, seated position without your legs on the floor. It’ll strengthen your core muscles, which are essential for good balance.
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2. Be a good friend ● Your yard owner wants... happy liveries ● How to achieve it... If everything’s running as it should and everyone’s nice to each other, there’s no reason why anyone should be unhappy. Not enjoying your time at the yard is the worst feeling ever, so if you spot someone looking down, see if you can find out what’s up. Give your yard mates a helping hand, too, because it makes everything more friendly and fun. Your yard owner will appreciate this because they want the yard to be a happy place.
1. Put things away ● Your yard owner wants... a tidy yard ● How to achieve it... This one’s simple, but easy to forget to do – if you get something out, whether it’s a rug, wheelbarrow or your tack, make sure you put it away when you’re finished. As a yard owner, there’s nothing worse than showing a potential new livery around when there’s stuff everywhere. And as a livery, it’s superannoying if you can’t ever find anything that’s shared because no one’s put it back!
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Published on Mar 13, 2018
Published on Mar 13, 2018
April PONY is jam-packed with riding tips and pony care advice – from riding strong ponies to making your pony sparkle, it’s all in there. F...