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May 2018 £3.65 Issue 838


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Strengthen n o i t i s o p C your X t it requires a really Cross-countr y is loads of fun, bu w to improve it ho ’s re He . e l dd sa e th n i ion sit po secure


aving a strong cross-country position isn’t just about your jumping position over the fence, it’s important for riding between the fences, too. When it comes to going cross-country, you’ll be riding up and down hills, and jumping lots of different types of fence, so balance in the saddle is key. You’ll also be riding in a more forward canter than when you’re showjumping, so learning how to position your body to make your pony’s job easier is super-important.

Shorten up

You’ll spend much more time out of the saddle when you’re going cross-country, so you’ll need to ride with your stirrups a little shorter than you normally would for showjumping. How much you should shorten them depends on your comfort and position, but check the length by standing in the stirrups while you’re standing still and going into a forward seat. If your leg slips back or you find it difficult to stay out of the saddle, you’ll probably need to shorten them a couple more holes. Be careful not to make your stirrups so short that your knees creep over the knee rolls, though, or you’ll be less secure.


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Two-point practice

The most common position you’ll be in on a crosscountry course is the two-point position – also known as a forward seat. It’s called two-point because only two points – both your legs – are in contact with your pony and the saddle, while your seat stays out of it. This keeps your weight off his back, which makes it easier for him to stay in a forward canter. When you’re riding in a two-point position, think about... l pushing your weight down into your heels l lifting yourself out of the saddle and folding slightly at your hips, pushing them back to stay central over the saddle l keeping your head up and shoulders back to hold your body upright The best way to get stronger in this position is to practise it as much as possible! Give it a go in the arena first, then try it while you’re out and about hacking, too. You can practise it in walk, trot and canter, and the more you do it, the easier it’ll become.

Top tip

Why not challenge your friends to a two-point competition? See who can hold the position for longest on a hack – the last person standing wins!

Ditch the stirrups

Another way you can strengthen your legs is to ditch your stirrups altogether and do some no-stirrup work on the flat in the arena. Trot is usually the hardest pace to sit to without stirrups, so focus on keeping your hips and legs relaxed to help you stay with your pony’s movement.

PONY magazine


e s r u o C Of can u o y g than n i g n e l a h more c it together s i s p m sho wju ’s ho w to put f o e s r ere cou A whole a single fence. H jumping

Top tip

Make sure you walk the course to plan the lines you want to take to each fence.

Draw a line


here’s lots to think about when you tackle a course of showjumps, especially if you’ve got the added pressure of being at a competition. But if you focus on riding well between the fences, taking a good line to each element and riding a straight getaway, you’ll be flying round clear in no time.


PONY magazine

Riding a good line into a fence is essential to help your pony jump a clear round. Having a good line means you’ve approached the fence with at least two or three straight strides before and after, and met the centre of the fence. This helps to keep your pony balanced and he’ll be less likely to stop or run out, because he’ll have plenty of time to understand and prepare for what you’re asking him to do.

Top tip

Always look up and over the fence. Looking down can unbalance your pony and make him more likely to stop or run-out.


Plan ahead

Top tip

There may be some time between walking the course and jumping it, so it’s a good idea to remind yourself by watching other competitors.

H There are a few sim ple ways to ensure you ride a good line while on course. Think ab out... l using all the sp ace available l making a good turn to the fence E l aiming for the ce ntre l riding at least tw o straight strides before the fence l looking towards your next fence K If you’ve made th e turn to the fence too early (cutting in) or late (overshootin g), you’ll struggle to approa ch it straight.




Go od line Turned to o early Turned to o late

Canter on In an ideal world, you’d keep the same canter throughout the whole course, but being able to adjust it is really useful in case you need to shorten his stride to fit in an extra one or lengthen it to make up some ground. You’ll need two different types of canter – a short-striding, bouncy canter and a more open, forward one. Start by making sure your pony has a rhythmical, balanced canter by... maintaining an even, steady contact to contain his energy and keep him straight sitting up tall and pulling your shoulders back to keep your body strong and upright pushing your heels down and wrapping your legs firmly round his sides to maintain impulsion

PONY magazine


k c e Ch out him important re p su re a s ck e ch y il T hese simple da blems ro p y n a re a re he t if t and will help you spo portant to it’s im can’t talk, so ickly spot our fave pony so you can qu m hi or it him on m closely u’re bringing wrong. As yo ’s day ng ch hi et ea m le if so of his stab t ou or d el es fi llow th e in from his k him over. Fo ec ch to e m t ti is the perfec look for... know what to u yo so s ep st


1. On the approach As you approach your pony in the field, think about what his behaviour is telling you. He should be bright, alert and behaving normally, so if one day he doesn’t whinny and trot over to the gate like he usually does, it could be a sign something’s wrong.

tip low Top yo u al

Make sure walk your pony to u’re yo d an naturally ong. al m hi ng not pulli


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2. Follow the leader As you lead your pony in, watch the way he walks and ask yourself... l is he moving easily? l does he look comfortable and happy? l is he doing anything unusual?

Watch his exp signs o f dreisssion for comfor t

4. Check him over There are a few quick checks you should do every day, including... l looking for cuts, bumps or scrapes on his legs or body l feeling his feet to check for heat l checking his eyes and nostrils are clear with no discharge

3. Wardrobe change It’s important to remove your pony’s rug to... l make sure he’s not too warm or cold l see if his rug has been rubbing him l check him over thoroughly l give him a quick groom

Top tip

If your pon y’s behaving u nusually, ask an exp erienced adult to ha ve a look at him or c all your ve t for advice .

5. Feet first Your fave pony’s feet are super-important to his health and wellbeing. You should... l pick them out at least once a day to make sure there are no stones stuck in them l check for any bruising or signs of thrush If he’s shod you should also check the condition of his shoes... l are they very worn or loose? l have the clenches risen? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, you’ll need to call your farrier for an appointment as soon as possible.

PONY magazine


Profile for DJ Murphy (Publishers) Ltd

PONY Magazine – May 2018  

May PONY mag is out now and it’s full of fun riding ideas and care tips to help you with your fave pony! From jumping the perfect course to...

PONY Magazine – May 2018  

May PONY mag is out now and it’s full of fun riding ideas and care tips to help you with your fave pony! From jumping the perfect course to...