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Global Equine - Blog


Jul 25, 2015

Haras Du Ry Showjumping Training Tips - Practice Makes Perfect

Jacqui Ridley - training blog

In earlier blogs I’ve shared many of my experiences out at competitions, my day to day life at Haras Du Ry and elsewhere but as all experienced competitors know it’s the training back home in the paddock that sets the scene for success at the show.  So now it’s time to get down to the pointy end of life here and talk about some of the day to day training we do with our horses.  

Riders of all disciplines are focusing more and more on preparing their horses for optimum results out in the competition field.  Whether you are show jumping, eventing or riding dressage, training gymnastic exercises aimed at improving suppleness, strength and fitness are the focus of training.  Basic daily work here always begins with warm up exercises to gently stretch and warm muscles and joints and give the horse time to focus, the rider time to test how the horse feels and how he reacts to the aids.  In my warm ups I use leg yields and tempo changes within the pace to stretch and test.  Every horse has different strengths and weaknesses and when riding multiple horses in a day the warm up is a great time to get the ‘feel’ of each horse again and think about what work needs to be done during that ride.

So it’s the warm up, suppleness, strengthening and fitness exercises that aim at improving the overall rideability of your horse in the ring on show day.

Moving on to the specifics of jump training, there are a number of common weaknesses that training can target:

•  Sharpness in front

• Lack of strength to push off from behind

• Straightness

• Relaxing the hot horse

• Waking up and quickening the lazier style horse

Grid exercises such as the ones below can target some of these problems:


This is a great exercise for young horses and one that really makes them focus and think for themselves a little more.  The placement pole (a ground pole placed one stride out) will help to deliver the horse correctly into the first jump.


Jacqui Ridley - training blog

Jacqui Ridley - training blog

This exercise leads nicely into the next exercise when you and your horse are working comfortably with the Bounce-One stride-Bounce.


This grid exercise can really help to make a horse quicker, sharper and strengthen the hind end. As with any athletic training it’s important to begin slowly and only increase the degree of difficulty and the intensity steadily, bearing in mind how the horse is coping with the work.  As with our own fitness training, you need to do just the right amount to build strength but not over exert.

Jacqui Ridley - training blog

Jacqui Ridley - training blog

Jacqui Ridley - training blog

It’s good to start this exercise with no oxer then introduce it and steadily make it higher and wider over time and as training progresses.


This is an excellent way to develop a quicker, sharper and more careful front end. Again start with the vertical small and easy and gradually increase the height of the vertical.

Jacqui Ridley - training blog


When a horse is lacking pushing power behind hill work can really build strength and muscle behind.

Not every rider has the benefit of a suitable place to ride hill work with their horse but there a huge benefits to be had here.  A gently sloping paddock is the perfect place to develop fitness and strength.  After each ride I try to do a little hill work but only with horses older than 6 as it can be too hard on the younger ones.  Starting with gentle walking gradually working up the activity over time by increasing tempo and if possible gradient.  Length of stride can also be another variable to work with.  So head to the hills and see how much more strength your horse can develop in the hind end particularly plus it’s always good to give a horse variety of work and cross training.

Jacqui Ridley - training blog


On the Haras Du Ry scene things have been very busy.  There’s a wide variety of horses in training here and our Aussie riders are enjoying lots of show action.  The team had success at Le Mans and Haras Du Pin, the WEG eventing location plus the summer heat has been quite welcome!

Jacqui Ridley - training blog
After a successful show in Le Pin.

Ahead Amy will be competing in the 5* Global Champions Tour at Chantilly, then the team will have a strong presence at Dinnard 5*/2*/1*.  I am looking forward to Fountenbleau CSI1*/2* at the end of the month with two horses to compete.

I’ve had Mum here seeing what I’m up to for a few weeks and experiencing life at Haras Du Ry. It’s been quite an eye opener for her compared with things back home but I know she now understands just how good the horsey life here is!  If anyone back home is thinking of heading this way to train there couldn’t be a better place to be.

- Jacqui Ridley

Jacqui Ridley - training blog
Jumping Chantilly one of the nicest venues in Europe.

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