Jumping for youngsters

If you are introducing your youngster to jumping, there are some great videos on Horse Hero which can help you. From early school work to the first session across country, Horse Hero videos will give you key tips on how to get the best out of your horse.

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Topstar jumps across cross country for the first time
In Topstar's first cross country outing, South African 4* eventer Alex Peternell focuses on the two main 'rider frighteners', ditches and water. The aim is to build Topstar's confidence and Alex demonstrates some useful tips for familiarising the horse to the obstacle before jumping it. He also shows how to make the ditch easy for Topstar, who responds to the challenge! Alex works progressively in the water complex, starting by splashing through it and building up to jumping in and out. He stresses the importance of allowing the horse to learn from his mistakes and enjoy himself, and says the rider must remain relaxed at all times!

Shane Breen schools a youngster cross country
Show jumper Shane Breen introduces a 5 year old potential eventer to cross country obstacles at home at the famous Hickstead show ground. The young horse is green but bold and shows a lovely attitude. Shane tells us his aim is for horse to be brave, balanced and straight and to take him to the fence. Starting in the school over a skinny, Shane then jumps in and out of the arena before moving on to a water splash which he links to a hedge. Having allowed the horse to jump freely across country, the next step in his education will be to focus on more technical questions in the school for a while, including bounces, related distances and some trickier skinnies.

Gridwork - Julie Tew Show jumping for cross country, with Emily Llewellyn
Having shown us her warm-up routine in a previous video, Emily Llewellyn (double gold medallist, European Champs' 08) takes us through a session of simulated cross country jumping in her school with 7 year old, Junior. Starting small, Emily 'plays' with an arrangement of fences to establish balance and obedience, including arrow-heads, a coffin, corner, bounce and angled rails. She also explains how to ride them when going cross-country. Emily stresses the importance of building up gradually, particularly with complex fences such as the coffin. She does a terrific job with a spooky Junior and is a star to continue in heavy rain!

Louise Skelton starts Sam's jumping career
Four star event rider Louise Skelton gives three year old baby Sam, his third jumping lesson. Given his huge size Sam is remarkably together and helpful, which is just as well as Louise is so tiny! Starting with trotting poles, Louise moves on to a crosspole. Sam obliges but doesn't make much effort. Only when faced with a small upright does he break out of a trot to jump! Encouraged by this, Louise introduces him to his first double, where where he shows some talent for a future in eventing! Louise explains the importance of a progressive approach to allow time to absorb the learning and says keep sessions short as youngsters tire easily.

Alex Peternell trains young Lando to wait after his fences Alex Peternell trains young Lando to wait after his fences
Four star eventer Alex Peternell works with the 6 year old Lando, a large and talented youngster who's prone to spookiness. Lando tends to lock his jaw and run on through the rein after each jump, so Alex works on a variety of exercises to encourage him to listen, wait, and maintain rhythm and softness after landing. During the warm-up, Alex provides a useful insight into how he deals with spooking and also how his warm-up for jumping differs to dressage. Starting with a single fence, Alex jumps, lands and stops. He builds up to a short course to put Lando to the test. Alex stresses the important of having a game plan but also remaining flexible!

Circle jumping to balance an enthusiastic youngster
Four star eventer Georgie Spence trains the 7 year old Woody on a circle jumping exercise. Woody is a naturally keen horse and the distance is set to ride on 4 or 5 strides between the four fences. Beginning with poles to establish a good rhythm, Georgie works on a square to help Woody's balance and ensure he jumps at the centre of the poles. She progresses to small jumps and though Woody quickens his pace, Georgie quietly persists with the exercise and allows him to relax without risking an argument. When he settles, he is able to correct his mistakes such as getting too close the fence and landing on the wrong lead leg. Mission accomplished by the end of the exercise!

Vittoria Panizzon starts the 4 year old Enzo on grid-work
Four year old Enzo has been with Vittoria for just two days and this is his first attempt at jumping a grid. In the warm-up Vittoria works on getting a response to the aids, testing she has brakes and getting Enzo as balanced as she can. An active straight, forwards trot is the aim for the grid. She says, "it's essential to make it is as simple and obvious as possible", so Vittoria begins with poles on the ground and takes a lead from another horse. As the difficulty of the grid is increased, Enzo rises to the occasion, showing a much improved technique. "Vocal encouragement boosts his confidence but it's important to stop before the energy runs out" Vittoria concludes!

Training the four year old to show jump, with Ernest Dillon Training the four year old to show jump, with Ernest Dillon
Having warmed the four year old Coco up (in another video), show jumping trainer Ernest Dillon demonstrates simple pole-work for youngsters. "The exercise helps to elevate her stride, use her top-line muscles more effectively and become stronger in the long run" says Ernest. He adds "there is no such thing as a clumsy horse; if they touch the poles it's usually through lack of co-ordination". Coco negotiates the exercise in walk and trot. Ernest ensures she is straight and active, otherwise he does not correct her if she is likely to touch a pole, as Coco must be allowed to make her own mistakes and learn to be self-reliant.

Ernest Dillon trains 4 yr old Coco on related distances for the first time Ernest Dillon trains 4 yr old Coco on related distances for the first time
Having introduced 4 year old Coco to fillers in the first part of the session (see previous video), show jumping trainer Ernest Dillon tackles a 3 and 4 stride related distance with her for the very first time. He says "the difficulty will be keeping her straight and balanced on the landing stride, as she is green and will be on the forehand due to the extra momentum." However, Coco has an 'elastic mind' and makes makes nothing of the task. Lowering a pole on one of her efforts though, Ernest explains that a half-halt on the pen-ultimate corner will lessen her enthusiasm to the fence, which it does, and Coco then learns from her mistake, jumping clear.

Improving the canter for show jumping with Ernest Dillon: Part 1 Improving the canter for show jumping with Ernest Dillon: Part 1
Show jumping trainer Ernest Dillon uses poles to improve the canter of 5 year old Bella, who is not naturally 'uphill'. The warm-up begins with stretching, then Bella must be 'between hand and leg' (comfortable in the hand and easy to steer, shorten and lengthen) and carry herself. A square of parallel poles emphasises any falling in or drifting out through the turns and the need to control the shoulder. The rider's core stability (independence of seat) is vital so their weight does not hinder the horse. Ernest explains the aids and Bella shows submission and balance through the corners. He then rides imaginary lines to fences.

Improving the canter for show jumping with Ernest Dillon: Part 2 Improving the canter for show jumping with Ernest Dillon: Part 2
Having used a pole exercise on a square to improve the canter for jumping (Part 1), show jumping trainer Ernest Dillon uses poles on half a square to approach to a fence. The aim is to maintain balance through the turn and straightness on the approach. 5 year old Bella is distraced on landing and a little wiggly, so Ernest explains a solution. As horses sometimes see things differently out of each eye, changing the rein can alter their behaviour. Progressing to a parallel from an upright, Bella is balanced through the turn and staight on the approach and landing. Mission accomplished! Ernest provides a wonderful commentary throughout.

Endurance pony Taz progresses his jumping with Fiona Price Endurance pony Taz progresses his jumping with Fiona Price
One month after his first jumping lesson, we find out what progress endurance pony Taz has made. It's a very cold day and Taz is super-sharp so Horse Hero's Fiona Price has been out on a three mile trot before starting with poles, working on straightness and bend at either end. Fiona tactfully encourages relaxation and softness and trainer Hayley Newman asks Fiona to suggest canter over the poles. Beginning with a cross pole, the grid progresses to a one stride, a related distance including a spread and a bounce. Taz's technique noticeably improves and his self-carriage, balance and rhythm is so much better than in his first session.

Ernest Dillon teaches Bella flying changes for show jumping Ernest Dillon teaches Bella flying changes for show jumping
5 year old Bella's canter has improved sufficiently for show jumping trainer Ernest Dillon to teach her flying changes. Initially, the horse must to happy to go into canter on a straight line on both canter leads, when asked. Ernest provides a clear explanation of the aids for a flying change. He also demonstrates an exercise to take Bella's mind off the change, if she begins to anticipate. Ernest prepares by establishing a collected canter but Bella becomes a little excited. With patience, however, she gets the idea. Ernest says "you must never reprimand a horse for failing to change, as they will anticipate punishment and become tense and confused".

Olympic eventer Alex Peternell starts Mattie's jumping training Olympic eventer Alex Peternell starts Mattie's jumping training
Mattie is a young part-bred Connomara, who is talented but spooky. Olympic eventer Alex Peternell aims to build his confidence and increase responsiveness. He explains how he deals with spooking, then canters over some poles on the ground. The pair progress to an upright with a pole infront to encourage Mattie to spring off the ground and a pole after to keep him focused and attentive. A related distance is followed by a dog-leg. Finally, a spooky jump puts Mattie's courage to the test. Alex says "young horses tire easily, so you have to judge their energy carefully and find ways to keep them sharp and athletic, so that becomes their norm."

Alex Peternell works on sharpness and softness in Topstar's jumping Alex Peternell works on sharpness and softness in Topstar's jumping
South African Olympic eventer Alex Peternell brings 8 year old Topstar back into jumping after a break. Topstar is at 2* level (previously filmed by Horse hero on his first cross country session). The focus is to sharpen his technique and get him back into competition mode. "The main issue is keeping him soft between the fences so he can use his back over the jump" says Alex, "as he can draw back in his neck and get tense". Starting with a pole to a fence, the pair progress to a related distance then a dog-leg, while working on balance, straightness and softness. "If I stay soft in my body, it helps Topstar to stay soft and avoids a tug of war".

4* Eventer Emily Llewellyn trains Breeze to contain her canter for jumping 4* Eventer Emily Llewellyn trains Breeze to contain her canter for jumping
7 year old Breeze has just started her eventing career having had two foals. Her jump is big and scopey and having gone cross-country schooling the day before, 4* eventer Emily Llewellyn uses four simple fences on a square to bring her jump back under control and get her listening between fences. On the flat, Emily works on containing the canter by getting Breeze to take the weight behind and be light in the hand. Corners and rhythm are important in order to meet the fences calmly and correctly. Emily then negotiates three bounces on the diagonal. Breeze learns from some green mistakes without Emily changing the way she rides the fences.

Olympic eventer Vittoria Panizzon starts 4 year old Ken's jumping training Olympic eventer Vittoria Panizzon starts 4 year old Ken's jumping training
Italian Olympic eventer Vittoria Panizzon begins the session with 'baby' schooling before introducing 4 year old Ken to his first jumping grid. The aim is to stay on the track, go deeper into the corners and for Ken to maintain an easy outline. Hacking has taught him to go straight and forwards and voice aids from lunging help with ridden work. Vittoria offers a great insight into what to expect from youngsters and how to make it as easy as possible for them. She walks over poles to let Ken sort his legs out before introducing a cross pole in trot, followed by an upright and two parallels. Ken makes good progress and learns from his mistakes.

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