Flatwork for Showjumping
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   21st Aug 2013   •   15,729 views   •   1 comments
Flatwork for Showjumping

It may sound surprising to say, but ‘showjumping’ is actually not all about ‘jumping’. When faced with a big course of jumps, the horse’s physical jump can only take it so far. What matters is what happens between the jumps; balance, impulsion, adjustability, and the overall quality of the canter. This is what is needed to produce a decent showjumping round. Unfortunately, these qualities are not things that can be taught over fences. Although every showjumper hates to hear it, the harsh truth is that before you’ll be able to jump successfully, you have to do your homework. And sadly, that means doing your flatwork.

In a showjumping horse, the most important aspect to focus on is that he is loose and supple behind, freeing up his quarters to give him the power he needs to jump. He must be balanced and rhythmic, with all his power coming from behind. He should never feel flat and on the forehand between the jumps – a horse that isn’t collected between the hand and leg, charging around on the forehand, is the horse most likely to have a nasty fall during the course. That is why, as riders, it is our responsibility to ensure that our horse is properly warm and supple, and that his quarters are strong enough to power him through the course. The following are some of my favourite warm up exercises to engage the quarters and loosen up a stiff horse, thus allowing for a more safe, successful and confident jumping session!

Transitions within a pace. When trotting large around the arena, collect the trot for three strides, and then lengthen for the next three, trying to show as much difference as possible. Make sure that the horse is always between hand and leg, and keep repeating the exercises until his quarters feel looser. As he begins to loosen up, try lengthening and collecting very subtly on every stride – this gets the horse snappy and responsive, trying to change his pace at a split second’s notice, and should cause him to engage his quarters and work more through his back, thus giving a bigger, looser trot. Repeat the exercise again at canter.

Flatwork for Showjumping

Leg yields. Leg yields should be done in both directions at trot and canter to loosen the horse’s quarters, and get him thinking about the placement of the hind legs. It is very important that he is crossing over behind, so make those leg yields dramatic.

Flatwork for Showjumping

Shoulder in. This serves much the same function as the leg yield, and serves to get the horse using his quarters even more.

Five to ten meter circles. It sounds simple, but a tight, ten meter circle ridden in a collected pace and – most importantly – turning from the legs and not the hands is a surefire test to see whether a horse is able to push from his quarters, or if he’d rather just drag himself along in front. I like to do my circles around a jump to keep the size and shape nice and tight, and to offer some direction. Circles should be ridden one at a time so the horse can really push off his quarters without becoming too tired. Ride forward out of the circle, and lengthen the stride a little to allow him to stretch.

Canter transitions. Whether it’s from halt, walk or trot, a good, upward canter transition is a great way to spice up a horse’s quarters. Do as many canter transitions as possible from all gaits – even try some simple and flying changes if your horse is at the correct level. All of this will get him working properly behind, and moving forward off the leg.

Flatwork for Showjumping

Rein backs. The rein back is an invaluable tool to any showjumper, as it instantly engages the horse’s quarters. Many showjumpers, myself included, will rein back at the sound of their bell before beginning a course to get the horse back on its hocks, and ready to jump!

Next time you jump your horse, give him a proper warm up. Take the time to loosen him up correctly and get him really working behind, and you will see the difference in the quality of his canter, and the quality of his jump.

Happy flatwork, showjumpers!

Flatwork for Showjumping
Horse News More In This Category:  Horse Training      Horse News More From This Author:  Polo the Weirdo
Polo the Weirdo  MOD 
All you showjumpers out there, check this out. How do you warm up your jumping horse in order to get the best performance?
  55 days ago  •  16,954 views
 More News by Polo the Weirdo
Baby Horse Diaries - If Baby Horses Could Name Things
28th Sep 2019   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
If you’ve ever owned, trained, or otherwise interacted with a baby horse, you will know that sometimes they just seem to see the world differently to us. Whether it’s the shallow rain puddle that’s clearly hiding sharks, or the in ...
Baby Horse Diaries - Sass Levels Reach All Time High
7th Jul 2019   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
This is not fake news. Our sources have confirmed that Baby Niro displayed excessively high levels of sass recently when being ridden in the arena after a week off work. Witnesses report high levels of head tossing and neck flicki ...
Baby Horse Diaries - Starter Kit
16th Jun 2019   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
So you just bought yourself a baby horse? I bet you’re wondering what you’ll need to help you in this new chapter of your life! Well never fear, Baby Horse Diaries is here to answer all of your questions. To create your own Baby H ...
Baby Horse Diaries - Playtime (AKA the Hunger Games)
9th Jun 2019   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
Baby horses, like most babies, are curious, energetic and playful beings that constantly seek out new means of entertainment. In fact, one of the most fun things about having a baby horse is all the wonderful new games that you ge ...
Baby Horse Diaries - Energy Levels
3rd Jun 2019   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
Here is my top 10 SECRET list of master plans for dealing with excess energy in horses. ...
Baby Horse Diaries - Baby Horses Are Stupid
26th May 2019   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
Baby horses are really neat. When you get them they are stupid. You know they’re stupid, any rational human being can expect them to be stupid, and they don’t know they’re stupid because they don’t know anything. Because they’re s ...
Baby Horse Diaries - Meet The Babies
19th May 2019   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
Today I would like to introduce the stars of our series, VanRee De Niro (Baby Niro), and Little Miss Sunshine (Baby Sunny). ...
Baby Horse Diaries Introduction
12th May 2019   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
Some of you might remember that about 8 years ago I created a series on Ponybox documenting my progress in retraining a young Thoroughbred racehorse, Moonfire, for his eventing career. Those of you who continued to follow my (admi ...
  View All News by Polo the Weirdo
©2002 - 2019   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
468 Members Online 253,145 Registered Members 2,618 News Articles 11,077,954 Unique News Article Views 259,054,675 Website Views