|Showjumping at Highclere|
So whilst I haven't got a cat in hell's chance of getting anywhere near the World Equestrian Games, me and my trusty 16-year-old white charger do have our own 'road' to travel and every chance of making it to Highclere Castle Horse Trials 2010, even after 12 months away from the circuit and 5 months out of practice. I know it doesn't have quite the same glamour and buzz of WEG, but it does have the word "Castle" in the title!
This last weekend for us has been all about showjumping, my least favourite phase. In our first 'proper' jumping session we worked on a few exercises to instill balance and rhythm. Before jumping I always like to go for a good strong trot around the field a few times (about 1.5 miles). Some aerobic exercise helps to stretch all the muscle groups and warm up the joints, especially as he's getting a bit older.
After popping cross, oxer and uprights in warm up the first task is two simple uprights slightly off set side by side approximately 20m apart these are ridden on a circle. I then place two poles on the ground perpendicular to the fences 20m apart The idea here being you need to keep an even pace and rhythm over the two fences and ride inside the poles. I then set up an oxer in between the two fences and ride upright to oxer to upright, riding around the poles on the ground to me loops big enough to just need to think about stride length coming to each fence and just slightly offset to the oxer to practice straighten the approach and also jumping the oxer from an angle.
So that has all gone well, now all we need is a decent amount of rain to soften the ground so we can canter at home, instead of having to head off to the gallops. And as soon as we do have some softer ground at home we'll do a little cross-country schooling too.
That just leaves my wife to get my head in the picture when we get to Highclere......!