Groundwork is important!

To be a successful equestrian show jumper, all the groundwork has to be in place, before you can teach a horse to jump.

Horse jumping problem –


My horse jumps flat over fences!

A horse that is picking up speed on approach to a fence will flatten, rather than bascule over the jump.

His head will be high and back hallowed, instead of a nice rounded shape,is liable to hit fences down with his back legs.

The horse that approaches a fence quickly and stands off is liable to hit fences down with his back legs.

If a horse is long and flat approaching a fence, he is said to be on the forehand and will develop a flat jump, like a racing horse. 

This type of horse is lacking in flatwork training.

Go back to basics and spend more time on the flat working in circles, lots of turns and transitions in order to make the horse athletic and supple.

The horse is lacking rhythm, balance and impulsion from behind.

The horse needs more schooling and I would start with basic grid work.

The problem lies with lack of knowledge.

There are some many people who have little knowledge and understanding of flatwork and are unaware, that it is the foundation of training, for the show jumper.

Many people find flatwork boring, and get frustrated at how long it can take to achieve something.

Yes, it is all about repetition and setting yourself small goals to achieve.

If you are dedicated, all the hours spent training, will pay off. When it comes to training, you cannot cut corners.

Some horses will progress quicker than others will.


Basic Gridwork

Use trotting poles and canter poles on approach to a fence to ensure that the horse takes a stride, not take a stride out.

For safety reasons I always use planks not poles on approach to a fence. I have known horses to land on the poles, instead of in between them, which could be quite dangerous.

Use canter poles, before and after a jump, to get the horse thinking.

When you set up a double, place a plank in the canter of the double.

Again, this will get him to think more and prevent him making up too much ground.


A horse can also jump flat if the rider hangs onto the reins going over a fence or gets left behind.

This rider is in a good position, giving the horse freedom over the fence.

If the rider continues to catch the horse in the mouth, he will eventually be reluctant to jump, associating jumping with pain.

The horse needs freedom to stretch his head and neck.

If you are left behind when jumping, slip the reins (let them slide through your fingers.)

You can adjust the reins on landing. This is a common problem when a rider is learning to jump.

Groundwork and show jumping go hand in hand!




Scroll down from groundwork training for more information on training jumper.

Jump training


Groundwork > > Home

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