Train with Caroline Moore

British Eventing Master Coach Caroline Moore runs through some of her favourite exercises with the help of Jump 4 Joy fences. 

The warm-up 

Set up: four trotting poles going across the middle of the arena and, using four cavaletti fences, make two bounces on a curving line.
I do these exercises with all horses before jumping.Start in trot and work over the trotting poles on both reins.This is great for loosening the horse’s back and tightening their core. The rider must stay disciplined to trot accurately in the middle of the poles, so it’s good for getting the rider ready. Focus on the turn to the poles, keeping the horse moving around your inside leg and controlled with the outside rein. Aim to keep the trot the same and level over the poles.

Follow this in canter over the two bounce caveletti fences on a curving line.

Keep the canter active and sit up tall to help your balance. As you approach the first bounce, make sure you’re looking at the second bounce and allow the horse to take responsibility for the jump – this teaches the rider to focus on the direction they are riding and not the fences.

Exercise one 

Set up: put two raised narrow (90cm) poles approximately six strides apart in a straight line. Using two poles, at each end create an entrance and exit tunnel to ride through before and after going over the raised poles.
1. Canter between the entrance poles, over the raised poles and through the exit poles the other end. Repeat on both reins.
2. Change the second raised pole to a small upright fence.
3. After jumping the straight upright, give the fence an angle.
4. Switch the angle of the upright and repeat the exercise.

The entrance and exit poles help to train the horse and rider to make a proper turn after a fence, which is a great exercise for every level; all course designers will test combinations on being able to land on the correct lead and make a turn away from a fence, which is what the guide poles are designed to do.

This exercise helps to teach the horse and rider to have a partnership between hand and leg – you want to create a ‘wall’ to tunnel the horse down.

When you add an angle to a fence, it changes the look for the rider, but you should ignore the fence and imagine you are jumping the pole you did in step one. An angled fence can tend to move the horse off the line and cause it to drift away, so this exercise with the poles out will encourage the horse to stay straight.

Exercise two 

Set up: a bounce of cavaletti fences, three strides to an oxer, three strides to another bounce of cavaletti fences on a curving line.
Follow the pattern as shown in the diagram, turn in over the bounces and make a change of direction, then follow the curving line over the oxer (the turning fence), then keep the line to bounce out and change direction over the second bounce.

This exercise teaches how to ride a change of direction and is useful for both show jumping and cross country. The rider has to steer during the three turning strides over the oxer – the take-off, mid-flight and landing stride. It helps to educate the rider to always look ahead to their next fence and the horse how to follow the rider’s eye and be ambidextrous. It’s great for developing suppleness and can be adapted for all levels of rider by adjusting the height.

  • To build up to changing the oxer to a corner, add a flag to the middle of the oxer and repeat the exercise.
  • Once you’re both confident jumping this, change the oxer to a corner fence.

A corner fence can make it difficult to stay on the line in a combination. This exercise, with an element to jump afterwards, helps to train horse and rider to stay on their line as you are always keeping your eye on the next fence.

Exercise three 

Set up: swap the bounce fences for one narrow fence in and out.
This is quite an advanced exercise, but by keeping the height low it’s suitable for all levels. This is now a real cross country exercise – repeat the pattern from exercise two, remembering to make a good turn into the first element, but always be looking ahead to your next fence.
You can also adapt this exercise and swap the corner for a shoulder brush.

This is a great training tool as it really makes the rider be disciplined on their line. If you are just half a foot off then you will either be running out or faced with the highest part of the fence. Remember that what you have learnt in exercise one and two has helped you build up to this.

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Caroline uses Jump 4 Joy’s extensive range of show jumping and simulated cross country fences, which can be used in a field or arena so you can practise all year round.The cross country range offers everything from skinnies and shoulder brushes, to Gatling guns and arrowheads. When it comes to grid and polework, nothing beats the cavaletti for perfecting gymnastic exercises, balance and technique. Jump 4 Joy’s cavaletti are now available with the latest octagonal pole designs.