Alex Robinson is a WHTG member who has taken advantage of the club’s training fund to improve her jumping, with the aim of increasing her PTV scores. If you are a WHTG member under 21 and want some help with training costs, please have a look at the details here.
Below is Alex’s report of a cross country lesson at Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre:
The aim of the lesson was to improve the impulsion of Warrior between jumps.
To start, I warmed up by getting a forward, controlled walk. To do this, I used transitions between halt and walk to improve control, and using my legs to push him forwards. Once I had achieved this I then worked on rhythm and impulsion, using my aids to keep him steady and not running, yet still having the impulsion there.
After working on walk and trot, I then went into canter and practiced my forward seat, and keeping the canter going while in forward seat.
Once warmed up, we then jumped a small fence. On my first approach, I was pushing on before the jump, but stopped pushing on a few strides from the jump, causing Warrior to lose the impulsion. Therefore, on my second approach, I sat quietly on the approach until I was a few strides from the jump, when I pushed on, meaning that Warrior had the impulsion necessary to jump the fence.
After this, we then moved on to a roll top. The impulsion was much better at this fence, and we cleared it with ease. After this, we then did the roll top to a trakehner that was downhill. However, after the roll top, we had a good approach to the trakehner, but Warrior refused at the fence. After re-approaching the fence, he stopped again. This continued a few times, with me adjusting my approach each time. After 4 refusals, he jumped the fence. After jumping it, we then circled and jumped it again.
A third jump was then added, and we cleared this combination with ease.
Next, we moved on to the ditch. I first approached it in trot, and Warrior slowed down to have a look at it. He did jump it first time, and we then came around and jumped it in canter.
After the ditch, we then went on to another trakehner. The approach was slightly downhill and the exit, slightly uphill. On the approach, I could feel Warrior backing off the jump, but I pushed him on and we cleared it nicely.
We then went on to the step. We first did it as a step up, then as a step down in walk first, then in trot. Both up and down, he had good impulsion, but he probably could have had more going up the step. After doing the step down, we then did the step down again, followed by a fence. The first time, my line to the fence from the step wasn’t great, and Warrior was lacking in impulsion, but we still cleared the fence. We then circled and did the combination again, with a better line and impulsion.
We then jumped a course involving various fences that we had already jumped, and some others, such as the ditch, trakehners and roll top. The impulsion was great throughout the course, and we still had impulsion between fences.
After the course, we jumped a hedge going uphill, so I had to push on to keep the impulsion. We then jumped another hedge leading to the first hedge, with a good steady canter, and plenty of impulsion.
Finally, we went to the water complex, and did various steps in and out of the water. Warrior kept the energy through the water and was calm throughout.
Overall, I feel that the aim of the lesson was achieved, and that despite the earlier problems, we definitely did improve on impulsion through the lesson.
At a TREC competition the following weekend Warrior jumped both the palisade and the path crossing on the first attempt, although our style over the palisade wasn’t great and reflected in the style mark of “0”.