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Digital Subscriptions > Horse Illustrated > Jan 2020 > Baby Steps

Baby Steps

Introduce your horse to jumping using three simple steps.

Like many equestrians, you may dream of jumping your horse. The sensation of piloting your horse while he takes flight is like none other in riding. Simply put, it’s fun. Plus, the ability to calmly and safely hop over low obstacles can be part of a well-rounded horse’s schooling.

Unfortunately, too many horses are rushed into jumping, and as a result, they become tense and resistant. By starting slowly and establishing a solid foundation, your horse can learn to develop confidence in his own abilities and become a reliable partner over jumps.

STEP 1: FINESSE YOUR FLATWORK

Before you consider jumping, be sure that your horse is fully schooled in the principles of flatwork. First, he must walk, trot and canter at a consistent pace. Occasional half-halts are fine, but you shouldn’t feel compelled to hang on the reins to keep his speed in check. There’s a certain amount of “letting go” that’s necessary in jumping, and your horse should not surge forward the moment you soften the reins.

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