A question I find myself asking, especially going into a New Year is definitely how to improve my show jumping.
Show jumping in SA is a thrilling and challenging sport that requires a combination of skill, technique, and horsemanship. Now I am no professional nor am I competing in the top grades yet but if you're looking to improve your show jumping performance this year, here are five tips that I have found useful to help you on your way:
- Practice, practice, practice: The more time you spend in the saddle, the better you will become. Like in so many other sports consistency is key when it comes to improving your riding skills. Set aside time each week for regular practice, and focus on different aspects of your riding such as your position, balance, and accuracy. Make sure to practice different types of jumps, including oxers, verticals, and spreads, to improve your versatility and adaptability in the ring.
- Get to know your horse: Show jumping is a partnership between horse and rider, so it's essential to understand your horse's strengths and weaknesses. Take the time to learn your horse's jumping style and preferences, and work together to improve your performance. Get to know your horse's personality and work ethic, as well as their physical capabilities. This will help you with both training and competing in a way that best suits your horse's individual needs.
- Work on your fitness: Show jumping requires a high level of fitness and endurance, so make sure to include regular exercise in your training regimen for both you and your horse. This will help you to improve your stamina, balance, and overall riding ability. Whether it's running, cycling, or weightlifting, find an exercise routine that works for you and stick to it. Additionally, try to include some yoga or stretching exercises to help improve your flexibility, which will in turn improve your balance and control in the saddle.
- Master the basics: Before you start working on more advanced jumping techniques, make sure you have a solid foundation in the basics of riding. This includes things like proper posture, horse control, and jumping techniques. Take regular lessons with a qualified instructor to help you improve your skills and technique. A good instructor will be able to identify and correct any bad habits you may have developed, and help you to improve your overall riding abilities.
- Stay positive and confident: Showjumping can be a challenging sport, and it's easy to get discouraged. To improve your performance, it's important to stay positive and confident in your abilities. Believe in yourself and your horse, and focus on having fun and enjoying the experience. Try to stay calm and composed during competitions, even if things don't go as planned. Remember that mistakes happen, and the key is to learn from them and move forward. I know sometimes this seems easier said than done but it is a key factor in your overall riding experience.
- Keep Up with the latest trends and techniques: Show jumping is an ever-evolving sport, and it's important to keep up with the latest trends and techniques. Read riding magazines, attend clinics and seminars, and watch videos of top riders and competitions to learn from the best. This will help you to stay current with the latest styles and techniques.
In conclusion, Show jumping is a sport that requires a lot of dedication and hard work, but with the right approach and a little patience, you can improve your performance and enjoy a successful show jumping career. By following these tips, you can work on your technique, get to know your horse, and stay positive and confident. Remember that practice and determination are key to success, and with time and effort, you can achieve your goals.