Determine what task is being asked of
you and your horse and then make a plan
about exactly how you are going to prepare
yourself and your horse to perform successfully.
A task can be as simple as turning a corner
or as difficult as jumping a course. Each
situation requires that you plan and direct
the performance of your horse.
Answer the following question before
“Where am I?”
(in relation to the task)
“Where am I going?”
(to perform the task)
“What am I going to do?”
(when I get there)
“What kind of horse do I need?”
(energy forward, length of stride, rhythm,
“How am I going to get there?”
(what direction and track is best?)
“What should I do when I get
away?” (after the test)
“Where am I going next?”...
and then repeat from the top.
A Hunter Course
The course designer sets out 8 or 9 obstacles
which are related by track direction, distance,
time and height. The rider must get through
all selected elements in order, to finish
and be judged for ribbon placement.
Although the course seems to be one large
task, each part must be ridden separately.
This includes proper corners, straight lines
to the jumps and the jumps themselves. During
the ride, the rider must continually make
adjustments while maintaining balance, length
of stride, rhythm, and correct order of
- Fix your plan firmly in
your mind. This way you have answered
and solved 80% of the ride in advance
and can concentrate on the final adjustment(s),
necessary while on course.
- Once you have set up your horse for
the task ahead... be pro-active!
This means you must maintain your horse’s
way of going and correct problems as they
begin… any changes to your plan
must be corrected before they become a
problem. The instant you feel change in
the horse or if it does not respond to
your commands, you must act quickly to
regain your desired performance. Remember...
the problems intensify dramatically as
you get closer to your task. The smart
rider can make problems seem as if they
don’t exist by working quickly and
efficiently without losing the rhythm
and balance while on course. The judges
will award higher standing in the ribbons
for good horsemanship.
I look forward to your comments and suggestions
about this or any item on our site. “Ask
the Pro” is an easy
way to get important information about your
ride or any aspect of the horse world.