Equitation Over Fences Analysis

In Part 1 of this horse-training series, maneuver through an equitation over fences course with two AQHA Professional Horsewomen.

At the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show, AQHA Professional Horsewomen Linda Crothers of Mocksville, North Carolina, and Cindy Reddish of Palm City, Florida, gave a Nutrena Ride the Pattern clinic on the equitation over fences prelims pattern, also touching on hunt seat equitation.

With Linda riding to demonstrate and Cindy holding the pattern in her hand, the two pros talked back and forth on strategies for the course, and what follows are the highlights of the strategies they discussed. Come back next week for Part 2, where the two horsewomen discuss the use of rollback turns and trot jump strategy in this pattern.

Bending Lines

“The first line in this equitation over fences prelims pattern is a bending line,” Cindy says. “When I have my students do a bending line, I have them angle both fences slightly so that the line (you ride) is straight.

Before you soar over the jumps on your American Quarter Horse, educate yourself on how his conformation could affect his performance. With AQHA’s Form to Function report, you’ll discover your horse’s conformation flaws and how they might impact his ability to perform during your horse-training sessions. Download the report today so you can become an expert on your horse’s conformation!

“So you would angle the first fence slightly as you come to it, which means you are going to ride deeper into the corner (on the approach), and then slightly angle the second fence.

“If you ride from jump to jump in a straight line, to me, that ends up with the smoothest line in your course. You meet both fences at a slight angle, and ride a very straight line.”

Linda demonstrates what not to do, taking the first jump straight, and turning to the second jump. She critiques herself:

“There was an added half stride in that line. I jumped (the first jump) straight and all of a sudden, there’s a jump!”

“Not only are you startling yourself, you are startling your horse because you don’t have him pointed directly at the fence,” Cindy says. “All of a sudden, you are turning at the end.”

Linda takes the line again, riding deeper into the corner to take the straightest line she can from the first to the second jump: “My horse should be bent a little to the inside.”

“Notice that her eyes are straight ahead, looking over, all the way up to the second fence as she’s meeting her first fence,” Cindy says.

“I allowed my horse to drift a little to the left (between the fences) because I saw the line that I was on was going to be the inside track and too short, so I allowed him to fade a little to the left to fit that jump in, still jumping on the same angle,” Linda says.

Equitation over fences can be a physically demanding experience for your Quarter Horse. But with AQHA’s Form to Function report, you can learn your horse’s conformation strengths and weaknesses, which will allow you to tailor a horse-training regimen accordingly. Download the report today so you can train your horse in a way that’ll benefit his build the most.

That shows a benefit of bending lines, Cindy says:

“That’s why bending lines are actually a little easier to fit your line into because you can move a little bit one way or the other to fit a stride in without having to pull on your horse.”

Join us next week for Part 2 of the series, and you’ll be jumping a pretty pattern in no time.