How to walk a show jumping course:

[dropcap style=”font-size: 70px; color: #052b51; font-family: ‘Droid Serif’, Arial, sans-serif;”] W [/dropcap] ith the show season starting we thought now would be nice time to post a refresher on how to walk a show jumping track. These tips will also be helpful when Nicola or Christi are busy in another arena at the bigger shows. Walking your course is one of the most important elements of any show jumping competition.

Walk the course exactly as you plan to ride it. Walk to the middle of the fence and follow the exact line you will ride to the next jump. Plan the best route, count the strides and spot any potential distractions.

If you have a young or inexperienced horse, walk into the ring and look out for advertising banners, flowerpots, the judge’s box or spooky fences. It’s important to note what may take his focus away – but do not make this your focus! Simply be aware.

Once you have finished, stand in the middle or side of the arena and ride the course in your mind. Top athletes swear by visualisation. If it works for them then there is no doubt it will work for us!

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind:

  • Two human strides are equivalent to both the horse’s landing and take-off
  • Four human strides are the same as one average horse’s stride
  • A one-stride double will be around eight human strides
  • A two-stride double around 12 human strides
  • The height and type of each fence will affect any related distances — for example: the take off point is closer to a triple bar than an upright
  • If an arena’s surface is deep, then the distances will ride longer
  • Make a note of where the start and finish signs are!