How to Prepare Your Horse for a Jumping Competition

How to Prepare Your Horse for a Jumping Competition

Showjumping is a popular equestrian sport, but it takes a lot of training and preparation to enter a competition safely. Competing can be dangerous if your horse is not well-trained and prepared to deal with crowds. If you want to compete in showjumping events, do these three things to train your horse so you can feel confident in your performance on any jumping course.

Train With Different Types of Jumps

There are many types of horse jumps. Horses tend to spook around unfamiliar objects, so if you want to make sure you can trust your mount in the jumping arena, it’s a good idea to introduce your horse to a variety of jumps. Start with a wing standard horse jump and work your way up to more challenging oxers and roll top jumps.

Desensitize Your Mount to Noise

Showjumping competitions are often crowded events so you need to make sure your horse is okay with noise. If a cheering crowd causes your mount to spook, you could be seriously hurt in an accident. Before you enter a competition, spend a lot of time in your home arena teaching your horse to stay calm around noise. Start with small noises that don’t bother your pet and move up to more distressing sounds. When your horse starts to get nervous around certain sounds, make sure to give plenty of praise and reassurance until the animal learns to stay calm around that noise.

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Set Realistic Goals

It’s easy to fantasize about becoming a champion showjumper, but this shouldn’t be your goal from the beginning. You can’t start out by entering prestigious competitions with complex courses. Learn to master small courses first so you hone your skills as a jumper. This also gives you a chance to accurately gauge your horse’s skills. You should never push your mount past its skill level because it could be dangerous to both you and the animal.

Entering a showjumping competition is a great way to challenge your skills as a rider, but you have to ensure your horse is prepared before you can safely tackle an event. You need to spend a lot of time training your mount to ensure you can both safely traverse a jumping course. Use these three habits to build a strong bond with your horse and and teach your horse how to handle the unfamiliar atmospheres of jumping arenas. With the proper preparation and training, you can help your horse become a talented jumper.