How To Ride Steps Effectively

Going Up!

Bill Levett

It’s quite hard for a horse to jump up steps, particularly if you are going too fast. So take your time to get organised before jumping up a step or set of steps. Get the horse back into a balanced canter with its hind legs underneath it (think positive show jumping canter). Then ideally ride forward to a distance, keeping your eye focused on the lip of the first step.

Resist the temptation to look at the bottom of the first step or the second (or other subsequent steps), you only need to worry about getting your horse effectively to the first step and to give yourself the best chance, focus on the lip of the first step.

If you cannot see the stride ‘coming up’ then keep holding in a balanced rhythm, resist the Bill Levetttemptation to go faster and make the canter flatter and more strung out. It’s better to keep holding to the bottom of the step(s) with impulsion and balance as the horse will be better placed to help you out if need be.

As you go up the steps keep your leg on to maintain impulsion and ensure you have petrol in the tank, and try to stay with the horse’s movement, legs wrapped around cuddling your horse and leaning forward with the movement.

Going Down!

Bill LevettThe good news is you don’t need to worry about seeing a stride! The most important thing again is to get the right speed and to be in control. Control is the key; you want to make sure the horse is listening to you and come back to a positive balanced canter.

Make sure you again have your legs close to the horse to encourage them if they hesitate and then try to stay in balance, leaning slightly back as you go down each step or steps.

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