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Tips to Get Perfect Strides in a Line With Your Horse

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Submitted by member: Alina

Getting perfect strides in the lines when the first jump is either long or deep… I am kind of struggling with this with my new horse. I had some bad experiences and fell off and now I am really worried when it comes to full courses.

Answer by Julie Winkel

My favorite exercise to get a feel for a horses stride and rhythm is to place two poles on the ground 72′ apart. While this distance is a normal 5 strides if you were jumping two jumps at approximately 3′ in height, it works out to be a nice 6 strides with an educated canter. The goal is to set the pace in the corner that you will need to maintain a consistent stride, then don’t step on the brake or gas as you approach the first rail. If you meet it in stride, just allow your horse to canter the pole by relaxing the feel on the reins. If he lands heavy, faster, slower, or crooked, fix it! That’s your job, then organize the strides until you arrive at the next pole and can allow him to canter it.  Your job is pace and track. Your horse’s job is the jump. Do your job and allow your horse to do his by not interfering!

If you meet the first pole a little quiet, then open your step immediately to compensate for lost ground. That way you will meet the next pole in stride. If you jump in a bit long, slow down immediately, that way you will meet the next pole in stride. Practice this exercise off both leads in both directions until you get a real sense of your horse’s stride length and rhythm. Jumping is quality flat work with some obstacles in the way.

If you practice this exercise until you get pretty consistent at fitting the correct strides in, you are training yourself to feel the rhythm and react if things are perfect without worrying about making a mistake that could cause a loss of confidence for you or your horse. Also this exercise doesn’t put wear and tear on your horse’s legs that jumping a ton of jumps would and helps you both focus on the basic fundamentals of riding.

Hope this helps and good luck!

Video Recommendation:

how to ride the perfect corner to set up a jump correctly on your horse

Making The Most Of Your Turns On Course
Team Glynn
As an ‘R’ rated judge, one of Hope Glynn’s pet peeves is witnessing riders who don’t use the corners on course to their full advantage. Setting up the proper track at the proper pace out of the turn is crucial to the subsequent outcome of that first fence or a line. Learn her strategies to consistently set yourself and your horse up for success coming out of a turn.
Running Time:  8 minutes and 16 seconds

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Julie Winkel

Julie Winkel has been a licensed Hunter, Equitation, Hunter Breeding and Jumper judge since 1984. She has officiated at prestigious events such as Devon, Harrisburg, Washington International, Capital Challenge, The Hampton Classic and Upperville Horse Shows. She has designed the courses and judged the ASPCA Maclay Finals, The USEF Medal Finals and The New England Equitation Finals.

For more information, visit her website:

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