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In this issue Black Country Saddlers sponsored showrider, Jayne Ross provides adviceon perfecting your gallop in the ring.

Doyouride aShowHunter, ShowCob,Working HunterorRiding Horse? If so youwill be required to gallop in the ring at ashow.Youwill be asked to gallop in the go-round afterwalk,trotand canter with other competitors so preparation is key. Thegallop paceformsan essential aspect

of the marking criteria so it is very important thatyou get it right. Ihave judged and ridden several horses which havewonaclass with their gallop,soitcould be the differencebetween a winning placeorone halfwaydownthe line. To achieveacorrect gallop thatwillwowthe

judges,itisessential thatyou practiceathome beforeexpecting your horse to perform in the ring. When first teaching your horse to gallop,itisagood idea to ask him forafewstrides in the school first, whereitisaconfined space, in case he gets excited. This also helps the horse to comeback to youeasily, which is akey elementofthe gallop and provides confidence in an environmentthey areused to. Thejudge will be looking forapositivepace

whichmovesforward easily into an extension with aloweredhead and neck and then an obedienttransition back to the canter. It is crucial thatyour horse is offyour leg and reacts

to your aids forgallop.Practicing some‘onand back’ will help to sharpen him up and also improve the downwardstransition which should appear seamless

Jayne Ross shows howit's done. Photo by Julian Portch

and without anyinconsistencies in the contact. Onceyou have mastered the artoflengthening in

the school,practicegalloping in an open field where youwill be able to open your horse out more. If he is abit reluctanttogoforwards, ride with another horse because this usuallyworksatreat to help brighten them up.When practicing ask foralittle moreeach time,rather than flat out to begin with, because this will teach the horse to lengthen gradually. To ask forthe gallop,adopt aslightly forwardseat

(like youwould when cross countryriding) loosen the reins by pushing your hands forwardand ask him forwardwith asubtle leg aid.Whenmaking the downwardstransition sit up into aconventional position and drop deeper into the saddle and gradually bring the hands back to their usual position. Make sureyou practicethe gallop on both

reins as although it is usually the leftrein that youare asked to perform it on, younever know whatthe judge is going to ask youonthe day! It is also importanttomake sureyour tack fits

and allows freedom ofmovementfor your horse. Your showsaddle must be comfortable forboth

horse and rider and fitwell.The Black CountryClassic ShowSaddles Iusewere comfortable fromthe minute Isat in them andmademefeel completely athome. They also allowplenty of freedom of

movementwhich is so importantfor the showhorse in order thatthey canmovewell and have presencewhen in the ring. Goodluck withyour gallop! Formoreinformation contactBlack CountrySaddles on01543 578 243 or

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