EVERY RIDER WHO JUMPS dreads a stop, or refusal, on course. No matter how forward you ride to the jump you and your horse are approaching, sometimes your mount slams on the brakes at the base of the fence. On course, a stop and a runout earn penalties according to the USEF. Whether on the cross-country course or in the arena, multiple

refusals mean elimination. Three trainers give sound advice on how to handle

this dreaded four-letter word, both when schooling and in the show ring.

By Charlene Strickland

● Ryan Wood: It’s all about Confidence Based at Woodstock Eventing in West Grove, Pennsylvania, Ryan Wood trains horses, has competed frequently at the three- and four-star levels and is a popular coach. He is a native of Australia and moved to the United States in 2008. Ryan empha-

Ryan Wood and Fernhill Classic at the 2017 Rolex Kentucky 4-star event.

sizes confi- dence. “If I get a horse confi- dent at home, he shouldn’t doubt me at a competi- tion,” he says, then describes how he schools horses in a progression. “Get the horse

warmed up and confident on any basic lower jump before moving on to a bigger or more technical fence,” he explains. “For example, when cross-country schooling a water jump, I walk them through the water and get them confident before I ask them to jump into or out of water.” To prepare horses for an event, he changes the look of his schooling fences to avoid ever getting a jumping penalty cross-country. “A cross-country jump will be more impressive at the event. With flowers and fresh paint, they have that extra impressive look about them. Often I will dress the jumps up at home. I make things a little bit different so they still learn to go to the jump, so they see the decorations and go over.” If a horse does stop cross-country, “Think about why he

stopped. Usually either the horse was underprepared before going to the show, or it was rider error. If the rider rode the line wrong, or they are not riding forward enough, identify why that happened,” he says. “You always want to train a horse to be confident in what you ask him to do and jump whatever he’s pointed at, even if

 All photos by Charlene Strickland except photo above of Ryan Wood.

he can’t see the landing side,” he explains. Riders should take care to enter their horses at an appropriate level to make sure that confidence isn’t threatened, he adds. What if the horse stops more than once or runs out? “Have

a long hard look at what went wrong,” advises Ryan. “Was the horse underprepared, or was it having him run at a level above what he should have been going. Or did the rider set out on the course and was riding too backward?” With students, Ryan aims to identify what happened. “It

shouldn’t be that they entered the wrong level, but if it did happen, what was the way they rode that particular jump or how they set out on course. A common thing we see if things don’t go according to plan, is that people make excuses. Nine times out of ten it’s a result of how it was ridden.” “I always like to have my horses very well prepared before

taking them to a show, and avoid putting them into a situa- tion they are not confident in,” Ryan says to sum his thoughts up. “Therefore, they’re never getting a stop or runout at a competition.”

● Peter Petschenig: Quiet Persistence Originally from Austria, Peter has extensive experience train-

ing and showing in Europe. He now trains in Pilot Point, Texas, at Petschenig Show Jumping. “There are different scenarios why horses stop. To find that out in the first place is very important. Based on that you have to choose the way to approach the prob- lem,” Peter says. “If our horses do not

want to go to the other side, there is nothing you can do. You cannot jump around,

Trainer Peter Petschenig on Saint Quentin (Quidam de Revel x Jasper), HITS Desert Circuit VIII, Thermal Califor- nia, March 2016.

Warmbloods Today 27

Photo by Sarah Miller/MacMillan Photography

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