Second, we will learn to find the correct take off point for that particular horse. The most common rule of thumb in finding a take off point in jumping is that almost all horses will come into the center base of the fence and plant their hind feet somewhere between 3` and 6`. If you take either Athletic Field Chalk or Florescent Spray paint, mark out a section 3` to 6` in a 3` box dead center before the fence. Start always with a cross rail set at 2` high. Remember that the higher the fence, the closer the horse will want to come towards the base of the fence. So with a small 2` fence, the horse will quite possibly take off right at 6` away (be prepared for the horse to try and take off sooner in some instances!). On the opposite side of the arena, mark out a box at center of the fence, again 3` to 6` that is 3` wide, on a 2` vertical.
Now, begin setting your speed and impulsion to very medium, and steady and easy going. Should be about a 11` stride for a 16.2 hand + horse. Canter the track of the arena a few times, passing the fences on your inside shoulder. When you feel like you have the speed, pace, impulsion under control; then go on track and begin the fences, watching to see where your horse places his hind feet. Jump both jumps, then bring the horse back to a walk and go and view your "boxes" and see the hoof prints.
Now, practice this exercise for a week, and next week we will discuss what changes as we raise the fence or change the style.
Next week we will discuss finding the correct take off point before each fence.
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