Chris Burton - counting strides | An Eventful Life

Chris Burton - counting strides

View our video reports from other training clinics with Chris Burton;

Improving control on cross country   Skinny fences and curving lines require good control of the horse by the rider but first you need to test your brakes. See what Chris Burton suggests in this training video

Jumping ditches and angling fences   Introducing horses to ditches and how to approach an angled fence - some top tips from Chris Burton

Drop fences, water jumps and apexes - see how to approach each one and then put them all together in cross country training with Chris Burton



Everyone knows that verbally counting strides out loud can help focus your mind and therefore your horse as you approach a fence but Chris Burton took the concept a little further in a recent clinic in Canberra to produce a simple but effective warm-up exercise.

On most occasions, the rider counts upwards as they near the approach of a fence i.e. one, two, three – but Chris reversed the process to count down towards the fence i.e. three, two, one. Simple, especially over a very small log on a flat, straight track on cross country

However, although the riders started counting only a few strides before the log initially, the aim was to work up to counting down eight or nine strides before the log. This obviously is more difficult and requires a good eye for a stride but, as they say, practise makes perfect and by working backwards, the riders soon got the swing of things as they kept increasing the distance to the log

Although this was done on the cross country course at Canberra, Chris pointed out that this is an exercise that can be easily practised at home with a pole on the ground, either in an arena or paddock

Once they had mastered the exercise Chris moved them on to tackling more fences on the cross country and suggested that they now returned to counting upwards as counting backwards when you’re actually on course can result in getting fixated on ‘one’ – the take-off stride

“I count all the time to help me ‘see’ a rhythm, towards a big galloping fence, I’ll be counting all the time, one-two- three, looking to see a distance and then suddenly, there it is, seven strides to the fence”