Win More with Moore

Ros Canter perfectly demonstrates how to 'turn your head to indicate to the horse in advance as to the way of going after the fence'


Caroline Moore, famed for being the coach behind Ros Canter’s World Equestrian Games individual and team gold medals of 2018, shared 20 top tips at the recent ‘Four years to Four-star’ lecture demonstration at Wellington Riding, UK. 

Anna Bruce reports for An Eventful Life.


  1. Identify your training goals as training to learn, training to compete, and training to win; we anticipate that to train a horse to reach the 8/9 Year Old Championships he will have had to learn around 200 skills. So, for example, try not to reach this Championship and realise three weeks’ before that you haven’t taught your horse proper flying changes


  1. A single bridge of your reins helps keep your hands working in unison, preventing you from using one rein more than another which encourages the horse to resist, fight or go faster


  1. Try to train the horse to hold his line by riding with an even pressure on either side of the horse


  1. If a horse does resist, sit away from him but soften as soon as he yields


  1. If riding a spooky horse, train him that his eyes are not his own.  You should aim to position him just to look at the ground in front of him, relax, then reposition his vision as soon as he becomes distracted


  1. When approaching a fence or obstacle, allow the horse to have his head up and out with his eyes up


  1. Once on line to one obstacle, turn your head to indicate to the horse in advance as to the way of going after the fence, and allow the horse to judge his take off and find his way.  Your peripheral vision and feel will develop with practice but be careful not to lean your body as this will make the horse fall to that way – only turn your head, thus keeping your balance in the centre of the horse


  1. Horses don’t ‘miss’ their strides; rider’s ‘miss’ trying to seek perfection


  1. Learn to ride with longer reins to allow the horse to keep a relaxed neck so he has more chance of jumping a fence cleanly whether taking off from a deep or long stride.  A free neck helps develop a horse’s scope


  1. If turning in the air over a fence, consider ‘unfolding’ your body.  Turning in the air over a fence helps change the direction, without wasting strides trying to change direction on the ground


  1. When turning to a fence, ride the horse from your inside leg to outside rein, which can also allow counter flexion, such that you turn the horse’s withers first, rather than his nose leading the way.  If the horse’s nose leads the way he can ‘knife’ a turn, dropping his inside or outside shoulder and then not arrive balanced at the fence


  1. For combination fences on a turn, try not to close the canter for the first obstacle with the aim of then helping your turn to the next fence.  If you close the canter too much the horse will tend to expand his canter with too big a jump, and then you’ve lost control of the turn.  Come in with boldness and turn your head to the new jump and let your horse pick up the fence and sort his stride to it.  Train the horse as if the first fence is a brush in and a plank out


  1. If the horse lands in counter canter, work a quality counter canter around a turn rather than allowing a poor flying change


  1. For a young horse you should aim to have at least three straight strides before a fence but as the horse progresses this can be decreased


  1. Be disciplined to work the horse for 20-30 seconds after he has finished a line, or a course


  1. Use brush fences in training as the horse can get confident to ride to a big and/or narrow fence


  1. Use fences with no ground line to help the horse focus on the top of the fence and therefore become more careful


  1. In your warm up, if your horse tends to switch off or be on its forehand, ride it in a more uphill, punchy way, don’t follow the long, low tradition!


  1. If your horse is tight in the warm up for jumping, oxers or spreads can help loosen the back more effectively than upright fences


  1. In your warm up, a turn-back onto a fence helps remind the horse to get his hind leg under.