Improve your technique.
Jumping fences at an angle tests:
a) the rider's ability to put their horse on a specific line and tackle whatever obstacle they meet ie the rider's control is being tested
b) the obedience of the horse
c) helps improve your horse's technique
You can keep the fences small when teaching your horse new approaches.
The first time you ask your horse to jump on an angle just use one fence - do not confuse the horse by jumping as normal down a grid and then suddenly asking the horse to jump one of the fences on an angle. This is because your horse may well be confused and think he is supposed to be jumping all the fences - the end result could be that he stops or rushes to try to jump everything.
Before you jump a fence on the angle your horse should be a confident jumper. You do not need to tackle big fences but it is important that your instructions to the horse are clear.
Look for your line and don't make the angle too severe. You want your horse to go precisely where you put him - so your aids must be spot on. Think of your legs and hands forming a channel along which your horse is travelling.
You must remember to look where you are going - do not look down at the jump!
Remember to jump fences from an angle, riding off both reins, so that your horse can cope equally well, whether coming in from the right or left rein.
Once you are used to jumping on an angle you can vary things a little. Here the angle of the jump is the same but we aimed for the white bar on the pole rather than the middle coloured bar as in the picture above.
Once you have mastered jumping single fences from an angle you can incorporate this type of jumping into grid work - so jump the first fence from an angle, then come around to jump the second fence from the other rein and at a different angle and so on.
Jumping on angles can help to sharpen a horse's reactions and will help horses that are not very sharp in front. Once you have jumped a grid at the angle jump the grid in the normal straight way and check whether your horse's jumping technique has improved.
For lots more related JUMPING articles and great tips helping you improve your jumping technique
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