Dante’s Diaries – Jumping

Recently Orla came down to take a few video’s of what we had hoped to be a jumping session with Dante but unfortunately due to my lack of confidence with his jumping it didn’t go that way! Looking back at the videos she did take of the few jumps we went over, Dante was doing nothing wrong!!  I was out of my comfort zone, I didn’t know his strides or I couldn’t anticipate him to make out how he was going to approach the jumps!

I will admit, I do need to start doing more pole work & canter poles with him to get myself used to feeling his stride, and for him to learn not to rush into every fence that he can see! The last few weeks I have been focusing a lot on his flat work, his basics in walk trot & canter getting him moving forward and being responsive to my aids, with that in mind I think it is finally time to step it up a notch.


When I am on my own, I tend to tense up quite a bit and drop my shoulder on my approach to fences, often letting go of the contact to soon cause Dante to loose balance and to get sloppy. I think it is more of a case, that I haven’t grasped him yet when it comes to jumping, So with that in mind I thought it was best to get a lesson and finally put everything at ease and get on with what me & him really love to do, JUMP! 

Like most jumping lessons, you go in you warm up on both reins, and get straight down to business, this is exactly what we did!! Dante was on his toes, but in a very good way!! 

I popped over a few single fences to begin with, and my instructor was quick to point out that 2-3 strides out from the fence I tend to drop the contact, and lean slightly forward on approach like I mentioned above!  I could feel myself doing it out of habit at this stage! I haven’t jumped in so long, getting myself used to doing it properly again was going to take some time, especially with a green horse underneath me that feels like an octopus, legs going everywhere!! 


We tackled a grid!! Yes, anyone who has seen Dante previously will know how longgg and exaggerated his stride can be but he has drastically improved!! So, the grid was set up with 3 trot poles on approach, a straight fence with one stride in between finishing with another straight fence. Ground poles were laid out in between fences to assist Dante to see his stride (It really did help!) Approaching the grid, I really did have to hold him and make sure not to drop that contact, it was my only sense of control over him barging forward! He can be quite the difficult horse to try hold together whilst trying to keep him moving, he tends to break down from the canter if strong leg is not used whilst I do try to hold him back!

The more we jumped the more excited he got, there were a few times where I would approach the fence and circle him away just so he wouldn’t try to take off, a few times I even trotted him in and brought him to a complete halt in front of the trot poles just so he would start to realise that rushing wasn’t the answer. 

Tip: Keep their minds thinking all the time, if you are jumping and feel that your horse is anticipating the fences, or beginning to rush off on you, change the exercise for 5 minutes, do 2-3 20 meter circles in trot and get them listening to you again before approaching the fencesagain.


As we continued on, towards the end of the session he started to veer towards the right of the second fence as it was turned into a spread with a bit more height on it, so we placed V poles up to assist him with his straightness, it helped but needless to say he started to jump the fence a foot higher than it already was!!

Finishing up, we set up a single fence in the center of the arena with a canter pole before it, this was more so to assist myself in holding him right up until the last stride. At the moment with Dante I don’t really need to get into a full blown jumping position, regardless of the height of the fence sitting still and quiet seems to be the best way for him while jumping, if i start to do anything else like throw myself forward into any sort of exaggerated jumping position he turns into slush and starts to fall all over the place!

I myself have a lot to work on with my jumping, remembering to sit up tall in between fences is a major one and trying not to drop the contact whilst holding him into fences, With him being a baby, and still quite unbalanced  & green I can really see how much he relies on me for certain things! 

Besides everything. Dante has really come along in his jumping, I am delighted with him and his progress! 

It was a lesson I really needed, as I felt I kind of got nervous on him when I tried to jump him by myself, partly because I really didn’t have much direction and I didn’t want to do anything to set him back a few steps. It is safe to say my confidence levels are back up, I am finally getting used to his new set of quirks now that there are fences involved!! 

Over the weekend, I set up few fences for us, and to say we both enjoyed it was an understatement, have a look below! 


Hope you enjoyed! I will definitely be keeping you all up to date on our jumping, head over to our Instagram account for even more videos & pics!!



2 thoughts on “Dante’s Diaries – Jumping

  1. It sounds like Dante is quite the Jumper! I ride an OTTB with a long stride and he tends to take the jumps long and high as well so he doesn’t catch his feet. We had a bit of a scare over the winter where we were coming in to slow and we almost somersaulted over a jump. (We luckily caught each other). Since then I’ve been building my confidence on him and have been counting our strides over cavaletti. Confidence. It really does make a huge difference.

    1. Confidence plays a huge part!!! Dante & I have had really bad falls were we had both fallen, and both walked away unharmed! I have been spending a lot of time on his flatwork, getting him slightly more balanced and it seems to be paying off!! Slow & Steady is really the key with him

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