“Could you give me some advice on a youngster please? He’s 6 but he’s still green and charges at the jumps. Every time I try to slow him down he still runs at them. What’s the best way to get him to approach the jump more slowly?”
Oliver answers: You need to focus completely on the rhythm and maintaining that rhythm to the jump – don’t even look for a stride. You must remain completely quiet in the saddle as well, and just keep coming back and forward over a cross pole until he settles and realises that nothing will change and there is nothing to worry about.
Another good exercise is putting poles on the ground, three in a row with four horse strides between each one. Come down to them in a good rhythm again, sometimes doing four strides between, sometimes three, sometimes five. You can even place them on a long side of the arena and then do serpentines on the way up and then come slowly down. It’s a good way to teach stride control without punishing the horse with a fence.
I hope it goes well for you and good luck for the rest of the season.