I’ve heard a lot of ammies say that one of their big concerns at a horse show is remembering the course. Naturally, no one wants to go off course and be eliminated. But it doesn’t have to be a source of angst! Here are a few tips to help you remember your next jumper course.
Tip 1: Don’t think of the jumps individually, but instead as part of certain configurations. And there are a limited number of configurations. Most of the time, your course will consist of a mix of the following elements:
- Bending line
- End jump
When you group the jumps together like that, suddenly you aren’t thinking about every single jump, you’re thinking about many fewer elements.
Tip 2: The goal is to go from one end of the ring to another. You will not be endlessly circling around one end of the ring for 13 jumps. The overarching track will take you from one end of the ring to another multiple times.
Tip 3: Let your oxers be your guide. You will never be jumping an oxer backwards, so if you’re looking at your course, seeing which way the oxers are set can help show you which jump might be next.
Tip 4: Learn your jumpoff as part of your course. Don’t think of it as two separate courses. Even if you get to take a breather before the jumpoff, think of it as continuing your course rather than starting a whole new one.
Tip 5: Walk the course multiple times. The first time to get the striding in any lines and start cementing the course in your mind. The second time to think about strategy- where can I make an inside turn? Where will I need extra outside leg because we’re going by the ingate and NO WE’RE NOT DONE YET STAY IN THE RING PLS. Where are my “breathing spots” to reset while on course?
Tip 6: Learn one course at a time. Don’t worry about your third course of the day before you’ve ridden your first. Once you leave the ring, go ahead and start thinking about your next course. But one thing at a time.
Here’s your cliffnotes:
- Group the jumps into elements
- Get from one end of the ring to the other
- Look at your oxers
- Learn your jumpoff as part of your course
- Walk the course multiple times
- Learn one course at a time
What techniques do you use to remember your courses in the jumper ring?