Cross-Country Walking the Course

 

Cross-Country Walking the Course

World Equestrian Games – Cross-Country Walking the Course.

 

Important Things the Rider Looks for When Walking the Course:

  • The size, height and location of an obstacle are very important so the rider can decide on the way he will approach it so the horse can jump over it comfortably. It is also important to measure the strides coming up to them so the horse will not have to change stride during the approach. Coming up to close to an obstacle may scare the horse or make him hesitate which may and probably will be considered a refusal.
  • The type of terrain the course is set upon is very important to have a comfortable and safe ride. The rider must make a general recognizance and decide whether the horse’s shoes must be changed before the competition or not. Horse shoes are usually all alike, they are used to protect the hoof edges and give the horse a bit of traction on most any terrains. When a horse is involved in a serious competition like a cross country Olympic race it is important that the horse shoes it is wearing have the proper traction and are made to help the horse on his way through the course. Horseshoes with calkins attached to them are used when the ground is too soft or slippery. Calkins are pieces of metal which are part of the flat horse shoe that protrude downwards so they can sit into the ground and give the horse better traction without impending his ability to run or walk on other surfaces.
  • The position of the sun and general lighting when executing jumps in the open or within wooded areas are important very important to avoid hesitation or total refusal penalties. The rider must plan his approach in a way and direction that will not affect the horse’s eyesight. If staying out of the sun is impossible the rider should approach at a slower pace so the horse’s eyes have enough time to adjust to the changes.
  • With regards to the terrain, line, stride and approach the rider must plan ahead so he is ready to make any transition as he comes up to each different circumstance. Going uphill is not the same as going downhill or on flat land. Adjustments must be made not only to the horse’s speed and stride but also to the rider’s position and balance on the horse.

Lusitano-Cross-Country Walking the CourseThe rider knows his horse better than anyone else. He knows what the horse likes to do, what he doesn’t and what he is scared of so it is up to the rider to calculate all these odds and encourage and support his horse when he knows that they may have trouble anywhere during the executing of the course.
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