Tim Stockdale's Blog (31)

Make Good Riding Your Habit

Correct Fundamentals help you "do the right things right".

As a rider, you need to put the fundamentals in place so that the right things happen by habit. Good riders ride well, because their right habits are so ingrained into their philosophy and their thought processes that they do routine things without thinking.

Developing the correct habits is a bit like instilling good manners into children and teaching them to say "please" and "thank you". This can be quite…


Added by Tim Stockdale on November 20, 2009 at 10:00am — 1 Comment

A Safety Checklist for You and Your Horse

Always have in your mind that horses are unpredictable animals, not machines. Our familiarity can lead to taking liberties and accidents occurring.

How many of these practices are on your own safety list?

1. Always wear clothes and boots that are designed for riding.

2. ALWAYS wear a riding helmet that fits you correctly and complies with current standards.

3. If you are young, your horse is misbehaving, you are out of practice…


Added by Tim Stockdale on November 6, 2009 at 10:00am — 2 Comments

Focus First on the Welfare of Your Horse

Wherever I travel, I am asked questions about training the show jumper. It is very encouraging that so many riders are interested in furthering their education, and it is my hope that this series of training blogs will help everyone do just that.

Each week, I shall discuss a different aspect of training, referencing some of the most important points from my training books, but before I start specifically into training, let's talk about the welfare of your horse.



Added by Tim Stockdale on October 24, 2009 at 5:00pm — 1 Comment

My Top Tips: Part 4

Please enjoy these final tips. I hope they have been useful for you and your horse!

31. Don’t come in to the grid too fast in an effort to clear a bigger jump at the end of it. The secret is to maintain a rhythm throughout.

32. If you attack the first fence and then try to shorten the stride, you will confuse your horse and he will resist, and that may cost you a fence. Be disciplined in your approach to the first fence and establish the rhythm you want to…


Added by Tim Stockdale on October 9, 2009 at 10:00am — 1 Comment

My Top Tips: Part 3

Please enjoy tips 21-30. I'm a big fan of number 23!

21. Good technique isn’t just about what the horse does over the jump.

22. When jumping a combination, don’t ride into it with too much pace because your horse will learn to jump flat and run on the landing. Give him time to adjust his weight onto his hocks.

23. Canter, rhythm, line. Get it right every time.

24. The better the approach the better the chance of the horse jumping…


Added by Tim Stockdale on September 25, 2009 at 10:00am — 1 Comment

My Top Tips: Part Two

I hope these tips are helping everyone. Here are tips 11-20:

11. As a rider you too need to be warmed up. Through warming up you should release tight muscles. Warming up helps prevent stiffness and injury to both horse and rider.

12. It is important to get your horse’s body and his state of mind prepared for what you are going to ask him to do.

13. Get the basics right and you will have a firm foundation for jumping.

14. It is a…


Added by Tim Stockdale on September 18, 2009 at 9:00am — No Comments

My Top Tips: Part One

Hello Everyone!

My next few posts encompass an overview of some of my top tips. Some are easier said than done! The first ten...

1. All veterinary care is paramount – your horse is not going to perform to the best of his ability if he is not feeling great.

2. Horses are like people, they have weaker sides and stronger sets of muscles. Work on improving these weaknesses with the help of a physiotherapist.

3. Learn to recognize what your…


Added by Tim Stockdale on September 4, 2009 at 11:00am — 2 Comments

The Two "R's": Rushing and Refusing

A common problem that riders have is what we call "rushing". That is when the horse has misinterpreted the signals to the fence.

When you first present a horse to a fence he often stops, spooks, or runs away from it. The rider then puts his leg on and encourages the horse to go. The horse then misinterprets this instruction and attacks the fence. The horse feels that the rider is trying to encourage him to speed up at the fence and that in turn becomes…


Added by Tim Stockdale on August 21, 2009 at 9:00am — 1 Comment

An Exercise for a Proper Jump Approach

Very often problems on approach are caused by rider involvement in the wrong areas and an incorrect focus. The rider’s focus should be on trying to keep a nice regular and balanced approach, while staying within a rhythm, not the take off distance from the fence.

Crooked approach

It is vitally important for the horse to…


Added by Tim Stockdale on August 7, 2009 at 10:30am — 1 Comment

Exercises to help your Flying Changes

Flying changes are important in show jumping because you have directional changes in courses.

The easiest way of teaching flying changes is by using a cavaletti or a raised pole. Position the cavaletti or raised pole on the diagonal. Canter over it making an 'S' shape with a slightly exaggerated curl to the line. As your horse goes with an elevated stride to jump, slightly change the bend and adjust your leg aid. With the jump and the slight change of direction, the horse…


Added by Tim Stockdale on July 24, 2009 at 9:30am — No Comments

Rebalancing a Strong Horse

When a horse rushes he is running and using the rider's hands as the fifth leg. In other words the rider is trying to support a horse that thinks that it is acceptable to lean on your hands, which it is not.

What the rider must do is to try and be soft in the contact. When the horse starts to go forward the rider needs to bring his body back slightly to let the horse know to readdress his balance, then take quite a strong half halt and soften as soon as the horse starts to…


Added by Tim Stockdale on July 10, 2009 at 12:30pm — 3 Comments

Flatwork Horse Riding Exercises

If things are going wrong with your training, you should ask yourself what is happening, why is it happening and what is the solution? The art of seeing a problem is being able to interpret what is happening and to decide what the solution is.

Flatwork is all about good foundations, which I call 'fundamentals', and they are very simple and straightforward:






If you have that…


Added by Tim Stockdale on June 26, 2009 at 1:30pm — 3 Comments

Common Horse Riding Problems: Questions and Answers

Q: My horse seems to stop at a different type of fence everytime we go out. Just as I think we have mastered solid fillers then he starts spooking at flower arrangements. What should I do?

A: Make sure your horse is capable of going round the ring before you compete him. If that means you have to do more homework it is still more cost effective than wasting your entry fees. By hiring a school and practicing over a course you are doing a lot more good and putting a lot…


Added by Tim Stockdale on June 12, 2009 at 10:00am — 1 Comment

Knowing Yourself as a Rider

What I am looking for in a rider is balance and empathy with their horse as a living creature. Someone who has feel for the basic paces and hopefully able to tell the right and wrong lead and the right and wrong diagonal. They need to be able to maintain a contact without being stiff and heavy and to be concise in what they are asking. This is quite important; if you ask a horse to walk on, you tell it to walk on.

Temperament in the rider

Any rider that is so…


Added by Tim Stockdale on June 5, 2009 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

What to do when problems crop up: Part 2

Under saddle, disobedience from the horse can be caused by a number of factors, not necessarily just unwillingness to work. Here are a few points to consider:


The reason why horses are easy to train is because if you do things consistently they will pick it up; they are creatures of habit.

I am a great believer in giving a horse a pat as a reward for good work. However which method you use to praise your horse is not important, it is the consistency of… Continue

Added by Tim Stockdale on May 29, 2009 at 10:42am — No Comments

What to do when problems crop up - Part 1

Cooperation under saddle begins with good ground manners. If despite your best efforts you are still having problems with your horse in the stable, don’t panic! Here are some things for you to consider:

General welfare

Before any type of training can be undertaken there are obvious areas that need to be paid attention to.

First and foremost, is the horse in good enough condition to do what you are asking him to do? Can he bend his head to the left and… Continue

Added by Tim Stockdale on May 22, 2009 at 10:29am — 1 Comment

Tips for the Ring: Part 2

Continuing with last week’s blog, here are 6 more helpful tips for the ring:

Plan your corners. A typical course builder’s challenge is to place a jump so that you are jumping towards or into a corner. Deliberately designed to test you and the horse, as this naturally stifles the jump and may tempt your horse to jump off centre as he anticipates the turn you will be making. So keep straight, jump the centre of the jump… Continue

Added by Tim Stockdale on May 15, 2009 at 9:30am — No Comments

Tips for the Ring: Part 1

I’ve always believed that rosettes are won at home. You just collect them in the ring. With that in mind, here are five of my top tips to help you put all your schooling to good effect:

1. Be clear in what you ask your horse. You walked the course and your horse didn't, so you need to make it clear to him which fence he has to jump. As you enter the ring, the first jump your horse sees may not be the first on the course and he may get drawn to the wrong fence. This is one of… Continue

Added by Tim Stockdale on May 8, 2009 at 9:00am — No Comments

Calling Out Your Horse's Strides

To understand and work with your horse’s stride length, keep in mind that whilst you are riding, the horse’s legs are your legs, and your brain needs to react to what they are doing.

Try this exercise:

Build two fences five canter strides apart. Warm up your horse, thinking about the canter rhythm.

As a very simple way of understanding your horse’s stride length, call out the strides as you ride the fences. This will help your brain tune in to what your horse…


Added by Tim Stockdale on May 1, 2009 at 9:00am — No Comments

Related Distances

Related distances seem to cause a lot of problems but for no real reason.

Once you understand what they mean, if you concentrate on your horse’s rhythm and stride regularity you’ll have no problems.

Course builders build jumps that are related to each other in some way — this means that there is a set number of strides between the fences, usually between three and seven. At more advanced levels, the course builder uses half distances, so instead of say five nice…


Added by Tim Stockdale on April 24, 2009 at 12:00pm — No Comments

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