Improve your horse’s pace, track and balance by practicing parts of this unique course at home, says derby star Liza Boyd. In Exercise 2, we learn to master the bending line.
In Part 1 of Liza Boyd's series on acing your hunter derby rounds, we learned about how to pick up and keep a good pace. Now, learn how to master the bending line!
The Challenge: A derby course usually includes at least one bending line. When the footage is not marked on the posted course diagram, the striding is determined by the track you pick and the pace you choose to bring out your horse’s best jumping style. (Note that when the footage is indicated—for example, “110 feet” or “eight strides”—the judge will be looking for you to ideally execute the line in that number of strides.) Depending on the bend between the two fences, you may also have to execute either holding the counter canter or a smooth lead change.
Your Goal: Plan your bending line in advance. Learn to make both fences match: Find a nice distance in, keep a consistent tempo and a smooth track, then find a nice distance out.
Try This Exercise to Help With Bending Lines
To read the full version of this article, check out the original story in the June 2017 issue of Practical Horseman.