Trainer's Tip: Nina Fout
Brief overview of Nina Fout: Nina has been a long time veteran of Three Day Eventing around the world. She represented the USA at the 2000 Olympic Games, Sydney Australia where she was a Team Bronze Medalist in Eventing, riding 3 Magic Beans. Read Nina's profile, after her tip.
The Importance of a Relaxed Neck When Jumping and Galloping.
I like to use a visual reference of how a horse naturally uses his topline while free schooling without a rider on his back. The entire topline is stretched from the tail to the poll with the neck and back creating a beautiful arch or crest. Basically the horse needs the freedom of his neck for balance and to achieve maximum range of motion throughout the jumping arc. I refer to this as a Jumping Style. Some horses are naturally stylish and others can be taught to improve their jumping technique.
If the horse has an easy ability to relax and lengthen his neck in his canter or gallop and maintain rhythm then chances are that he will offer a good jumping style. If your horse has a tense way of going and tends to have a short tight neck, then chances are this will carry over into his jumping style as well. The tension in a short neck can in some cases indulge the horse to quicken in front of his fences as he feels that he needs the freedom of his neck to balance over the fence. It is very unusual to see a horse going to a fence on a long loopy rein quicken or get tense in front of his fence, as he is not feeling any restriction from the rider. My motto is if you like your canter, and it is balanced, rhythmical and adjustable, then you will like how your horse jumps. If you do not like the quality of your canter and how your horse is balanced, then most likely you will not be satisfied with how he jumps because he may lack relaxation and fluidity in the air.
While galloping your horse, if he is very strong and has a short tight neck, try to allow the neck to get a bit longer. He may relax into his stride better. These are issues that are challenged by balance. Without balance you have very little to work with. So the next time you are having an issue with your horses relaxation going to the fence and he seems a little tense and unbalanced, remember if he were back in the jumping pen all alone he would not be tense and quick…..he would have a long supple neck.
Nina Fout and 3 Magic Beans - Profile:
Nina Fout has been a long time veteran of Three Day Eventing around the world. She represented the United States at the 2000 Olympic Games, Sydney Australia where she was a Team Bronze Medalist in Eventing, riding 3 Magic Beans. A lifelong resident of Middleburg Virginia, she has competed at the advanced level of eventing at such events as Badminton, Burghley, Blenheim, Punchestown, and Rolex. She has ridden in a variety of horse sports, including foxhunting, timber racing, sidesaddle, and show jumping.
Most recently in 2014, Nina was elected to Foxcroft School’s Hall of Fame. She was the co-chairman of the young riders program as well as a coach for the Area 9 young rider’s. Her high level of horsemanship is greatly respected and she is always putting the best interest of the horse first.
Nina is a licensed R course designer, and has designed cross country courses for over 20 years. She currently competes at the upper levels in eventing and teaches, conducts clinics, and takes young horses in for training.
To contact Nina email: firstname.lastname@example.org