Hold Your Horses Clinics


The BE time penalty rules have dramatically cut the time window for "Clear within the time". Come to the only training currently available to help make sure you are not caught out by the rule changes. Horses have no speedometer and therefore the only way of recognising these speeds is to experience them. Included is recognition of appropriate speed for different types of fences and the importance of these decisions being taken at course walk. For the first time this year competitors at BE lower levels are to be permitted stopwatches. Training in their use will be included. Enhanced rider-safety is the aim of the training and to this end a large number of bitting systems will be available to trial. There is no actual jumping in this clinic. The focus is purely on your control in the open field scenario - if you cannot control your horse when there are no fences it is unlikely that you are going to be able to when there are! Time penalties are frustrating! Out of control is FRIGHTENING! Over 50 Pony Clubs from Cornwall to Scotland have availed themselves of this training and found it extremely useful to ALL levels of rider.

The aim of Mark's highly successful Hold Your Horses Clinics is to train the rider and horse in the complex skill of travelling cross country in harmony at an appropriate speed for their ability. Mark's methods are to show the rider how, by correct use of bodyweight and legs, it is possible to show a strong puller that this is not what the rider requires. It is not that the horse deliberately wants to ignore the rider - the rider is inadvertently sending the horse contradictory messages.

The clinic is designed to be appropriate, relevant and helpful to:

The programme is divided into four phases as follows:

Phase 1

The horse and rider are able to canter around an enclosed arena in a settled and even rhythm.

Phase 2

The rider learns to be able to recognise the different speeds at which they will be required to travel for various cross country standards eg for BE 90 events 450 metres/minute, BE 100 events 475 metres/minute. Horses do not have a speedo between their ears so riders only learn what 450 metres/minute feel like by experiencing it. This is done an open field environment.

Phase 3

The rider learns how to move up and down the gears to arrive at the stipulated speed to simulate the fact that cross country courses incorporate some sections where an appropriate speed will be considerably less than the average, and some sections will involve travelling at speeds faster than the overall average speed.

Phase 4

The rider learns the appropriate speed for each type of jump taking into consideration the gradient, complexity of combinations, narrowness and types of fences. Only then is the rider properly prepared to incorporate jumps into the equation.

Mark's first priority is for the safety of horse and rider. Riders are required to have mastered the skills for each phase to Mark's satisfaction before being allowed to move onto the next phase and Mark's decision is final.

All clinics and work undertaken by Mark Smith will be subject to a Health and Safety assessment. Mark is fully certified by the Pony Club and the BHS, holds full First Aid at Work certification, and Mark and his equipment are fully insured.

Check The Events Page For Hold Your Horses Clinic Dates & Venues


Riding clubs, equestrian centres, etc wishing to organise a Hold Your Horses Clinic please contact Mark on 07930151562.

Please note that there is a minimum requirement of 12 riders in groups of 3-4 riders to run a clinic.

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