Avoiding Refusals & Runouts with Jessica Phoenix

A horse that slams on the brakes or runs out in stadium jumping can also knock you out of ribbon contention. Refusals are a common problem, but can be simple to overcome, according to 2011 Pan Am gold medallist Jessica Phoenix, coach of Ontario's Young Rider eventing team. Here is her advice. "Riders often get so flustered by a refusal that they miss the opportunity to explain to their horse what their intention is. I often see horses run out and go past a jump, then run halfway across the field before the rider stops them." The priority is to never let your horse leave the line you've dictated. Ninety per cent of horses run out; you rarely see a horse stop dead in front of a jump. A rider has to have a clear path in his or her own mind, be committed to the line, and present the…

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