Training Tuesday - Part 1 Chris Bartle’s training tips

Advice and exercises from Great Britain’s World Class Performance Coach Chris Bartle for you to try at home. Part one - we look at improving accuracy on a line.

“The technical demands of eventing have changed dramatically over the decades. The horse has to think for himself and be confident and bold, yet trained to negotiate increasingly difficult lines and extreme angles. As a rider, it is our job to communicate with him in a way that helps rather than distracts him from his job. I always tell riders to focus on the system rather than the immediate result, beginning in the warm-up.” 


  • Relaxation – “The more you can give the rein to encourage the horse to take his nose out, the better, and keep your seat light in the beginning to encourage him to relax and use his back.”
  • Control of direction – “The inside and outside reins have different jobs. The outside rein is the disciplining rein, whereas the inside rein is more giving – I sometimes call it the horse’s friend. Support them with your inside leg and wait for them to accept the outside rein, then they will start to drop the neck and relax the muscles, and you can allow the neck to straighten.”

Exercise for accuracy on a line

  • Set up five canter poles on a curve, roughly three yards apart on the inside and four yards on the outside.
  • The poles can be negotiated in both directions, focusing on accuracy and relaxation.
  • You can then raise the middle three poles into small jumps.
“Ride on the inside of the midline. Rather than aiming for the centre of a pole or fence, by focusing just inside, the midline on a curve will be more effective at stopping drifting – and more economical. Always look down the road rather than at the road itself. Find a spot on the wall ahead and focus on it – use your peripheral vision to see the poles in front of you. Let the nose out and the horse will reach to the poles. I want him to be able to use his eyes. He shouldn’t be curled over and looking at the ground.”
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Read Part 2 of Chris' training tips HERE.