Course Walking 101: Strides to Success

Knowing how many strides are in a line you are jumping on course is extremely important! Whether you are in the hunter, equitation, or jumper ring, if you do not do the correct number of strides, you may find yourself in some trouble! Hunter courses are oh so nice and tell you how many strides are in the line on the course sheet but for the equitation and jumper rings, you are left to your own devices!

There are a lot of different factors to be thinking about as you walk your course. For example, does the line ride forward or balancing, does my horse have a normal stride or large stride, and how do I get the best jump out of my horse by planning the best approach? To help you fill in some of those blanks, we have some course walking tips just for you!

1. Know Your Course Walking Basics

Approximately one horse stride (12 feet) is equivalent to four human steps (3 feet per step). So, how I walk my courses to factor in those measurements is to stand at the base of the jump and take two steps for their landing stride (approximately six feet) then from there I count up to four and begin again at one keeping track of how many strides I walk. Every time I start a new stride, I replace saying one with the stride I am beginning to walk so that I do not lose count. In my head, if I am walking a four stride line, it will sound like this: “Land, One-two-three-four, two-two-three-four, three-two-three-four, four-two- three- four, five-two”(the “five-two” factors in the approximate six feet for the take-off stride).

Related: FEI Show Jumping 101: What the Star Ratings Actually Mean

2. Walk Your Course Twice

There may not always be time to take a second loop around your course. but if you have the chance, you should always try to walk the lines a second time. The first time you are walking for basic reference of how many strides the course designer has set between the jumps. The second time you walk with your horse in mind doing your best to predict its natural tendencies when jumping and how they may benefit or get in the way of your original course plan.

© World of Show Jumping

3. Ask For A Second Opinion

Every so often you may come across a line that for the life of you, you cannot decide how many strides would be best. These lines are often designed on purpose by the course designers to add a bit more technicality to a course. Discuss these lines with your trainers and those close to you so that you can come up with a confident plan before entering the ring!

Related: Want to Ride Like a Legend? Better Hurry — McLain Ward’s Farm Is Up For Grabs

Bonus Tech

If all of the above sounds like too much mental work before heading into the ring, no worries, there’s an app for that! WalkPro, founded by Carolina Villanueva Suarez, is an app that allows you to use your phone to convert your walking steps into strides as you go around the course! The best bonus is that when you are finished walking you will have a comprehensive list of all the strides in every line available at your fingertips for easy memorization! Check it out in the apple store! WalkPro App

Featured Image:  © Four Oaks Creative

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