Some further notes from Yogi’s lecture at the BE Rider Training from 2010.
Yogi says: If you are aiming for the top, spend the most time at Intermediate and 2* level. There are the same questions as at Advanced/3* level, but with smaller fences so more forgiving.
e.g. often YR horses do a few years at 2* level, then do one 3* and straight on up to 4* very well.
He would advise a rider to keep a horse at 2* level for one and a half to two seasons.
Falls at 1* level have gone up dramatically since changing the qualifications from clear at one Intermediate or one Novice2day to clears at 6 Novices.
“Qualified” does not mean “competent to compete at a level.”
It is the rider’s responsibility to make sure that the horse is ready for the questions at a given level.
Yogi’s main pointers for good XC riding:
Imagine having 2/3 of horse in front of you.
You must ride forwards to fences.
You must tell the horse “here is the fence, go forward to jump it.”
Ideally get the horse in a channel and say “now go forward and jump.”
Rider must not be more concerned about steering than about allowing horse to go and jump the fence.
When the horse is pulling down, throwing its head around etc it isn’t able to see the fence, it is fighting and getting confused.
On take-off, allow head and neck out so that horse can see the fence and use himself.