Everything Else

Notes from Jay Halim Demo at Your Horse Live

It was a while ago that I attended Your Horse Live but one of the excellent demos that I watched was that of Jay Halim. I went to watch Jay because he is that interesting dichotomy of being a successful showjumper and eventer. I was interested to see how he produced his horses and some of his theories behind training horses. Jay was a lovely quiet rider and for me the information about ground lines and wide oxers was particularly pertinent.

I have compiled the notes in the form of bullet points and hope you will find them interesting.

Jay was riding a horse called the Honey Badger who was a novice eventer and described as a  ‘minx’!

  • Make sure you use the whole arena including corners.
  • The neck gets longer as the horse takes more confidence from the rein.
  • If the horse is quite tense slow your rising in trot and slow the pace of the trot. Add in some transitions.
  • When you are coming down a gear into walk everything needs to be relaxed. You can easily ruin a horses walk by spending too much time on the bit in walk and fiddling with it.
  • This horse can be quite short in the neck so I am always looking to move it out.

On Jumping

  • Not always trying to look for a perfect stride. The horse has to be able to think for itself.
  • When the horse is tense be careful not to close things down with your hand. Your seat should be strong enough to deal with it so you are not relying on your hand.
  • As a rider you are looking to be soft through the hand and strong through the thigh.
  • The canter has changed where she has got excited. When riding a horse you always need to be accepting of how it feels in order to try and get the best from a session.
  • Little walk breaks for young horses help the muscles.
  • Every transition has to be perfect. Every bad transition will be remembered by the horse, so make them as good as possible.
  • This horse is not ready for flying changes but she is offering them so do not make it stressful or forced.
  • All the time you should use your corners to check the horse is listening to you.
  • Pulling the groundline away from the base of the fence helps the shoulder as you do not want the shoulder over rotating. it also helps them to let go over the back.
  • Make sure you jump off both reins so you are even.
  • I am not worried if a horse hits poles in training as that is how they learn.
  • Pulling the groundline on an oxer will get them closer to the front rail so they have to use their backs.
  • Wide oxers teach them to stretch – height is not important.
  • Putting your leg on while taking off does more for the jump. Think about it as doing a final press/squeeze with the legs.
  • Work with what you have got at home and try to make your training as good as possible and consistent.
  • I spend a lot of time playing with wide oxers and cross poles even on my grade A show jumpers.
  • Cross poles are great for straightness and the horses shoulders.
  • If the horse falls in/out do not always use inside bend to counteract. Counter flexion is often just as effective.
  • Horses need to develop a 5th leg because you are not always on the perfect stride.
  • Seeing a stride is about rhythm!
  • All the time you are looking for rideability to go along with that rhythm. Polework can really help with this aspect of training.
  • To get the right canter lead on landing – open your hand while jumping.
  • Do not hassle the horse, use your legs in support. This will help you keep the rhythm.
  • When I back or break horses, I always whip out the wolf teeth. Saves a lot of hassle in the long run.
  • As a rider I have lots of imperfections. I am always working on my lower leg and I work very hard to keep working on my weaker aspects.
  • I sit and watch riders and horses at events for hours and hours. Its an amazing way to soak up information by watching and learning.
  • I am inspired by the German riders, there flatwork is so good. I used to hate dressage but it is vital in every element and now I love it.


About the author


An amateur rider who produces all her own horses. I have competed at novice level and sadly never got further due to bad luck with horses but I am still ambitious to achieve a lot more. I have a riding qualification in UKCC2 and a diploma in NLP. Sports science and particularly the mental game fascinates me. For a day job I work for a large multinational brand.