“Believe it; you’ve got to believe it,” Kirsten Coe said to more than a few riders during the mounted gymnastic session held Jan. 20 during the USHJA Gold Star Clinic in Thermal, California. In what proved to be the most challenging part of the day’s exercises, Coe asked the riders to fit seven strides in a vertical-oxer line set six strides apart.

“For some of the riders, you can see they’re not quite sure if they can fit it in, and they end up with an in-between distance,” she said. “You have to believe you can do it, and that reflects in your body position. You have to believe you can get the horse back; you have to believe you have control of him.”

Coe stressed the importance of adding early in the line rather than waiting until the end and having to pull back at the next jump. If you “do your homework” early, then you can go forward to the oxer, which is preferable to pulling to the oxer, she said.

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