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Best Practices for Jogging Your Horse

Best Practices for Jogging Your Horse

Sally Spickard

When one thinks of jogging up a horse, they might immediately call to mind a picture of a horse braided and groomed to perfection with a matching, equally well-groomed rider at its side. While this is certainly one example of when jog skills come in handy, jogging up a horse is also quite useful when it comes to general check-ups and lameness exams.
Even if you don’t plan to participate in a competition in which a jog might be required (an FEI event, a Pony Club rally, etc.), you should still learn the basics of jogging in the event you’re asked to jog your horse for a vet, coach, or prospective buyer.
So, what are some common practices during a jog?
1. Don’t get in front of your horse and pull on the reins to encourage him to follow. You want to be sure to stay at your horse’s shoulder so that you can maintain control if needed but otherwise a loose rein so as to allow the horse to stretch it’s neck out. Traveling in a natural frame rather than one inhibited by the reins will give the best overall presentation as well as the most objective view for soundness evaluation.
2. Just like with your riding, always think forward. The first time I jogged a horse up, I was proud of myself for getting the job done. Then I was told to do it again, but this time to sprint. It was then that I learned that the horse truly needs to be forward in order to correctly evaluate soundness. A horse that is lagging can easily be mistaken for off or slightly lame.
3. Straightness is key. Again, just like with your riding, try to keep your horse traveling in as straight a line as possible. A horse that weaves back and forth on the jog strip not only looks like it enjoyed one too many adult beverages the night before but also can cause missteps or other bobbles that will make the veterinary panel take a closer look.
These are just a few things to bear in mind when practicing your jog up. Whether you’re preparing for your next three-day event or simply jogging your horse for his routine veterinary exam, you’ll want to be educated on how to best present your horse. Learning how to jog will enable your horse to put his best hoof forward.

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