Richard Spooner: How to Ride a Combination

When a world champion gives away his experience for free, you watch the whole five minute clip, folks. Such is the case in the video below, where USA Nations Cup team member and 12-time Pacific Coast Horse Show Association Grand Prix Rider of the Year Richard Spooner explains his thoughts on how to ride a combination.

First, he gives a couple strong examples via legend Hugo Simon aboard E.T. on successfully preparing for and executing a fast and clean combination. The first is a very steady line followed by a turn to a very forward triple combination, where the horse has to be tight and tidy and then extend himself. The second clip is more the opposite: a very forward line followed by a tight combination, and Hugo has to really pick the horse up to get the right distance going in. If you can do that successfully, he says, the second or third fence will just be autopilot.

Second, he provides an exercise you can do at home to practice these two skills. He sets up a very forward triple bar, then a tight set of ground poles to help the horse learn to recover and quickly come back to you, followed by a tight vertical combination, set 22 feet apart. This will help your horse learn to extend and then tighten up. The second exercise is a steady bounce, two rails set more apart to encourage lengthening, followed by a forward combination (about 28 feet apart).

He performs the exercise on an old school master and then on a younger horse, and you can really see the young horse’s wheels turning as he tries to understand his body and the exercise.

This video was produced in conjunction with a clinic Richard taught at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley Canada, but we’re hoping there are more to come. Thanks for the lesson, Richard, and we’re looking forward to more videos in the future!

Go Jumping.