#MasterclassMonday is a collaboration between Horse Network and NOELLEFLOYD.com to empower equestrians to help troubleshoot your training, master your mindset and up your game. This month’s instructor: show jumping trainer Jasmin Stair.

Carrying a stick can make or break a lot of riders’ situations.

While there’s nothing wrong with carrying a tool to better support you and your horse, learning how to correctly place it in conjunction with your position is key in making sure you are utilizing the tool to the best of its ability. Believe it or not, carrying a stick incorrectly can create a lot more issues in your riding if you’re not aware.

For example, if the stick is pointing downwards, the rider’s elbows do have the ability to move with their horse’s movement. In fact, the elbows actually become stiff, stuck, and lack fluidity, which is crucial in developing feel with your horse. If the stick is pointing upwards, not only is this a distraction for your horse, but will leave the rider’s elbow pointing outwards and with little to no control. 

This is just the teaser! Learn all things position with Equestrian Masterclass: Jasmin Stair Teaches Small Changes for Big Improvements

The ideal placement for a stick is across a rider’s leg. In addition to the stick placement, the rider’s fingers should be closed on the reins with thumbs on top, creating a direct line from the corner of the horse’s mouth to the rider’s elbow. With this placement and position, you are ensuring that the rider is able to move fluidly with their horse’s movement while still having the ability to access and utilize the stick when necessary. 

Another thing to consider is how the rider is holding their hands with the stick while riding. If a rider’s hands are below or at the withers, you run the risk of the stick rubbing or hitting against their horse. A rider’s hands should be held slightly above the wither so there is enough clearance between the stick and the horse and so when the hands are following the horses motion, there is no interference or disturbance. This hand placement also creates an overall cleaner picture. 

This is an excerpt from Jasmin’s Equestrian Masterclass, Small Changes for Big Improvements. To access the course, as well as a full library of courses from the likes of Ian Millar, Anne Kursinski and more, go to equestrianmasterclass.com.