I accidentally set up a very good jumping exercise today for horses who like to vary their speed to and from fences. I was riding in a ring that had a few muddy spots due to recent rain, so I was on a 20 meter circle most of time since the footing was best there. I decided to throw in some jumps which is when I realized I had invented a new exercise. I'm sure it's not new, but was surprised I never tried it before since my horse likes to slow down before fences and then speed up after them. Anyway, here's the exercise.
Working on a clock format, set two jumps up at 9 & 3. Ride a 20 meter circle at 12 o'clock. Make sure the circle is in proximity to the jumps where you can come off the corner and get to the jump in 3 or 4 strides with just a slight leg yield to get him there straight, but not so close that the horse may think you're allowing him to run out at the jump when you're circling. It should be very clear to the horse whether you're still circling or going to the jump. Ride the circle until you're completely satisfied with the rhythm and tempo of the gait. Then, come off the circle and ride the jump. After the jump continue onto 6 o'clock and repeat another 20 meter circle. Again establish the gait quality you want before going to the next jump. After doing this several times, my horse's tempo became very steady on both sides of the fence. I found it very useful. Hopefully it will help some of you too.