I joined the course walk at the lake (fence 6).
Nick was very keen on getting people to understand that you must do your work up-front and not ‘mess about’ just in front of the fences. He stressed several times that it was crucial to get the right line and pace to the fences. Pick your line, then ride the horse positively forward. A steadier canter for rail/ditch/rail combinations (coffins) and for skinnies, but generally very similar advice to Mary King – positive, positive, positive!
He pointed out that the rider must be aware of how the fences will ride at different times of the day, and the effect that sunlight and shadows will have. Consider this when the course is walked.
A really interesting tip was that to skinny fences, if you open your reins wide it helps to channel the horse and aids the steering.
Nick mentioned several times that it is much better to get a little bit left behind rather than get forward onto the horse’s shoulders – it helps the horse maintain balance and makes the rider’s position more secure. A really important point for me to get the knack of.