Day 10- Five of Your Favorite Jumping Exercises
I love gymnastics and grid work. I think they’re invaluable for sharpening a horse’s skills, building confidence, and improving a rider’s position. That said, I don’t know that I have specific favorite exercises that I return to time and time again. I’m more of an improviser. So, here are five exercises I think are very good!
1. Gymnastic #2 from Jim Wofford’s Modern Gymnastics (also found in May 2012 Practical Horseman, and online here). It’s four ground poles, a jump, and a one-stride to another fence. This is a great confidence builder; I jumped Colter through it today. The trot poles really help establish a good rhythm and set the horse up for success over the two fences. I did a crossrail for the first fence, and eventually ended with a 2′ oxer. It rides well; I increased the distances a little bit to compensate for Colter’s very long stride. (Note: I think you can also find this gymnastic in Wofford’s Training The Three Day Event Horse and Rider.)
2. Exercise 7 from this PDF
from the Alberta County 4-H. This sheet has several good exercises, but I love exercise 7- two bounces to a one stride. I particularly like bounces because they make horses that rush (like Moe) sit up and sit back on their haunches.
3. “The Y” from this Horse Illustrated
article on grids. This exercise is a two or three stride followed by a three stride bending line. I think when trainers and riders think “gymnastic”, they think “straight line”; however, it’s important for horses to learn to turn while jumping. This exercise is effective and something different for horses to think about.
4. An Australian publication, The Horse Magazine, featured this exercise
from Colleen Brook. It’s simply two jumps set nearly parallel to one another on a slight angle. (You just have to go look at it, I think.) As the graphic on the article illustrates, there are about a dozen different ways to utilize just two jumps; that’s great news for people like me who own four sets of standards!
5. Horse Channel featured the “wagon wheel”
exercise way back in 2007 as a way to help riders with rollback turns. It’s four crossrails set up on a large circle (width of your arena). The goal is to ride through three or four times while keeping a steady, even pace and jumping in the middle of each crossrail. I’m excited to try this with Colter soon!