October Exercise – Coming Full Circle

It has been forever since we have done an exercise post here at No Bucking Way. We have so many new exciting ideas for our exercises & with the addition of Cosmo to the gang we have really had to think hard going back revisiting & reviving our older “young horse” exercises.

Prepare to be excited & keep your eyes peeled for Orla’s first Cosmo exercise next week, but up first we have one all about Dante. As hard as it is to say, this is an exercise for the older slightly more experienced horse. I can’t believe I am referring to Dante as Experienced…. What has the world come to!

Don’t worry though, I like to keep my exercises extremely versatile & adjustable, as you know Dante can pick & choose is moods, she if you have a young horse, an older horse, experience or unexperienced keep scrolling to find out all about riding our “Coming Full Circle” exercise!

Side Note: I rode this exercise on Dante wearing my Reinrite training aid. You may have noticed this on Dante the past few weeks. A full review is coming next week, I have been trialing this aid in almost every aspect of our training!

The Set Up

For this exercise, you will need 5 poles, & 3 x cavalletti’s stands to raise your poles in the centre of your arena. Clear your arena/field as best you can, removing any obstacles except for what is laid out in the image below. This is so you can make use of the entire arena & give you and your horse as much space as you can get!

The space between your canter poles should be 10 footsteps. I adjusted mine to 12 as I wanted to push Dante in his canter a little bit whilst still maintaining control.

The Benefits Of This Exercise

  • Improving your canter rhythm
  • Maintaing a steady canter rhythm
  • Improving your horses suppleness
  • Great for improving your horses balance
  • Improves your eye for a stride

Steps For Riding This Exercise

Step 1:

  • As per any of our NBW exercises, we recommend a good 15/20 minute warm up prior to beginning. For this exercise, In my warm up I focused on riding figures of 8 & serpentines in trot, this got Dante bending & flexing around my leg, as well as making him listen & think to the aids I was asking him to do.
  • As I moved on to my canter, getting a forward moving canter from Dante was most important. I focused on pushing on the long sides of the arena & holding on the shorter sides of the arena. This not only wakes Dante up, but it gives me the active canter that I am looking for prior to beginning any pole work exercise.

Step 2:

  • Once you are happy with your warm up, starting this exercise piece by piece is key to nailing it when you come to putting the entire exercise together.
  • See the image below to the left, start by cantering your 20m circle or 15m circle over your ground pole at A. You are looking for a consistant canter here from your horse, no rushing to the pole, no rushing after the pole. A Smooth consistent canter throughout.
  • Your position in the saddle should not change either, you should not treat the ground pole as anything different than a stride for your horse. Stay riding forward, keeping your contact on the reins with your leg still firmly on to keep your horse moving forward.
  • Once you are happy with your horses performance over the single pole at A, then can you begin to piece in the pole at C at the other end of your arena as per the image above on the right. Again ride both circles the exact same. if your legs are not starting to ache at this point you need more leg!

Tip: When you are riding your circle, look to the centre holding your inside rein out away from your horses neck. Having your inside rein opened out will direct your horse to where he should be travelling but it will also automatically position your shoulders correctly moving in the same direction with your horse.

Step 3:

  • Once you are happy with the way your horse is moving over both poles positioned at A&C in your arena, you can then move on to your raised poles positioned at B in the center of your arena. Raised poles should not differ from your ground pole with how you ride into them. Everything stays exactly the same!
  • See the image below. When you are approaching your raised poles, remember that you are riding them on a circle, keep your leg on, holding out your inside rein directing you horse over the poles. Your horse may find this slighty difficult as he has to travel over the poles on a bend, but still keep that consistant canter that you had over the single ground pole as above.
  • Do not look at the poles on the ground, remember to always look to where you are going! Don’t worry if your horse rushes over these poles or gets excited the first few times. Practice this circle until you are happy with your horses & how he approaches in & out of the raised poles before moving any further.

Step 4:

  • Now that you have completed all the above steps, it is time to complete our ” Coming Full Circle” exercise. Please excuse the dodgy diagram for this one! Who knew circles could get so complicated!
  • See the image below. Like in Step 2, begin by riding over your black circle as per the image, ride this no different that you did at the beginning, as you ride out of the black circle, you are then riding up your arena into your second circle, your red circle in the middle.
  • The trick with approaching your middle circle is to anticipate your space, you can make full use of the centre of your arena on your approach to your raised poles. Remember not to look at your poles, when you approach then, but to look ahead of you in the direction you want your horse to go!
  • Finally after you go over your raised poles, ride your circle out on to track moving up the arena again to your green circle at the end of your arena at C.
  • By this stage I found that my body was getting quite fatigued & my legs were aching! So keep your focus & remember as above to keep your forward consistant canter. Look to where you are going always, never at the pole on the ground!

And there you have it! My step by step guide to riding our “Coming Full Circle” exercise. It is tougher than it looks but it is very rewarding once you finish.

If you wish to adjust this exercise for a more unexperienced horse, you can take out the raised poles at B and replace then with a simple ground pole. Or if you wish to make it more difficult you can place 3 raised canter poles at both A & C in your arena instead of the ground poles!

Like I said, it is a very versatile exercise & can be adjusted to meet anyone’s needs. Be sure to give it a try out over the weekend, it is a great winter exercise & extremely simple to set up!

As always, if you have any questions be sure to drop me a PM and I will get back to you asap, but for now fell free to like share & tag your friends, lets get everyone Coming Full circle with this exercise!

As Always, thank you for reading,

Darielle

Product Review – Equitop Myoplast

Over the past year I have found it quite hard to find a supplement to help support Dante and his every growing body. As he is quite the large animal, training him & working his muscles without the proper support was not exactly ideal. We went through spurts where he gained incredible muscle then dropped it quite quickly due to winter months, cold weather & to be honest, not enough physical work to up keep the gains he made.

Dante is a 7 Year old Irish Sport Horse, he is 17.3hh and to be brutally honest I will say that he is quite the slow developer, he is nicknamed the giraffe when it comes to how he works his body, he is yet to piece himself together when it comes to muscle growth & maintaining that muscle mass.

So I set out on a mission to put the head down & focus on Dante’s nutritional needs just like I do with myself when I go to the gym, muscle needs support in order to grow. With a lot of research & with a few test trials on other products, ones that just didn’t suit Dante I came across Equitop Myoplast. I came across this product from word of mouth, and from the ever so popular social media site Instagram.

I reached out to the brand & after a few exchanges over email & a phone conversations later, I was gifted the product to trial on Dante. With the Autumn competition season ahead, getting in shape was something both of us needed. Whilst I hit the gym, Dante was put on his 5 day workout routine adding in our new supplement Equitop Myolpast. We have come up to our 5 week mark with the product.

Keeps scrolling to Find out what we thought, & if we seen any physical changes of the product below!

What is Equitop Myoplast?

Equitop Myoplast is an amino acid high quality feed supplement specifically designed to support lean muscle growth & structure for your horse. It is Created from a combination of 18 amino acids that help support lean muscle growth. Essential amino acids in Equitop Mysoplast include L-Lysine, L-Threonine, DL-Methionine and L-Tryptophan.

Equitop Myoplast is a very compact feed, it is a sugar coated pearl granule making it very easy to feed to your horse.

What Does It Do?

Amino acids are the building blocks of the proteins which form muscles. Unlike many supplements that use a combination of fats and oils to promote weight gain, Equitop Myoplast focuses solely on muscle growth. As mentioned above it contains a complex blend of 18 amino acids, this helps with growing and recovering of your horses muscle tissue. It helps supports & helps develop your horses muscles during intense training periods. It supports suppleness, stamina & muscle growth particularly in your horses topline & hind-end.

While your Horse can produce some amino acids themselves, what is required to help build them up & support their muscle growth must be supplied within their diet. If a horse’s diet is lacking in any amino acids, their performance may take a hit.

How Do You Feed It?

It is recommended that Equiptop Myoplast is fed to your horse for at least 2 months. One scoop is to be fed to your horse twice a day, One during the morning, and one in the evening.

< 500 kg              1 measure (25g)

> 500 kg              2 measures (50g)

Each tub of EM comes with a very nifty measuring tool, so your horse is guaranteed to get the correct amount each time. Equiptop Myoplast mixed in with any wet feed can make it taste quite bitter for your horse. but I can safely say that as Dante is fed wet feed (pulp) twice daily & I have had no problems with him eating it mixed in.

There is also an option to hand feed this supplement to your horse twice a day also if you wish, I have heard of a few people that do it this way.

Who Can Benefit From Equitop Myoplast

It is of course important that you only use it & feed it to your horse if they need it. It certainly benefits no one or any horse if you start loading them up with supplements for the sake of it, everything should have a purpose. Equiptop Myoplast has some guidelines as to when they recommend the use, see them below,

  • During periods of intense training for your horse, where you are in competition
  • Getting your horse back into shape at the beginning of a season or if you are bringing your horse back in to work after a long rest period
  • For horses who have difficulties maintaining condition
  • Brood Mares who are lacking protein
  • During rehabilitation, where you dont want your horse to drop muscle it will help maintain the condition.
  • It is also great for young horse starting off on their training journeys

What Do I Really Think?

It is not very often that you try a product that promises you the world of change in your horse to actually get the exact results it gives you on the tin. With this product I can say it certainly ticked all the correct boxes for me & I think certainly for Dante. I honestly cannot believe the difference not only in Dante’s appearance (see image below) but in his behavior too.

The image on the right is from two weeks on Equitop Myoplast, with the image on the left takes yesterday week 5.

A lot of people have commented that Dante has started to mature in the past 5 weeks, but they also didn’t realise that within the last 5 weeks he has been on Equitop Myoplast. To say it is a coincidence is something but to say it gave us great results is an absolute fact. 

While I really don’t believe in loading your horse up with every supplement under the sun, their regular diet should contain everything they need to maintain balance, but there is no harm in adding in something extra to help build your horse up the way they should be.

Feeding this supplement alone needs to be backed up with regular & proper exercise to help your horse maintain that muscle growth. I would recommend that if using this that your horse is doing a minimum of 4 days exercise per week, pole work & transition work amongst your routines will also no doubt help massively with this supplement.  

I am over the moon with the results I have gotten in this product, not only does he look fantastic, but his is carrying himself so much better now that he has the support of his new found muscles!


Over the past few weeks I have received some great feedback on Dante’s appearance, and unusually I have began to notice myself. As a person who sees her horse 7 days a week, I always find it quite hard to see the difference in my horse when I am forever looking at him but I am certainly beginning to feel it & that to me speaks volumes.  

It could also just be a coincidence, but over the past few weeks Dante seems to have matured, he has calmed down massively & just seems to be so much happier in his work. He is willing to learn, he can carry himself a lot better & he is performing to the best of his abilities. I can safely put my hands up now & say that any errors made in the ring are purely down to the rider at this point!!

I am over the moon with this product and I hope to continue to use it as we come into our winter competitions. I couldn’t recommend it enough not only for the amazing results you will see in your horse but for everything else it does that is not stated on the tin. I have gotten myself a brand new horse out of this supplement so why not try it for yourselves on your horse & get the same result as I have.

A massive thank you to Warren over at Equiptop Myoplast, I hope to collaborate with you again in the future, but for now to buy your tub check out the link where you can buy online. It is also available in Ireland from Orchard Equestrian.

As always, if you have any comments on this product drop them below, or send me a message.

Thanks For Reading,

Darielle

Top 5 Flatwork Exercises that Everyone Must Do!

Flatwork by far is one of the most important things to focus on with any horse young or old. It’s benefits are not only rewarding, but with a good Flatwork foundation you will in turn see massive improvements in your jumping.

Check out some of my go to exercises hat I have been focusing on the last few weeks, while there are adjusted to Dante & his ways, I am sure you will all find something to add to your Flatwork routines!

Bend Left, Bend Right

Having a big horse can have its hardships & challenges. Getting them to be supple even to do it whilst being relaxed is tough. Then try move on to bending them correctly, or flexing those neck muscles, this is where you come into difficulties especially if they are not used to it. But I have learned a way to help loosen Dante out, and this short yet effective exercise really helps me out before I start any jumping.

Exercise: After a good warm up, I let Dante have a 5 minute stretch on a long rein. When gathering up my reins to go back into work, I make sure both reins are even. Remaining in walk I bring Dante to the left circling him back to the right & I continue this pattern until he is accepting the contact and turning with a slight feel of the rein. Be sure to maintain a even contact on both reins, using your hips and body movements to back up your aids. It is all about backing everything with your legs also. In the long run I eventually will hopefully be able to do this with the pressure of my legs rather than using my reins as direction pointers.

Push On the Long, Hold on The Short

This is by far one of my most feared exercises. But one that has a fantastic effect on Dante. With him being so big and floppy he finds it hard to hold himself together. This exercise is brilliant to help him maintain his balance, & it really helps him grow his topline.

I will warn you, doing this with a horse for the first time be sure to remember to grip with your lower legs, this will help you keep your balance. To ride this, you are basically using the long sides of your arena to push & lenghten out your horses canter, using the short sides of the arena to shorten & really focus on collecting your canter.

Your legs will feel this exercise for sure as will your hips! Try using the motion of your hips to push your horse forward, you really want to be able to use this when you are jumping a round of fences, being able to push your horse for the longer stride is something we all want to do, as well as having to sit back and hold your horse for the shorter stride without your horse falling into canter.

One downside, your horse will take time to adjust to this exercise. They are clever animals, they will start to anticipate the exercise by remembering. So keep the exercise frequent enough that you can start to see the difference. I tend to keep this as an exercise I do in my jumping warm ups its helps get that extra bit of fizz out too!

Leg Yield – Lateral Work

Something I thought I would never have the patience for, let alone a horse that would actually cooperate with me to do it. I now finally understand the art of lateral work & the magic that it can create when you really begin to incorporate it into your weekly flatwork sessions.

We have started off simple with Dante. We have almost nearly mastered this in the walk, & only dabble in doing some lateral work in trot always trying to finish him when he does it correctly. I find this a great exercise to do toward the end of my flatwork sessions, as he is already loose & moving forward, I find it easier to get him soft & collected. Other times though, I use this exercise at the beginning of my sessions to get him to soften slightly, it depends on his moods!

How I Ride this: Starting in walk, from A in your arena i come in 1/2 meters from the outside track. The main thing is to keep riding Dante straight before I start asking him to do anything. Once I am happy I then begin to ask Dante to move over on to the outside track. Making sure Dante has his neck flexed away from the track, you should always be able to see your horses eye, I then open out my outside rein using my inside leg to push him over. Always make sure not to drop the contact on you inside rein as you need this to keep your contact. I have been using my schooling whip to reinforce my aids. When your horse reaches the outside track the most important thing to remember is to ride your horse straight! What i normally do is push Dante forward into trot remaining in that contact for a few strides once he is straight on the track.

20 Meter Circles – Push in, Push Out

Canter work can be boring, there are only so many times you can do those laps around the arena before you tend to get quite fed up. So instead of aimlessly cantering around your arena how about we add in some lateral work to your canter circles.

This is a great exercise to do, it also helps with getting your horse moving away from your leg. I do this exercise in trot to begin with then I move it up into canter.

Exercise: A good starting point to really open your eyes to this exercise is to place an object in the middle of your 20 meter circle, this can be a cone, a mounting block or your instructor! Start by riding your 20 meter circle, once you pass your starting point start using your outside leg to push your horse in toward the object you have placed in the middle, keeping on your circle, then begin to use you inside leg to start pushing your horse back out on your original circle. Remember to keep an even contact, try using your legs to do all the work with your reins as a back up. And the most important thing to remember, you should always be able to see the white of your horses eye as they bend & flex in around your leg.

Start Walking

Start Walking. Who would of thought it, how important can your horses walk be? Well trust me it is an important one. How else are you going to get good marks in your dressage test ehh!! It is a gait that is always forgotten, but I love focusing on Dante’s walk. This may be because this is the hardest one to get a steady rhythm in.

At the beginning of almost all of our riding sessions, Dante does this little skip & a hop out of slight protest against walking forward. He finds it hard to hold a contact a gather himself in an outline in walk, which worries me but also challenges me. I have learned that if I focus in our walking half way through our flatwork session or at the end I get a much better reaction.

While I focus on keeping Dante held together, I also do a lot of walk to halt transitions, using my legs & seat to push him forward. Focusing on your own position at this time is also vital. your seat in walk should be the same in all other gaits, so I take those 5-10 minutes to focus on keeping my shoulders back, my heels down and my leg positioned correctly just behind the girth. The say your muscles have great memory, & I feel like practicing in walk is one least liable to end in an accident!


Now that you have my 5 go to flatwork exercises, try piecing them together in one of your training sessions & you will have yourself a hardcore workout plan with some amazing results.

I pick days at the start of the week & the end to really focus on my flatwork, keeping things fun & exciting in between with field hacks & some jumping lessons. There is also no harm in ending any of your flatwork exercises with a small jump. If your horse loves jumping, it will certainly leave them on a good note doing something they love, who knows they may even start to think that if they perform their flatwork well they will be rewarded with that jump at the end of their session!

If you give any of the above a go, be sure to tag us in any videos, or if you have any go to flatwork exercises, be sure to write them in the comments below, I am becoming ever so fond of learning new flatwork techniques!

Until Next Time,

Darielle

How Important Your Position is In The Saddle ft. Wild Atlantic Rider & Smyth Breaking & Schooling

From Owning a young, unpredictable & unreliable horse there are some things that automatically go out the window. Your money being one & my riding position to be in at a close 2nd. Adjusting your body to survive some of the plunges, bucks or rears your young horse puts in at the beginning of their riding career can have a massive effect on your riding position.  

As the years have crept by, both Dante & Coco no longer belong in that “young Horse” category anymore, so I think its safe to say all of our excuses are well & truly out the window! While It is hard to let go of that small excuse it is an eye opener to see how much a young horse can damage your so called “perfect” riding position. The habits you pick up can be brutally painful to reverse. 

Drooped shoulders, which in turn puts my legs into a bad position not to mention my hands!

Step in one of my newly appointed instructors Anne Hatton. I have began doing lessons with her after seeing a great success rate in Orla, lets just say I am thrilled. It has been very refreshing to hear the focus in our lessons being put on me & not on my horse. From this. I realised how many bad habits I have picked up from the fear of Dante’s bad behaviour in the past, adjusting my ways of riding to suit him without realising, but now I am realising that my bad habits are nearly effecting us moving forward.

My position, This is something I struggle with BIG TIME. I have been focusing more on myself these last few weeks, I even took up Pilates in a hope to strengthen my core! We thought it would be a great idea to reach out to some of our fellow bloggers/equestrians & ask them their weaknesses, their tips & most importantly how do they maintain that “perfect” position?

Keep scrolling to see what they have to say! 

What are your tips for maintaining a good position in the saddle?

Amy & Katie – Smyth Breaking & Schooling

Smyth Breaking & Schooling – Amy: I find getting someone to video when I’m on the horse is the best way. Then I can pick up on any faults and work on them, while also getting someone else’s view. Practice, Practice, Practice!! Katie: my tips for maintaining a good position in the saddle is the allow your body to be supple and to move with the horse. You have to think of your hips down belonging to the horse whilst from your hips up belong to you. This means that you are allowing you horse to move under you while keeping your upper body in a quiet and still position. This has helped me mainly for canter work and especially trot work. 

Wild Atlantic Rider: There are many tips for checking your position but for me it’s really important to be self aware. I try to speak to myself when I’m riding the same way I would if I were teaching. I also believe in taking what you learn from your training sessions and actively working on them. We spend so much money on training and lessons, but unless you can take those tips and advice home and consciously implement them you’ll continue to slip into bad habits and will find it hard to improve and progress. 

Do you have any bad habits in either your flatwork or jumping position? If so, what have been your go-to techniques to get rid of them?

Smyth Breaking & Schooling – Amy: At the moment, I’m a terror for letting my reins get loose as I jump with one of the horses. You’ll sometimes hear me going round the course saying “shorten your reins”! I have a point on my martingale that I try to keep my hands above that point to work on improving this bad habit. 

Amy Smyth on Sully at Mullingar Equestrian Center

Katie: My bad habit in flatwork used to be that I relied on my outside to ‘pull’ the horse out more so than push them out with my leg. I’ve overcome this habit by carrying a short whip horizontally and holding it with my thumbs,  as that allowed me to be more aware of where my hands where and what I was doing with them. Leg yielding on both reins with my horses has got me to use my leg more. Circles were a great exercise to do whilst straightening my habit out. I was more aware of my outside Rein and had to use my leg more to get a better, more balanced circle. By working on my bad habit and constantly correcting myself every time I felt myself going back to using my outside rein, I have now buried that habit.

Catherine on her horse Giselle

Wild Atlantic Rider : With Flatwork – my biggest thing was focusing too much on the outline instead of getting my mare, Giselle, more forward off my leg. This was causing me to be too “handsy.” Last April I was lucky enough to have a lesson with Judy Reynolds who really got after me to ride her forward and getting a reaction, while keeping the outline – it was harder than it should have been!! This is something my dressage trainer has said to be before, but From that lesson I have focused on the feeling we achieved that day, that Giselle should feel like she’s pulling me forward into the contact. When it comes to Jumping – Giselle loves her jumping, and it can be very easy to let her take over sometimes. However, if I don’t keep a good forward rhythm in my canter I feel my lower leg can get loose. My heels come up a bit and my toes stick out. So for me, the biggest thing is to ensure that your horse is taking you forward and keeping a good rhythm in your canter so you can sit still and move forward and sit back when you need to. When the spokes start to come off the wheels, that’s when your position goes out the door!

Wild Atlantic Rider Top Tips: – Grid-work, put a few bounces and a line a jumps in front of you and you have no choice but to learn to sit still, keep in balance and keep your weight in your heel.And you cannot underestimate the power of working with no stirrups – for both disciplines. Riding off your seat, strengthening your core and improving your balance will help on all fronts.

Do you do anything out of the saddle to help with your work in the saddle? 

Katie of Smyth Breaking & Schooling

Smyth Breaking & Schooling Amy: I do yoga/Pilates to work on my core & balance. Then go for walks/runs to maintain a level of fitness. Everyone works on their horses fitness but a lot of riders forget about their own. Katie: Fitness is key. I keep myself fit so when I’m out competing I can hold my own position (esp out cross country)  and I can stay alert and focused for quick decision making out on course. By staying active during the day and keeping to a somewhat healthy diet this allows me to be on form for the horses.

Wild Atlantic Rider: At the moment, I don’t do enough! But anything that will improve and increase your own fitness level is a bonus. I used to swim a lot, I found that helped as it’s a lot easier on your joints, while making you use every muscle in your body!


Orla’s journey with her position…

Before my recent fall, I had been putting A LOT of effort into sorting out my riding position. There were a number of elements of my position that were really bothering me – my hands, my shoulders and my lower leg – and I knew they were having an impact on Coco’s way of going so I needed to do something to fix them. For so long, the focus was always on jumping so it wasn’t until I started my lessons with Ann that I suddenly had someone shouting at me nearly every step, “Look up!” “Don’t get handsy!” “Shoulders back”. And I’m not even exaggerating when I say it was literally every step. So I knuckled down and on Ann’s orders, I started taking a minimum 10 minutes of every riding session to just focus on me and forget about Coco. In those 10 minutes I decided to try something that was recommended by one of our followers on Instagram.

Not perfect, but definitely an improvement!

I noticed that the issue with my hands was actually coming from my elbows. They were too ridged and were causing my hands to move with my whole body when riding.

Orla’s Riding Tip: So to get a feel for how much my elbows needed to open and close,I pulled the saddle straps out from my numnah and tucked my baby fingers into them. By doing this my hands were stopped from wandering with the rest of my body, my reins stopped slipping through my fingers and I could get a real feel for how much my elbows should be opening in the trot.

I did this every riding session for a week and in that one week, my instructor could see the difference in my position. It was funny too, as once my hands were positioned correctly, the rest of my position came together and Coco became much more forward going. It’s like it all just clicked into place. I’m hoping that once I’m ready to get back into the saddle it won’t be like starting from scratch and I’ll still remember everything I had learned but only time will tell!


When I focus less on Dante’s “head” and more on sitting up tall, The rest of my position tends to fall into place!

Your riding position at the end of the day will be what you put into correcting it. There will be some horses that you ride that you will have to tweak certain aspects of your position to suit the horse, or some horses will quickly tell you how not to ride with their reactions. I find that riding different horses from time to time really is an eye opener to the way you move in the saddle & it gives you great feedback on what you should be focusing on.

Have you any specific tips or tricks that you swear by when it comes to improvimg your position in the saddle?

Recently I have come across a lot of Equestrian Biomechanics exercises that I know I will definately be giving a go to strengthen up some of my weaker riding habits.

As Always, thank you for reading & a massive thank you to Amy & Katie from Smyth Breaking & Schooling and to Catherine from Wild Atlantic Rider for your input on the topic. Be sure to head over to their socials & give them a follow!

Until Next Time,

Darielle

June Jumping Exercise – The Saucy Snake

Keeping things interesting, we pieced together this saucy little exercise! Incorporating some jumping while still keeping it quite technical. It gave both horse & rider some great results.

With the riding festival coming up this weekend, this is a great exercise to brush up on your tight turns, approach to fences and landing on the correct lead. Coco managed it tremendously well & well Dante ended up in abandonment after a fight broke loose!

Keep reading to find out what This “Saucy Snake” is all about!! 

The Set Up

You will need an arena or an open field to begin with, for set up you will need 4 sets of wings, 4 sets of cups & 11 poles. For the set up we kept all fences small, all standing at approx 50cm.  

The distance between the jump & the poles were measured with 10 generous footsteps either side. No striding was measured between the last two jumps. This is where your eye for a stride comes in to play!

 See below the diagram for how your arena should look. Be sure to clear out everything else in the arena as you will need all the space you can get especially if you have a bigger horse! 

What is The Exercise Good For? 

  • Letting your horse figure out the approach to a fence
  • Position over a fence
  • Maintaining a rhythm & keeping it consistant
  • Great practice for tight turns

Step By Step Guide On How To Ride This Exercise

1. As always, begin this exercise with a good warm up for your horse. Focus mainly on the canter, keeping it alive, active & bouncy. Once you are happy with your horse, that they are responding well to your aids then can you begin to piece together the Saucy Snake! 

2. Not to overwhelm yourself, or your horse, start this exercises by doing everything section by section. Starting with the image below, do this off either rein until you are happy that your horse is approaching the fence correctly & landing afterwards at ease, staying relaxed in the canter. 

3. Keep the jumps small, the aim of this exercises is to ride each part as if they are ground poles or canter poles. Your position over the small fence in the middle does not need to be dramatic, focus more on keeping a consistant contact the whole way through.

4. Once you feel comfortable with your horse’s approach, begin to piece more of The Saucy Snake together. Starting on a bend & moving over your diagonal, we found that this proved to be the most tricky line throughout the exercise. Riding Across the diagonal gives your horse more space to run, so sitting back and keeping your leg on, your horse held together & balanced is vital. Also looking up & around your arena. Looking down at the poles will not only cause your horse to run into them, but it will throw your horse off balance with you looking down over their shoulder!

5. Finally piecing the entire exercise together, the main focus is your canter, you need to keep it actively moving forward, energy behind but controlled (we don’t ask for much!) Begin the exercises as per the image below, starting at your curve, moving down the diagonal & then curving to the right finishing over your vertical on the long side. Sitting up & looking to where you are going is very important. Remember once you reach that first ground pole, your job as the rider is done until you reach the first stride when you land after the second ground pole.

6. Try to focus on using your body to direct your horse, with the aid of your legs, keep your hands quiet throughout the exercise. Remembering to look up look up look up!!! Opening your shoulders around the corners in the direction you are turning your horse also really helps.


This exercise proved to be quite difficult for Dante. I have managed to create a fear of turning right, when it comes to jumping & landing to the right, it is something I am working on, but Dante, being Dante takes every chance he can to gain that control. We didn’t manage to finish this exercise fully, due to his bad behaviour but Coco aced it. 

This exercise is definitely one I will be incorporating into my weekly routine, it really opens your eyes to the way you use your body around the course, and the control you really need in between fences!

Head over to our Instagram page to check out a video of coco smashing this exercise!

Let us know how you get on with this exercise, leave your thought & comments below & be sure to tag us in any videos of you giving it a test drive! 

Until next time, 

Darielle 

April Jumping Exercise – Bounce It Bitch

Our Exercises are back!!

Our ever so popular exercises are making a comeback. What better way to jump back into the thriving summer season. First up is one of my all time favorites, Who doesn’t love a good pole jumping exercise, especially when it comes with so many good benefits.

One that can definitely be added to the training schedule. Scroll down to find out what to do & how to ride it.

The Set Up

You will need an arena, or a field. You will also need 2 sets of wings with an additional 7 ground poles.

As you will be riding this exercise in canter, you will need 3.5 large steps between the ground poles that are placed between your two fences. These measurements are made for Dante he is a large horse so if you are riding a pony they may need to be adjusted to 3 footsteps.

As per the image below, Set up two Vertical jumps either end of the exercise, these are marked with a blue X in the images below! I kept these jumps small enough, with the max height being 90cm.

See image below for arena set up!

What Is This Exercise Good For?

  • Helps with a Horse That rushes through combinations
  • Better Compulsion in The Canter
  • Getting your Horse To Listen & Pay Attention to you
  • Improves your eye for a stride
  • Builds Muscle on The Hind End

Step By Step Guide On How To Ride This Exercise

  1. Begin by warming your horse up as you normally would for any jumping exercise. I always focus on transition work with Dante. This gets Dante really listening to me & my leg aids. Once I have him listening I focus on pushing him forward & collecting him back in the canter on each rein. This really helps when it comes to pushing him for the stride that is needed or holding him back when riding certain jumping exercises.
  2. Start by Warming up firstly over a Cross pole or a small vertical seperate to this exercise. You dont want to overwhelm your horse by jumping straight into an exercise like this! When you are happy with how your horse is jumping, then you may begin.
  3. Approach the beginning of the exercise in a collected canter, you want to have a good bit of energy in the canter on your approach. Keeping a tight contact, be sure to always look up & down towards the end of the exercise. Never look down at the poles!
  4. If your horse has not done an exercise like this before, be prepared for them to look at the poles as they jump through, some may over exaggerate and leap over the poles, so be sure to sit up so that you can keep yourself centered and balance through the poles.
  5. The most important thing to take into consideration while riding this exercise is the landing after your first fence. You really need to sit back up as tall as you can straight away, wrapping your legs around your horse, this will help your horse stay balanced, as well as keeping your horse straight as you ride to the last fence.
  6. Repeat this exercise until you are happy with your horses approach to the first & last fence, you are looking for the same consistant pace in the canter. Your horse has to use a lot of muscle to lift in front over the poles you will also begin to see a massive improvement with their lift over fences, giving you a well rounded jump.

Try not to go overboard with the height of the fences with this exercise. The exercise is focused mainly on your horses canter & consistant rhythm through the exercise. Fences that are too high may also have a strain on your horses muscles. especially if they are not used working

If you find your horse is rushing in to this exercise put a canter pole before the exercise, likewise if they are rushing afterwards.

If you & your horse have aced this exercise, try giving it a go without the ground poles in between, this will really test out you & your horse and let you know if they really learned what you were trying to teach them!

Let me know how you get on, and be sure to tag us in any videos of you attempting this exercise! Have a look at our Instagram to Check out Dante’s attempts! And remember, always reward your horse if they do something correctly!

As always, Thanks for reading,

Darielle