A Bunch of Jumpy Jumps – February Exercise 2

This week I am going to introduce you to a jumping exercise! It did not originally start out like the layout below, but with some great arena help my original grid progressed into quite an interesting workout not only for Dante but for me too. I keep my jumping to twice a week, alternating between grid work and related distance work for the meantime, I certainly killed two birds with one stone with this exercise!

Keep scrolling below to see the layout and “how to” on this weeks exercise.

The Set Up

For this exercise, see the set image below. It can be used as a flat work exercise or a canter pole exercise if you wish, for the brave I suggest you introduce some jumps to the mix! The distances are on the image below, please also take not that the poles without any triangles beside them, were not jumps! I like to keep a variety.

As always, the set up below is made for a horse, measurements may need to be adjusted for smaller horses or ponies. I would 100% recommend having someone on the ground to assist with adjustments for this exercise.

How To Ride This Exercise

  1. As always, I advise that a good warm up is done prior to partaking in any of our exercises. For this exercise I focused on having a forward moving canter in my warm up, keeping an even rhythm around the arena, as this is what I will be looking to translate into this exercise.
  2. This exercise can be ridden in sections first before progressing to the entire exercise. I began firstly by tackling the grid. This is set up with trot poles on approach followed with one stride of canter between each fence. The aim here was to land on the correct lead and to keep a forward even rhythm in the canter as Dante landed. To put it simply no breaking into trot or not taking off in excitement after the second fence.
  3. There were a few times when he was landing incorrectly, this is when the pole at figure number 2 came in handy, and helped assist as the course progressed on. I used this pole as a base for a lead change across the diagonal.
  4. This in turn then set me up perfectly to continue on to ride my related distance. Marked number 3 & 4 in the image below. Here we ran into some rushing problems between the fences. It was a four stride, and there were times we were getting 3… Sitting up tall after the first fence and wrapping my legs around him began to help as we done it a few times. I also found that the more I continued on with fences and poles and the less I brought him back to a walk, or a time out for me, the better he became at flowing easily through the exercises.
  5. Before I introduced the 5th section of the exercise in I wanted to make sure he was travelling more smoothly over part 3 & 4. It was quite a sharp turn into number 5 with yet another lead change as we landed.
  6. Once I was happy with all parts of the exercise, it was time to finally piece it all together. I get fidgety and flappy though corner and in between fences, so this was the aim here to basically sit on Dante and let him travel to the fences, no rider interference! It improved a lot as I rode it a few times, but this is an exercise that I will definitely be doing again, the variety kept Dante always thinking and the sudden turns and changes made me the rider really concentrate.
  7. To test yourself even more as you familiarise yourself with this exercise, after you come over fence number 5, transition down to trot and bring your horse over the grid again, see if your horse really listens and reacts to your direction!

The Benefits of The Exercise

  • Improves your horses canter and adjustability
  • Sharpens up your leg changing aids
  • Stops your horse from Rushing
  • Improves co-ordination

Remember to always finish an exercise with your horse on a good, positive note. Once you are happy with how your horse rode this exercise, finish up, I always tend to leave the exercise up for 2/3 days in the arena and visit it again to see how we have progressed from the first attempt!

I love a good technical jumping session, and now with shows coming back into action over the next few weeks this will certainly keep you and your horse on your toes ahead of entering the show ring!

Be sure to give it a go for yourself & do tag me in any videos you take of you doing this exercise!

Darielle

ReinRite Exercise Series – The Turn Table

It has certainly been a while, writing up blog posts the last while has been something I have neglected, but I am back! You may have noticed that I have been using my reinrite products a lot in terms of bringing Dante back into fitness since lockdown. Before lockdown we rode in our ReinRite Training Aid once a week, this kept Dante on his toes, it also encouraged him to self carry properly.

I try to pre plan my exercises before I jump in the saddle, this way we get the most out of our training. Pole work is of course our number one focus. I came up with the “Turntable” exercise out of frustration of getting up and down and adjusting trot poles to canter poles and so on.

Keep Scrolling for the layout, the set up & how Dante rode it. Don’t be worried either if you don’t have a ReinRite Training Aid, the exercise can be down without also for everyone who prefers not to ride with Training Aids at all, I dont judge!

The Set Up

You will need a number of poles for the set up of this exercise, 7 to be precise. I also used my Jumpstart Showjumps Pole raisers to raise the poles, but they can be laid flat or you can use jumping wings if you prefer either.

See the images below for the layout in your arena. Preferably, I would have the rest of the arena clear to give you extra space to warm up.

The distance between the poles are as follows:

A = 2 strides, walking from the center of your poles, so 10 large walking footsteps

B= They are bounce strides, so I walked out 10 toe to toe footsteps.

The Benefits of Using Reinrite

  • Better Control over the poles
  • Can focus on your riding position in more detail
  • Your horse works correctly, and is encouraged to hold themselves correctly
  • I always find that while riding in the ReinRite it encourages me to hold the contact, without it on I have an awful habit of dropping it.

The Benefits of this exercise for Your Horse

  • Improves your eye for a stride
  • Control in the rhythm
  • Improves both horse & riders approach to poles
  • Works your horses hind end
  • Focus on the riders position
  • Bending & flexing your horse around your leg

How To Ride This Exercise

Step 1: As with all of our exercises, we recommend a thorough warm up before starting. This will insure that your horse will not pick up any injuries.

Step 2: I began this exercise in sections. Your aim is to get everything done in canter, but doing it in trot was the first step I took. Start with the curved poles. Trot around and over them off both reins, you are looking for a consitant flow in your horses rhythm. No stumbling over poles or half strides before. Once you are happy with the you can start bringing in you two outside poles.

Step 3: Continuing on from your curved poles, incorporate the two poles on the outside of your exercise. Again you are looking for a nice consistant flow with an even rhythm. Follow the image below, you will now begin to see why I called this the Turn Table exercise. Your horse is being constantly challenged in the direction they are moving! You should be able to count your horses “trot” strides between poles each time you ride from pole to pole. This is a trick I use for knowing when Dante is keeping a consistent rhythm in his movement.

Step 4: Once you are comfortable with the above, it’s time to progress to the canter. Ride the exercise exactly the same as in step 2 & 3 outlined above but only moving from trot up into canter. Once you are happy with how your horse worked, I gave Dante a short walk break to stretch out. It is nice to give your horse rests, and breaks to process the entirety of the exercise

Step 5: We are now moving onto our poles down the middle of the arena. This is the third part of this exercise, the last piece we need before we stick it all together. Picking up canter, ride into your poles as if they are not there, crazy I know but try it and see how it works! It is your job to ride your horse into the poles, it is not your job to lift your horses legs over them! So if they hit or knock then, just start again. Once you are happy with how your horse is working, you can then piece the entire exercise together.

Step 6: To piece our exercise together, I have put the image below as to how it works. Beginning by canter over your poles in the center, Turning left over your single pole which bring your around to your pole on the opposite side of the arena, finishing up over your curved poles. It sound like a lot, but it flows well once you get into it. It is a tough exercise so if your horse finishes well once on either rein I would finish off on that good note.


That exercise was quite a difficult one to explain considering the amount of turns it has, so if I have confused you work from the images! It is a very beneficial exercise and can be used to focus in on all those small things we want to improve in our horses way of moving.

Don’t forget, if you don’t have a Reinrite you can still give this exercise a go, it can be done with or without. If you want to simplify it slightly you can adjust the poles in the centre to trot poles and complete the entire exercise in trot. I always like to have variety in my exercises,I can never be certain with Dante’s moods so I try to cater for them all!

Let me know if you gave this one a try on your horse and if you did be sure to tag me so I can see!

Happy Riding,

Darielle

August Monthly Exercise #3 – The Bend & Flex

This weeks exercise was extremely challenging to say the least. There was quite a mixed review regarding doing a flat work exercise or a jumping exercise, so I decided why not do one that benefits both!

As Dante progressed through the exercise I could see a huge improvement so hopefully you all will see the same with your horses at home.

Have a read below, & be sure to give it a go, it has been one of my favourites so far as it was quite challenging, but then again who doesn’t love a challenge!

What you will need: 

8 poles, 8 sets of wings & a clear arena once the exercise is set up.

Bend & flex-page-001

 

Setting up this exercise, I will admit it looked like it was going to be quite difficult. I set it with 1 stride between each fence, walking out the stride diagonally across as per the image below. Bend & flex 2-page-001

How I measure Dante’s strides – one stride is 8 human strides/footsteps (2,4,2), two stride double is 12 human strides/footsteps (2,4,4,2), three stride double is 16 human strides/footsteps (2,4,4,4,2)

Note: The 2 at beginning are for landing, and the 2 at the end are for take off, remember Dante is a big horse so these strides may vary for a smaller horse or pony.

 

What this exercises is good for:

  • Flexability
  • Control
  • Practicing tight turns into jumps, great for jump off practice
  • Flying changes
  • Accuracy into fences
  • Working on consistency in your horses rhythm

How To Ride This Exercise:

  1. Start off by warming up your horse as normal
  2. Have the exercise set up as ground poles. I started by looping Dante over sections of the exercise in walk, then I began doing it in the trot. Trotting down over the first loop, and repeating it until Dante became comfortable and was flowing nicely, only then did I put the full exercise together, still keeping everything in trot.
  3. Repeat the same as above in canter once you feel comfortable. Start by riding the first loop in canter, then as you progress put the full exercise together. You should still have the poles flat on the ground at this stage. I found it quite difficult to get the turns after the fences in canter, so a lot of practicing was done to focus on  controlling his pace & keeping a steady rhythm through out the turns, this was absolutely vital for a correct approach.
  4.  For more of a challenge, I put the four fences up to cross poles, I would suggest keeping the fences low enough for this exercise, I wouldn’t put them any higher than 70/80cm. The point is to improve your accuracy & turns before & after fences, having them too big will make it way too difficult & could result in your horse finding it extremely difficult to turn afterwards.
  5. Use as much of the arena that you can when you are riding your circles after the fences, give you horse as much space as you can.
  6. Once they went up into jumps, I did the same as above, I rode it in sections before adding everything together. Remember to look where you’re going, turning your body in the air in the direction you want your horse to go, this will assist him with his leg changes. Focus on using your body and leg to direct your horse instead of trying to pull at your horses mouth.
  7. Once you are happy enough with jumping sections of the exercise loop everything together. Don’t worry if you break into trot between fences, push your horse on, sit back tall after the fences and use your body & leg to bend your horse around the corners. I rode this exercise twice, once off the left & the right rein, leaving him on a good note once he completed it correctly.

Be sure to cool your horse down for at minimum 5 minutes after completing this exercise. For a horse that wouldn’t be used to using his body like that, it will be very challenging on them, and if you have a horse like Dante that is willing to keep going regardless of his fitness make sure to let them have a good stretch letting them walk off on a long rein.

I would  recommend having ground help with this exercise, a lot of readjustments may need to be made, and getting up & down off your horse can be quite painful!

I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on this weeks exercise, be sure to keep an eye out next Sunday to see what Orla & Coco have to offer!

Thanks for reading,

Darielle 

 

August Monthly Exercise #2 – Work That Hind End

It’s week 2 of our August monthly exercises & this week Dante was put through his paces with  a simple yet very effective exercise all about working that hind end. 

Have a read below! 

What you will need: 

5 poles, 5-11 wings & cups (As you can see from my pictures I used the fence in the arena so I only needed half the amount of wings.

Someone to help on the ground with adjusting poles as you ride through the exercise. 

Working that Hind End image-page-001

What this exercises is good for:

  • Working & engaging your horses hind end
  • Control, pace & Rhythm
  • Straightness
  • Balance

How To Ride This Exercise:

  1. To start off I would recommend starting this exercises with 5 ground poles, placed 3.5ft apart (Dante’s measurements for a bounce, this will vary with a pony or a smaller horse, Dante is a giant!) After your warm up, approach the line of bounces in canter. Always aim to hit the center of the pole everytime, this will assist your horse with straightness & also keep him balanced. 
  2. Practice going through the bounce grid with flat poles on both reins, some adjustments may need to be done to the poles.

Tip: Keep your horse moving forward from your leg, and keep your hands soft and supple

  1. Once you are happy with your approach to the flat poles, to challenge your horse more, start raising each pole up into raised poles, I started gradually with every second pole working toward the full row of poles all raised, (I kept them in sequence of right raised left raised the full way through the grid. 

Tip: Dont be disappointed if your horse knocks or runs through the grid, with this exercise practice makes perfect, they are strengthening their hind end, this comes with time. Make sure you have a patient helper standing by to help assist with the poles for you.

  1. Dante got quite distracted coming in canter to begin with, so I approached it in trot a few times so he could get the hang of things. With some young horses this may overwhelm them coming into a big grid, so remember to sit up and  look straight ahead of you as you ride through the grid, using your leg to guide them through. 
  2. We finished off this exercise by focusing on approaching the grid from Dante’s right side, as this is his weaker side. We noticed that when we trotted into the exercise he would pick up a left canter lead as he felt more balanced on his left side. To fix this we only approached the grid on a right canter lead from the right rein, this made it more difficult for him to switch canter leads through the grid which forced him to remain on his weaker side, meaning this side was getting the workout it needed.
  3. As we progressed through the exercises to finish off, we raised the last pole of the grid to an 80cm straight pole, to really get him using his hind. 

Photo 11-08-2018, 11 42 34 (5)

No Rein Jumping

You may have noticed in some of the pictures that my arms are out to the sides and that I am not holding onto the reins as Dante goes through the grid. I practice a lot of no rein/hand work with Dante. He is a very sensitive horse, particularly in the mouth. Giving him the freedom of his head from time to time really helps him accept the contact whilst I ride him.

This exercise was the perfect excuse to jump him with that extra bit of freedom, it is the kind of exercise that doesn’t give him much space to run out or act up, as once he is mid exercise the only way out is by either stopping or completing it!

There are a lot of benefits to jumping with no reins – it perfect the rider’s position & tests how good you are at balancing for one, and secondly it really helps you focus on your leg position. 

If you are brave enough be sure to give it a go, but do make sure you have someone on the ground with you incase anything happens, and of course be sure you trust your horse enough to do it too, there are some horses where riding like this just wouldn’t be a safe option!  

 


 

Thank you for reading & be sure to comment any tips you have on working your horses hind end!

It’s definately one of those most sought after for exercises.

Darielle