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

Exercise 3 – Grid Lock ft. Jump Start Showjumps

I am loving doing these exercises, the reaction is just amazing! I am trying to out do myself each time thinking up bigger, better & more exciting schooling exercises for you all.

I have seen a good bit of conversation lately on Grid Work, with that I decided to put together a simple yet effective exercise for you all to try out, one suitable for the experienced or beginner ride, it also comes with a string of benefits too for horse & rider.

We have a special addition to our exercise post this week let me introduce you to Jump Start Showjumps who have kindly gifted us 3 sets of their fabulous new Pole Raisers. I have incorporated them into the Grid Lock exercise, to show you how useful & amazing they are in your everyday training.

Keep scrolling to find out more!

The Set Up

For your set up, your arena does not need to be completely free. If you wish for your horse to be less distracted you can of course set your arena up with just the grid.

Your “Grid” will be set up across the diagonal of your arena. See the image below. You will need 3 sets of your Jump Start Showjump Pole Raisers, and 6 poles. If you dont have your Pole Raisers, you can use blocks yo raise your poles or you can alternatively use wings in their place.

The Distance between your first two raised poles is 10 footsteps. I also stacked two sets of Pole Raisers to raise the second pole a little higher. The distance then to your jump is one stride. To walk this out you will need 8 large footsteps. (This may need to be adjusted for pony strides!)

I also put a placing pole after the jump. This helped Dante with holding himself together a bit better after he landed. I walked out 14 footsteps for this, he has a big stride or 4 large footsteps. This can be adjusted as you jump your grid.

The Benefits of This Exercise

  • Improves your accuracy
  • Improves yours & your horses Rhythm
  • Improves riders confidence with jumping
  • Gives the rider time to put more focus on their position
  • Helps with Straightness

How To Ride This Exercise

As always, I advise that you do a good warm up with your horse prior to partaking in any of our exercises. For this exercise it was all about a consistant rhythm in the canter, whilst creating an active forward canter focusing on getting his hindend underneath him to create that energy I will need before I started on my grid. Once you are happy with how your horse is feeling follow the steps below to get the most out of our “Grid Lock” exercise.

Step 1: Start your grid by doing it in sections. Starting easy & building yourself up to the final hurrah! See the image to the right. Your first task is your two canter poles with one stride into your ground pole. Remember before you approach your grid get a consistant canter if you have to circle a few times, that is ok! On your approach remember that they are raised ground poles, a jumping position is not required. It is up to your horse to get over the poles, you are there to guide them! Remember to keep your contact consitant throughout, not to drop it once you reach the first pole. (yes that is my bad habit!)

Step 2: As you go through the grid a few times, try to focus on getting your horse to land on the correct lead change as he comes over the last pole. If you are having trouble with this, when you reach your corner as you land bring your horse to trot & then straight away ask them for canter on the correct lead. Once you are happy it is time to move on to some proper grid work by adding in some jumps!

Step 3: Leaving your ground poles on your pole raisers adjust your jump up-to a height that you feel comfortable with. Your horse will be used to going down this grid by now, when you ride down your grid again now with a jump being introduced, try to focus on your position in the saddle. Are you sitting up tall between poles, shoulders back? how is your jumping position? Also start to think about your horses straightness through the grid are they are veering to a certain side? Are they struggling to lift their leg over the fence? Well Lets complete this grid by adding in some V poles.

Step 4: The last step is to add in some V poles. I added them in to get Dante lifting his legs properly, and to help improve the shape he makes over a fence. He can be quite lazy at times, V poles make him concentrate that bit more & sharpen up his jumping. They are also great for horses that veer to the left or the right. To set them up simply place them either side of your jump, with the V forming n the middle of the fence as per the image below.

Step 5: Jump your horse down this grid until you are happy with their performance, I tend not to over do it with grids, I also up the height each time I jump down it so that Dante has something different each time. Remember this is a gymnastics exercise for your horse so they will be tired quicker than normal!

If you are having some difficulties with your horse or with their jumping, remember that especially if they are young they are still learning. Their bodies are getting used to all these new muscles & movements so don’t be too hard on yourself or your horse & do try not to over work them. Grid work is a great confidence builder for horses learning to jump or for youngsters. Keep things simple.


About Jump Start Showjumps Pole Raisers

Pole Raisers are a clever, easy to use training tool for you & your horse. They are used to raise ground poles during training session to help improve your horses flatwork. There are a string of benefits that will enhance your horses performance such as helping your your horse understand the placing of their legs, balance, co-ordination & helping them to concentrate during your training sessions. They can be used singularly or you can stack them also for more height if you wish.

The Quality – I can put my hand on my heart & say that the pole raisers certainly stood the test of time , they are 100% weather proof! I am slightly ashamed to say I literally left them out in hail, rain & snow over the weekend and they didn’t disintegrate or soften at all. I found them really easy to carry around the place, they are made from wood so you would expect them to be quite heavy but they are super manageable.

My thoughts on the product – If I had a euro for every time someone in the yard told me they were amazed by this product I would have at least €20 by now! I am super impressed. They are the perfect addition to any pole mad equestrian. They are heavy enough to not move out of place if your horse knocks the pole off likewise their is enough freedom for the pole to be able to roll off when your horse knocks, super important!

The price & purchase information – The value for money is outrageous! for a set of two the cost is €8.50 or if you wish to buy a set of 3 pairs they cost €24. Compared to some plastic items on the market I really couldn’t recommend them more. If you want to place your order get in Contact with John O’Toole by calling 086 7337925 or be sure to drop him a PM on Facebook.


This weeks exercise was one of my favorites yet. Let me know if you give it a go at home or in a lesson by tagging us in your videos, in turn if you have any questions dont hesitate to get in contact! Be sure to also follow Jump Start Showjumps on their Instagram page.

Be sure to head over to our Instagram page to check out Dante tackling this Exercise, He is a superstar!

Until Next Time & if you want to feature in one of our exercises or collaborate be sure to drop us a PM.

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