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!


Product Review – Jump Start Show Jumps

Spring is officially here and having some bright, fun & colourful poles around the arena was a must for everyone in the yard this year. Not only to help with schooling, but to give the horses something new to look at & get used to.

Originally we had 5 poles on hold with another company, but due to a misunderstanding & maybe I forgot to press send on a text message…. long story short we lost these poles & were left sourcing from elsewhere. So step in John O’Toole, owner of Jump Start Show Jumps.

From start to finish he was a dream to work with, keep reading to see how we got on…

Who is Jump Start Show Jumps?

An Irish brand, that specialise in creating & making horse jumps. The man behind everything, John O’Toole, has been a pleasure to deal with, extremely accommodating and super efficient. Based in Rathangan Co. Kildare he creates & makes everything himself, collecting your poles is hassle free & delivery of your poles can also be arranged if needs be.

All of their fences are made from imported timber, using strong joints and come complete with plastic caps on the ends to protect from damage. John offers a beautiful range of poles with an array of bright eye catching colours. Something for everyone to work with.

Welcome to Pole Heaven

What we thought?


John very kindly gifted us a pair of cavaletti’s to test out & review. We were thrilled, as anyone would be. When we got back to the yard after picking everything up, we made setting up the cavalettis a priority.

Please note that these are NOT John’s Poles!

It is safe to say I don’t think we will ever go back to blocks or potties after using these! For starters we had an even height to our poles throughout the exercise & secondly the thickness and weight in the cavaletti made sure that they stayed put & upright even with a few knocks from the horses struggling to lift over them.

The finish on each cavaletti is immaculate. We are planning on painting them with our logo over the next few weeks. They can come painted or unpainted depending on your preference.

Show Jumping Poles

A few of us in our yard chipped in to help pay for two blue & white poles from John’s new aluminium range, two black & white & two unpainted wooden poles. To start, the paint finish was top spec. Not a scratch or a chip on anything even after we may or may not have hit them off a few things putting them into the horse box. Originally we were going to paint the two unpainted poles, but after we set them up in the arena, they looked way too perfect as a rustic fence, so we are going to leave them unpainted!

To jump, they were very stable. As some of you may know Dante is known for demolishing courses but the small taps they got during our test run didn’t leave a single chip which was a win. The poles are heavy but not unbearably heavy so they’re not too much of a hassle to clear off afterwards.

We honestly couldn’t recommend them enough, and at John’s price they are extremely affordable, making it possible to build up an impressive collection over time.

What Else Do they Have?

It’s not only poles & cavalettis that John has on offer at Jump Start Show Jumps. He also has a wide selection of Cross Country & Working Hunter jumps available. Some that are certainly on our wish list to purchase over the summer. His XC jumps are also movable, something that was a selling point for us! He also has a selection of fillers available. Some can be made upon request, or you can chose from his selection on offer.

A wide range of childrens jumps & wings are also available. We thought this was a fantastic idea and great as a Christmas or Birthday present. Something for them to call their own as they start off their horse riding careers!

Custom Made Fences for Greg Broderick


At Jump Start Show Jumps they offer a complete custom made service for companies or yards wishing to design their own personal fences.

Recently they created beautiful loose jumping barriers for none other than Greg Broderick, along with some custom-made fences. If you have any ideas that you are unsure of or think it may be impossible for it to come to life, do give John a call, some of his jumps are creative masterpieces!

New 2019 Additions

Square & hexagon poles. They seem to be getting more popular amongst equestrians. John has a new collection of 3 & 3.5 metre hardwood hexagon and square poles, they come in a various selection of colours. These are genuine hardwood poles made of iroko timber and finished in a satinwood. Unlike some copies in softwood (cedar, larch etc which are a softwood) John’s hardwood poles have substantial strength and are made to last.

The Price Range

  • Painted Poles – €38 per pole
  • Unpainted Poles – €17 per pole
  • XC / Working Hunter Jumps – €200- €325
  • Cavalletti Unpainted – €30
  • Cavalletti’s Painted – €35
  • Square Poles (3m) – €70
  • Square Poles (3.5m) – €75
  • Hexagon Poles (3m) -€90
  • Hexagon Poles (3.5m) – €95
  • Uprights with metal strips only €120 per pair

Some Jumps On Our Wish List

Check out Orla’s demonstration of how to ride the cavaletti’s!

Although we got some products free of charge we were not paid to do this review. All of our reviews are from our own honest opinions

If you are lucky enough to own some fabulous new poles from the collection, be sure to look after them. Store them upright and side by side to keep them clean. This will also stop anything from rubbing off them or chipping against them.

We hope you enjoyed this review as much as we did, it is safe to say we certainly have started saving up for more jumps from John.

If you are interested in ordering anything, or have any questions regarding customizing your own make sure to give him a call on 086-7337925 or send him a direct message on facebook. Be sure to also keep up to date on their Instagram page!

As always thanks for reading,

Darielle & Orla