KPP sponsored event rider Megan Lynn shares some of her favorite gymnastic jumping exercises.
From the Team Have At It Blog:
Hey everyone! Since show season ended, my horses have had their break and I’m back to tuning them up for the new season. One of the things I find most helpful for sharpening up my horses after some time off are grids. Anyone who knows me and how I train, knows that I love me some grids. I’m a firm believer that you should do grid work at least every other week (this is if you’re jumping once a week). I like to do course work one week and grid work the next, especially with my young horses. I love trying a new grid I’ve heard about or read about and seeing if they are helpful. Here are some of the more successful grids I’ve used.
For the fast or rushing horse
Try 4 to 6 one strides in a row, with the exact same striding. This will teach the horse to keep the same size stride without speeding up or stretching out.
For the flat horse
Do LOTS of bounces. First start out with a trot in bounce at 9 ft apart and then try a canter in at 12 ft apart. I’ve found if you put three bounces in a row, set as 3 ft cross rails, that it really pushes the horse to use himself the most correct.
For the clumsy horse
I just keep mixing it up. Maybe do two bounces to a one stride, to a two stride. Or do a bounce to a one stride, to another one stride, to a bounce again.
Now I’m not saying these exercises will only work for these types of horses, because they’re all good for every type of horse. There are also good grids for flat work. Raised trot rails and raised canter rails can really improve the quality on your horse’s gaits as well. When you raise the rails it works on your horse’s coordination, knowing where his or her feet are, while forcing them to engage their hind end without much work from you as the rider. For me, I find that it forces Zeke to really think and be clever where he needs to put his feet. Beware though, the first time I tried this on Zeke he jumped all 4 trot rails at once, so don’t be afraid to build from one rail to another.
Until next time, safe rides!
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