What’s in Your Arena? is an EN series sponsored by Attwood Equestrian Surfaces in which riders share their favorite jumping exercises. It’s easy to get stuck in a training rut, and we hope this will inspire you with fresh ideas that you can take home and incorporate into your own programs. Have an exercise to share? Email it to [email protected]!
The scenario: You get to the barn after work, your brain is in tatters and you have zero energy left in your body to set a course, but you really need to squeeze in a jump school. (Sorry to map the story of my own everyday life onto yours, but stay with me here, people.)
Do you have at least six jumps to work with?
Do you have approximately a 20-meter circle’s worth of decent footing?
If you answered yes to both questions, there is hope for you yet!
As you know, I am all about jump exercises that require minimal physical effort and mental exertion to set up yet are challenging and versatile for horses of any level (see also: “Wylie’s Short-on-Time Shamrock“). Here’s another good one for those days when life has reduced you to a human lump and/or you’re just plain feeling lazy:
Yep, it’s six jumps in a circle. That’s it. That’s all you have to set up unless you want to set up more, in which case knock yourself out. Feel free to squish them together or spread them apart depending on how much space you have to work with.
Here’s a little spin-around of the exercise with eight jumps as set up in my arena by Erika Adams:
As for how to jump them, I stuck some arrows on the graphic above to get you started, but the possibilities are endless: straight-across, bending lines, serpentines, angles, rollbacks … go crazy with it. It improves rideability in all horses but is especially great for know-it-all types with a tendency to jump into a line and take charge. The jumps can be poles on the ground or 4′ verticals. Take it one line at a time or keep threading your energizer bunny through the exercise for 45 minute straight. If you’re an instructor, a fun exercise (for you at least, if not your student) is to call the jump-out as they’re jumping in. So, lots of options. Whatever you want. You do you, EN.