Terrifying Cavalry Training Tips Part 2: Grid Work

In honor of Veterans Day and in the spirit of celebrating eventing’s military roots, each day this week we are republishing a section of Wylie’s 2015 series “Terrifying Cavalry Training Tips.” Yesterday we tackled down banks — today we’re hitting up the grid! 

Don’t try this at home, ya’ll! Source: Flickr/Nicki/Creative Commons.

Even back in the black-and-white cavalry days, everyone understood how essential gridwork is to the training of horses and riders. I mean, you never know when you’re going to run into a triple combination of barbed wire fences out on the battlefield, right?

As such, the cavalry took its gymnastic training very, very seriously. For the second in our series of cavalry inspired training articles, we’ll take a look at some inspiring grid ideas that you should absolutely NOT try at home. Kind of like Jimmy Wofford’s gymnastic training manual, but for people who are completely insane.

Here we go!

EXERCISE #1: Jump multiple horses through a grid at once.

#ProTip: This is a great one for busy professionals looking to squeeze the most out of their day.



Royal Army Service Corps, Britain, 1950. Source: British Pathe.

EXERCISE #2: Enlist a pyromaniac trainer to set one of the fences on fire.

Pro tip: While any old straw-swaddled jump will do, keyholes are ideal. Nothing keeps a horse straight like an open flame! Plus, the next time your horse encounters this type of jump on course, he’ll be thinking, “Well, at least it’s not on fire.” Just watch your head!



Royal Army Service Corps, Britain, 1950. Source: British Pathe

EXERCISE #3: Same thing but while threading the needle with other riders.

#ProTip: Just try not to run into one another, m’kay?



Metropolitan Police, Britain, 2007. Source: FEI World Para Dressage Championships

EXERCISE #4: Vault off and back on in between jumps.

#ProTip: Land in the saddle, not behind it, to avoid being bucked off and/or your horse hating you forever.



16th Light Cavalry, India, 1935. Source: National Army Museum UK.

EXERCISE #5: Jump a moving gridline.

#ProTip: Survive this and you’ll never bat an eyelash over a false groundline ever again.


Life Guards, Britain, 1932. Source: British Pathe.

Well, that’s all the time we have for ill-advised training exercises today. Stay tuned for part 3, coming your way tomorrow!

Go Eventing.