Between practicing social distancing and hearing of what feels like endless event cancellations, it would be easy to feel a little blue right about now. But eventers are made of tougher stuff, and we’ll come out stronger on the other side. To keep the momentum going, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite exercises that we’ve shared on EN. Set these up in your arena and enjoy!
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! Click here to read more.
Anyone who has ever ridden with Poplar Place Farm’s resident trainer, the four-star flying Dutchman Werner Geven, has likely been regularly subjected to his aptly named “Circle of Hell”. It is a staple of his program and an exercise he uses for horses at all levels. This exercise looks simple, but don’t be fooled! It is surprisingly complex and will help you develop a more independent seat, greater balance, adjustability and a keener eye.
“This exercise gives you the knowledge of where you are in front of the jump and how many strides it takes to get there at what speed,” Werner said. “It will give you independence from the horse and put the horse in a good balance. If people can do it well (in practice) they can find their striding every time (on course). If they can’t, they seem to find the unbalance and miss.” Click here to read more.
Grid work is a fun way to practice your horse’s footwork and your own position, especially in the winter when the footing outside the arena isn’t ideal (we’re knee deep in mud at the moment). Oftentimes grids require many standards and rails to build, however, and not everyone has that much equipment.
Lainey Ashker to the rescue! Click here to read more.
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#GOTD 🚨 I built this grid for those of you who have limited access to jump standards, poles and arena space! This exercise is great for not only teaching your horse to move his feet more tactfully but also creates a lovely round shape over the oxers! What’s best is that you can ride this grid from both directions and although the feeling is slightly different each create the same outcome! The theory behind the “short” two strides (33 ft.) is to allow the rider to get to the base of each oxer which then makes that ideal parabola shape over a fence. Now go enjoy! This is definitely a new favorite! #getyourgridon #LÆSQUAD
But every journey begins with a single step, and every horse that has ever sailed over a three-star corner was likely introduced to them with an exercise like the one featured in this video from Bernie Traurig’s excellent online training site Equestrian Coach.
In it, California-based four-star rider Olivia Loiacono explains the importance of introducing young horses to this obstacle in the correct way. She goes on to demonstrate the skills required for the successful negotiation of a corner jump, which remain the same whether it’s two-feet tall or nearly taller than your head! Click here to read more.
If you’ve ridden in or audited a Lucinda Green clinic anytime within the span of the past couple decades, maybe more, you’ve seen this exercise. The point, literally, is teaching horses to stay straight between the aids and hold their line, whether it’s back and forth across the point, jumped as a corner or one rail at a time on an angle.
It’s a Lucinda classic and suitable for horses ranging from green-as-grass to upper-level — and I’ve seen it throw a handful of FEI-level horses for a loop! For the inexperienced ones, the V end can be placed on a wee bucket; for the more advanced horses, it can be hoisted onto a barrel. Click here to read more.