What’s In Your Arena? Five Exercises to Keep You Motivated This Quarantine Season

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!

Another Great Exercise for Eventers Who Have Nothing Left to Give

Graphic by Leslie Wylie.

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.)

Two questions:

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.

Werner Geven’s Circle of Hell

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.

A Grid with Limited Jump Standards

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.

Intro to Corners

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.

Lucinda Green’s Versatile V

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.

Go eventing.