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.
I’ve been on a real skinny jump exercise kick lately. Mostly because I’m always running late to set up jumps, and kicking a few plastic barrels and maybe some PVC poles out into the ring is easier than dragging out a bunch of clunky standards and heavy rails. As you know from previous editions of “What’s in Your Arena?” that I have authored because I didn’t get it together in time to enlist someone more qualified, I am the world’s laziest course builder. (See also “Wylie’s Short-on-Time Shamrock” and “Another Great Exercise for Eventers Who Have Nothing Left to Give.”)
Did I mention that barrels are cheap AND easy? Go splurge on a few via Craigslist.
The hard part, of course, is actually jumping them — but you won’t find a better test of accuracy, straightness and honesty. Princess the Wonderpony and I have built up to a triple combination of single barrels with V guide rails:
Next step is to take away the guide rails. The end game is for our skinny skillz to be so on point, I can just throw some random objects in the ring — a barstool, a step ladder, a mini-fridge, whatever junk happens to be lying around — and call it a course, Cadre Noir style:
But even those fancy French horses had to start somewhere. You can tone the triple barrel exercise down for greener horses by laying the barrels on their sides, a la a setup like this:
Remember to progress gradually so your horse understands the question. Here come Hadley and Amy, showing us how it’s done. The paint is a Bashkir Curly — how cool is that?
For more help building up your own skinny skillz, check out this Eventing video by Dom and Jimmie Schramm:
DO try this at home, EN! Go Eventing.
Do you have an exercise to share or is there an eventer you would like to nominate for the “What’s in Your Arena?” series? Email [email protected]