What’s in Your Ring? 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.
This week’s edition comes from Erin Pullen of Go Big Eventing in Shelbyville, KY. Erin and her two-star horse Tag are off to a flying start in 2017, finishing second in the Open Intermediate at Poplar Place February H.T. and aiming for Chattahoochee Hills in April. She has several young horses whom she is readying to compete as well.
For me, the quality of my horse’s canter, his straightness and our pace are the keys to producing a flowing and fault free show jumping round. As a partnership we have been schooling to eliminate our mutual tendency to accelerate and rush through related distances.
To start, I set up two verticals, 72’ feet or 5 strides, with the jumps set at 2’9 to 3’. I begin by cantering the first vertical, then immediately ask for a halt, making sure that I sit into the halt and in a straight line. I rein back a few steps, maintaining straightness, then ask for canter, jumping the second vertical in six strides. I will repeat this exercise as many as a half dozen times until I can consistently do the exercise in a relaxed and obedient manner.
Next I raise the jumps to between 3’6 and 4’. Now the goal is to do both verticals in a smooth and flowing 5 strides. To achieve that, I carry a little more pace through the ends of the arena, as opposed to accelerating within the line.
Finally, I confirm the exercise by jumping a course remembering to keep the forward and quality of the canter through the ends of the arena. This exercise has improved my show jumping rounds by reducing my or my horse’s inclination to speed up through the line. (resulting in a herky jerky looking and feeling course, and not the flowing one I want. It also helps me relax through the course, reducing any tendency I might have to get too busy adjusting and setting up.If I do my part in maintaining a forward pace and keeping my lines straight, I can take a breath and enjoy the jump.
The same exercise can be modified for a lower level rider or young horse. Lower jumps can be set and can be trotted rather than cantered, but set to the same principles. Always making sure to do something organized and disciplined after the line, such as another halt.
Many thanks to Erin for sharing! Do you have an exercise to share or is there an eventer you would like to nominate for the “What’s in Your Ring?” series? Email [email protected]