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View Full Version : Circle of Death and other Favorite Jumping Exercises



Bellisima
Apr. 7, 2011, 01:01 PM
Long time lurker here finally deciding it would be fun to post!

It has been 8 long months without my horse but now that I am done my degree, I am moving my horse out to be with me. Can`t wait to start riding her again :)

I am looking for some new jumping exercises to work on. My mare is a little lazy and not as supple as she should be, so anything that would help there would be great.

I love the circle of death, but just need a reminder on what size circle to set it at. My coach generally had it at 4 strides between each jump.

So post away your favorite jumping exercises, how you set them, and what they help you accomplish!

xxreddxheaddxx
Apr. 10, 2011, 05:57 PM
the "circle of death" is a toughie! ive done the four stride one too but you could move them further apart if you are starting her back after not riding or something. jumping a plank on a fig 8 works well for mine and we use it on the quarter line so that we help his left drift with the fence to my right before the jump. also liked one where you have an oxer in the middle, and then bending line to right and left and same number of strides to alternate directions, also helps w/ changes. i also think using a skinny end jump helps a lot to get your horse really waiting for your next direction. good luck!

doublesstable
Apr. 10, 2011, 06:44 PM
I really like the jump (gymnastic) exersize that has been posted on these threads many times. It's great for the rider to learn to do "nothing" (in your two point - stay balanced, heels down, calf at the girth, stay straight and passive/feeling hands) over the jumps and the horse has to do it's job and think..

Ground rail ---------

12'

Cross rail XXXXXXX

9'

Ground rail ---------

12'

Cross rail XXXXXXX

9'

Ground rail -----------

12'

Cross rail XXXXXXX

9'

Ground rail ----------

shawneeAcres
Apr. 10, 2011, 06:58 PM
I just posted this exercise for someone on the eventing forum:

As far as exercises, set up a line of three to four fences. Make them about 48' apart, put a take off pole on first one, then a landing pole afterwards, then take off on second, landing pole afterwards etc on each fence. Now jump first fence, over landing pole and then circle out and around coming back between fence 1 & 2, then jump 2, land, circle, go to three etc. Most effective if you can put in a place that can circle either right or left and alternate as you go down the line. This helps the horse to learn to rebalance after the fence instead of pulling forward to the next fence

I have a variety of other things i work on, exercises using bending lines, rollbacks etc. One other I do is set a fence in the center of the ring, then along the side of the arena put 3 or 4 fences at related distances, 3 to a 1 to a 3 stride is nice, then "loop" thru the fences, i.e. jump up thru the middle fence ride to end of arena, nice smooth, balanced turn to the right (or left depending on the direction you are going), down thru the four fences, then turn right, back up over the middle, repeat. Then change direction and do it the other way. Helps you to learn to gallop to a single, bring horse back for a balanced rollback type turn (I make it reasonably tight, the fence in the middle is not set on the centerline of my 140' wide arena, but probably about 20 - 30 feet over towards the line of fences), then approach and find the "Right" dsitance for a related line with a combination, balance for the rollback and then gallop to the single again. It's all about teaching the horse to rebalance and adjust stride easily and without a fight, and about teaching the rider to sit UP thru the turns, use effective halt halts and ride nice straight lines.

Another one I like is to set four fences like the "circle of death, BUT when going to the right around the "circle" after each fence you turn the OPPOSITE way and make a circle, then proceed on straight line to the next fence, so like a "cloverleaf". I usually set cones at each "leaf" of the exercise and ask the rider to ride the circle around the cone. So going RIGHT you jump fence 1, then circle LEFT around the cone, meet the centerline to fence 2 as you complete your circle, jump fence two, circle left around the cone to the line to fence 3, etc. Again work on this both directions. Can also be used with just ground poles and be VERY effective!

LookmaNohands
Apr. 10, 2011, 09:22 PM
Get Jimmy Wofford's book on Gymnastics! Very helpful!

Why do you call it the circle of death? I think it is fun!

Jimmy calls it the cart wheel. Three jumps on a circle. I never actually strided it but in his book he has it "strided."

Great exercise!!
:yes:

chunky munky
Apr. 10, 2011, 09:38 PM
Sorry, but in the hunter world we do four poles/jumps and it is never called death. It is all about learning to find the jump. Shame to put a denigrating title to a learning experience.

AnEnglishRider
Apr. 10, 2011, 11:16 PM
We called it the circle of doom at my eventing barn... but I secretly loved it.

doublesstable
Apr. 10, 2011, 11:54 PM
Sorry, but in the hunter world we do four poles/jumps and it is never called death. It is all about learning to find the jump. Shame to put a denigrating title to a learning experience.


http://www.hunterjumperconnection.com/1/post/2011/2/first-post.html

airineek
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:13 AM
The website and blog referenced above, www.hunterjumperconnection.com is actually my website. There is a video there on the circle exercise which I jokingly refer to as the "circle of death" I like to spice things up a little, but really there is nothing death-defying about the exercise. It is an excellent exercise for coordinating the rider's eye with the rest of the aids and not jumping ahead, among other things. There are many variants of the circle exercise. It can be set with 2-4 jumps and the striding between fences can vary, but typically, the striding between all the jumps would be the same since you are riding on a circle. This makes it a versatile exercise for smaller or larger rings. The video in the blog is a rather cheesy home instructional video, I must warn, but does demonstrate how to set up the exercise as well as explain what it is used for. My trainer, Holly Stello, who is featured in the video, rode with Frank Madden through her junior years and I believe that she learned the exercise from him.

Another great jumping exercise that builds on the circle exercise (or Circle if Death, if you prefer :)) is the serpentine over jumps. You set three or more jumps side by and ride over them in the "S" serpentine shape. In this exercise, you must produce straightness to the jump and then be able to use your eye and other aids to shape your turn in order to produce straightness to the next fence. It is tough! Perhaps, if it is a useful tool, I can see if we can post a video of this exercise to the blog as well.

Bellisima
Apr. 11, 2011, 11:24 AM
Thanks for the ideas on some great exercises!

shawneeAcres, I love the cloverleaf one, although I have only done it with poles at trot and canter. Its great because you can control the size of your turn, and really get your horse relaxed and supple.

Also, I call it "the circle of death" lovingly, I was always happy when my coach had it set for lessons. It's just that it is a pretty tough exercise to master, especially when you are riding a greenie. Its an exercise that can always get harder, i.e. shorten the distance or drop your stirrups.

doublesstable
Apr. 11, 2011, 12:00 PM
The website and blog referenced above, www.hunterjumperconnection.com is actually my website. <snip>..... Another great jumping exercise that builds on the circle exercise (or Circle if Death, if you prefer :)) is the serpentine over jumps. You set three or more jumps side by and ride over them in the "S" serpentine shape. In this exercise, you must produce straightness to the jump and then be able to use your eye and other aids to shape your turn in order to produce straightness to the next fence. It is tough! Perhaps, if it is a useful tool, I can see if we can post a video of this exercise to the blog as well.

That's cool! I love these type of videos. Thanks for sharing.

shoponee70
Apr. 11, 2011, 01:20 PM
hahahhaa!! omg too funny.. love the circle of death phrase.. I hate this exercise -- mainly because my r ankle is wrecked and its a beast to keep
it on my mare when circling left.. trying to hold her on the circle w/ my outside leg.. after a lap or 2 it just does not want to cooperate anymore. ;( - getting old sucks! haha!

I call this exercise the 'circle jerk' hahhahhaha.. However, the next time my trainer wants to work on it, I think I will use your phrase -- way more fitting..

AllyandPete
Apr. 11, 2011, 09:09 PM
Haha...the Circle of Death... I LOVE to make my students do it...in fact I love to make my students do a lot of exercises I would not chose to do on my own :)

AllyandPete
Apr. 11, 2011, 09:10 PM
I call this exercise the 'circle jerk'


OMG :eek::lol:

airineek
May. 6, 2011, 09:48 AM
I just posted a new exercise in my blog. It's a video of the Serpentine Over Fences. I described it a little in post #9 and thought the video might be helpful for anyone who wants to set it up. It was my first time riding my own horse through it, and it's challenging! I think I like it better the the circle exercise, but it kind of builds on the circle exercise. It's a good one! Serpentine of Death, anyone?

Video here:
http://www.hunterjumperconnection.com/hjc-blog.html

shawneeAcres
May. 6, 2011, 10:26 AM
I also have another favorite exercise. It can be used for walk/troters over ground poles on up to horses jumping 3+ feet and will teach both the rider and the hrose a lot! BAsically I set up a circle of four jumps, the circle is about 100' across, can make it smaller but makes the exercise much more difficult. So there are four fences, north, east, south and west. Then, in between each fence is a ground pole, halfway between the jumps. I set the fences as verticals that can be jumped with way. (with the little kids, the "jumps" are poles between standards). Then I place four cones (as visual references for the student) in from the outer circle of jumps/poles, opposite each ground pole, about 35 feet or so. The exercise can be done at the trot or canter. Trot over a ground pole, circle around the cone, back over ground pole, then to the next jump, over ground pole, circle, over ground pole, to next jump etc. I have the students work on sitting IN the saddle in a "full seat" when making the circle, get in halfseat before and over pole and approaching fence, tell the "little kiddies" to get in two point over the "jump", then half seat over next pole, back to full seat for the circle, etc. This teaches a variety of things. 1) the importance of the type of seat depending on what the job is for balance purposes, 2) how to negotiate a circle and then use the OUTSIDE AIDS to straighten the horse (so many riders "haul" on inside rein, causing horse to run thru shoulder, prop fence or runout), and how to keep a consistent pace thru the exercise. After doing this exercise each direction a few times, I thn let them just do the outer circle of poels/fences WITHOUT the circles concetrating on pace, rythum and straightness. Also you can vary this exercise, starting, for example, going right, go over pole, circle, over poles, jump, over pole, start a circle THEN in the center, change direction, goingnow to the LEFT over pole, circle, over fence, over pole, start circle, change direction thru center etc. Or can do a couple fences one direction with or without circles, change direction etc. REally can get several days worth of progressively harder exrecises out of this setup!

Janet
May. 6, 2011, 11:29 AM
Why do you call it the circle of death? I think it is fun!
I have always assumed that it is called the "Circle of Death" by analogy with the motorcycle/circus stunt of the same name.

The motorcycle stunt involves a vertical cylinder, maybe 15 to 20m diameter (could be way off on the size), and constructed so you can see inside it. The stunt rider, on a (usually small) motorcycle, rides around the inside wall of the cylinder. The (relaticely low) speed is sufficient to create enough centrifugal/cnetripedal force to keep the bike stable as it whizzes round at a seemingly impossible angle. More complicated versions involve two (or more) bikes going in opposite directions, or a sphere instead of cylinder.

Once you learn the technique, and get over your "common sense" that says it won't work, it is a pretty straightforward stunt, and not dangerous at all. But, of course, they CALL it "circle of death" to make the spectators THINK it is something "death defying".

If you google
circle of death motorcycles
there are lots of videos.

Janet
May. 6, 2011, 11:32 AM
. Shame to put a denigrating title to a learning experience.
Nothing denigrating about it at all. it is a humerous reference to a well known (at least I THOUGHT it was well known) motorcycle/circus stunt.

sthomas
May. 6, 2011, 01:12 PM
OMG Janet

I just got the funniest image of a horse galloping around in a cylinder.

KitCat
May. 6, 2011, 05:46 PM
My trainer had me do one last summer that I really liked but was quite tricky to do perfectly on a headstrong, smarter-than-many-humans OTTB...

- Two diagonal lines that can be jumped either way and form an X ... we did it as 4 stride lines ... with a cone dead center.
- jump in, go around the cone, and take the other line's fence that's on the same side of the ring as the first one then circle around to take the ones on the other side. (aka a to b to c to d)
- playing with the distances of the lines will make it easier or harder

a/_______\d

_____x

b\________/c