I teach a small h/j/eq lesson program and we are using a very small indoor this winter. It really limits our jumping practice and our creativity in general. I am wondering what exercises others use to strengthen their riders over all position and strength on basically a 20m circle? We can do single fences but no lines or gymnastics etc. Any suggestions would be great!
I am interested in this Circle of Death but all I get are moto-cross, car stunt videos lol
The circle of death is when you have 4 jumps set up on a circle. Think of it like a clock with jumps at 12, 3, 6, and 9. The size can vary, the bigger the easier. To accurately jump all four jumps on the circle, with keeping the same strides in between is very hard.
It is great though for working of bending lines, lengthening/shortening strides...
From personal experience, it is very mean to put eight jumps on a circle though and set them up as bounces. VERY SCARY. your kids will probably never forgive you.
In a space of that size, I would focus primarily on flatwork, and specifically on transitions within and between gaits. When every horse and rider can execute perfect, invisible, balanced transitions every stride or two, from working trot to extended walk and from the extended walk to a collected canter and and so forth ... the jumping stuff will be a piece of cake.
Most riders cannot do this, or at least, cannot do this well. Yes, they can get a canter transition - but the hot horse jumps into the gait and inverts a bit for three or four strides, or perhaps the quieter horse swings a haunch out in the transition and trots a step first, etc. These are all things that are excellent areas to focus on during the winter months while working indoors. To really refine the aids and get the kind of prompt obedience to the aids that is ideal, you are doing transitions every few strides, so a lot of room is not required.
Be very fussy about position; the horse stays on the outside rein and is encouraged to fill it out with the rider's inside leg. You can do a TON of really useful work at the walk and trot to perfect this without needing much space or putting much stress on the horse. Work on creating balance and impulsion from behind, again with invisible aids. The horse needs to (learn to) be light and super responsive so the rider does not need to do anything obvious to effect a lengthening, a collection, etc, which takes discipline on the rider's part and very careful attention from the trainer.
********** We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
Thanks everybody! I have done the circle of Death with my more advanced students, they hated it like everyone has said but have begun to improve tons. I have started with the no reins and stirrups as well, these things work great. I have also been doing exercises such as posting on the correct diagonal for two then posting two on the incorrect diagonal to really get them working on stretching down and making that "transition" seamless. Any other exercises such as these?
Thanks to everyone so far!!