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cruel and unusual equitation exercises

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  • cruel and unusual equitation exercises

    My barnmate and I have recently instituted Butt Kicking Fridays. Since neither of us are working with a trainer at the moment due to our horses' lack of fitness (both have had a LOOOONG time off until recently!) and our lack of funds, we help each other out each week by being the other's "eyes on the ground," and being the Voice of Discipline when it comes to doing no-stirrups work and really concentrating on effective position. We have a TON of fun and it really helps to have someone else say, "Hey your leg is a little loose, get up in 2-point!!" or "You're sitting crooked. Lift that left shoulder!"

    Does anyone have any favorite exercises to share?? My friend is working mainly on keeping a balanced seat and strengthening her core and leg. I have some good ones up my sleeve, like up-up-down posting, lots of transitions without stirrups, and varying degrees of 2-point position, but new ideas are always a good thing!
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


  • #2
    Love the Up-up-down excercise.... do a two point and then hold your arms away from the neck on each side (really good for the core) so your middle is doing the holding and not the hands for balance. And you can also add - close and open your hip angle slooowwwlllyy very controlled.

    Can't wait to hear some of the other ideas too!
    Hunters, Jumpers, Equitation and Ponies
    Don't practice until you do it right, practice until you can't do it wrong!


    • #3
      Warmup at trot with one hand: on helmet, to the side, held in front, behind back. Repeat in two point. Bareback: bicycle (alternate lifting each knee up so thigh is parallel to ground), scissors (lift legs completely off barrel, close again).
      "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

      Phoenix Animal Rescue


      • #4
        At the trot, post 7 strides, 2-point 7 strides, sit 7 strides (without stirrups).
        Reasons I'm crazy, #37: I went out shopping for a pony and came home with a 17hh OTTB
        ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by Twigster View Post
          At the trot, post 7 strides, 2-point 7 strides, sit 7 strides (without stirrups).
          Oh that is brilliant. Love it! Will DEFINITELY add that one in!
          Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique



          • #6
            Besides up-up-down there is down-down-up and variations of both. Some riders get sloppy with the down-down-up exercise and kind of collapse. Also counting strides on the various sides of the ring - normal is say 12 strides - next long side do 14 - next long side do 10 - vary - do in 2 point which makes the adding strides harder. Also figure 8s and serpentines where you have to get the same number of strides in each loop, etc.

            These are thinking exercises that help supple both you and your horse.


            • #7
              Ones that I hate/love:
              1) Putting heels in the stirrups instead of the balls of your feet. Helps you learn to keep weight in your heels.
              2) Take one full lap of the arena to lower into jump position ever sooo slooowly - hold it one lap - then take one full lap of the arena to open from jump position.
              3) Maintaining a consistent rhythm, ride the canter 4 strides in two point, 4 strides in full seat/three point, repeat.
              4) Spiral in/spiral out both directions at a sitting trot no stirrups (no leaning or collapsing!)
              5) Ride all gaits with one stirrup working on symmetry side to side.
              6) Hold the crop across your horse's withers in both hands with the reins. Keep the crop perpendicular to the angle of your horse's shoulder so that it is pointing at the wall and the center of the arena. This teaches you how to better coordinate your inside and outside reins through the turns.
              7) If you both ride together follow the leader is fun - you each get 2 1/2 minutes to be the leader then switch places. Great for getting horses to work in close proximity. Allows you to see one another's side-to-side balance and if one is leaning.
              8) This doesn't necessarily work on eq but if it is just the two of you another fun partner "game" is to stay exactly across the arena from one another at all three gaits. You have to really rate your horses so that you are exactly hitting opposite corners at the same time. You should be in the middle of the long side at the same time, middle of the short side at the same time, then start to add quarter tracks and circles with transitions.

              I am looking forward to reading everyone's posts!


              • #8
                My instructor's latest method of torture is posting and two-point w/ ONE stirrup (an switching which is the one ) - I find it WAY harder than no stirrups.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lizrd View Post
                  Ones that I hate/love:

                  5) Ride all gaits with one stirrup working on symmetry side to side.
                  this can almost be harder than no stirrups i think! i have one leg that moves more than the other & the exercise is the only one that helps!

                  idk if anyone has said this one yet, but i like to bridge my reins (in outside hand) and hold my other arm's forearm across the small of my back. really makes you sit up straight and not lean (as long as you sit up straight and don't lean)


                  • #10
                    Hold your two-point through Trot, Walk, Halt, Walk, Trot etc... especially during the downwards transitions people tend to lose their position (and pretty much collapse into a sitting position) and through the upward transitions makes you really use your leg. It also works if you're horses aren't super fit because you can do quite a bit without over doing them.


                    • #11
                      Ive got a cruel one for you..

                      My trainer makes us do "jockey position". We put our stirrups waayyyy up so that the top of the iron almost touches the bottom of the flap. We have to get our butts out of the saddle and keep our backs parallel to the ground (somewhat like a jockey would). We trot laps and she times us for 6 or 7 minutes each direction. Literally TORTURE. But it kills the abs, butt, and thighs


                      • #12
                        double posting, and posting the canter with no stirrups
                        "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


                        • #13
                          Detach the stirrups from the saddle and buckle them together so it's a big loop... one part goes in front of the pommel and one on the seat, so you can still put your feet in the stirrups, but they're not attached to the saddle anymore. If you lean the tiniest little bit you go a-slidin'. My trainer's really loved that one lately.
                          "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                          Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                          • #14
                            practice transistions (walk to trot, walk to canter, canter to trot, canter to walk) with no stirrups.

                            do lead changes with no boots on, it's awful. But it taught me to keep my heels down when asking for a lead change


                            • #15
                              OMG STOP, STOP!!

                              I am having FLASHBACKS!!

                              I did all this stuff YEARS AGO!!

                              OMG! OMG! OMG!

                              Where's my boxed wine?

                              OMG, OMG. . . !


                              • #16
                                Bring both knees forward of the knee rolls in front of the saddle . Stay in balance in the walk, trot & canter.
                                I have many more but you have to pay for a lesson to find out.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by LookmaNohands View Post
                                  OMG STOP, STOP!!

                                  I am having FLASHBACKS!!

                                  I did all this stuff YEARS AGO!!

                                  OMG! OMG! OMG!

                                  Where's my boxed wine?

                                  OMG, OMG. . . !

                                  Boxed wine :two thumbs up:


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by dp1092 View Post
                                    practice transistions (walk to trot, walk to canter, canter to trot, canter to walk) with no stirrups.

                                    do lead changes with no boots on, it's awful. But it taught me to keep my heels down when asking for a lead change
                                    No boots on? So barefoot?


                                    • #19
                                      Spiraling in and out at the canter, without stirrups, is another good one.

                                      Are you jumping at all? It's fun to set a bending line (doesn't have to be big—can be cross rails or even poles on the ground) and work on riding it as 3 strides, 4 strides and 5 strides. Gives a great understanding of how track can affect pace.


                                      • #20
                                        This one truly is cruel and unusual, but it WORKS for people that have this problem:

                                        When I was about 14, I rode with a trainer that had absolutely.zero.tolerance for looking down, EVER. After a particularly vocal few minutes during which we (a gaggle of giggling teenaged girls, the night before shipping off to a decent-sized horse show) couldn't stop looking down for whatever reason, trainer broke out the duct tape.

                                        A tiny strip of duct tape on the back of your neck will REALLY, REALLY demonstrate just how often you look down at every single point during your ride. Of course, you can remove it with rubbing alcohol after you're finished (no need for that kind of torture!).
                                        Here today, gone tomorrow...