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Jumper plans and schedules.... Feedback requested.

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  • Jumper plans and schedules.... Feedback requested.

    I am coming to you all for a little scheduling and long range planning advice.

    Lad and I are doing well in the 1.10 meters and I wanted to run my idea of my gameplan by people who "do" show seasons and not event seasons and see if I am missing anything.

    We are planning to stay at 1.10m with a possible dally into the 1.15 territory for the next 2 months or so as I get used to riding "bigger" courses again. (Have been firmly in the 3'+ area of schooling and playing recently and took a sabbatical from showing in all of 2010-Summer 2011. But did compete for 7 years at Prelim level (3'7) of eventing and higher 94-2001. Did amateur jumpers in 2003 up to Level 4. So the knowledge is all there.... just have to find it, dust it off and shine it up)

    I am full well aware that we won't be super competitive in the jump offs as Lad gets stronger and more nimble with more flat work and hill work. But again it goes back to getting mileage and gaining as we go.

    Ideally I think we can hit 1.20 meters by fall. But if we're not schooling it well at home, it'll be put off to 2013 or never based on what Lad tells us. It's meant to be a goal for both of us, not an end all be all.

    I am in the process of scheduling a tune up lesson with Laura Chapot, she loved Lad last fall and I liked her style. I have worked with Joe Fargis and some local trainers before.

    I know "pros" shouldn't need to ask for advice, but I am a pro who hasn't competed in this discipline at this level with this horse. And it's been 9+ years since I have done all this. So I am asking for a little view from the outside.

    There are pics of Lad from the Tb Celebration show at 3'7" two weeks ago here:



    And my favorite......


    Lad has white on his face, Petey is my 4 yr old... so he should be distinguishable from Lad.

    Many thanks for looking.

    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

  • #2
    Cute boys!

    I don't see any problem with your plans. I have a similar goal for my coming-5yo. He went to his first show in April at 1.0m and we moved up to 1.10m in May. My hope is to have him in the YJC 5yo classes (1.20m) by the end of the year. Though I have the same caveats (i.e. it's a "goal" that will be heavily influenced by common sense about where he's at).

    I think we tend to dwell too much on fence height when it doesn't really matter all that much to your average scopey horse (at least when you're talking about something like 1.10m vs 1.20m, a 4" difference).

    Good luck to you and I hope to see pictures of your journey!
    Flying F Sport Horses
    Horses in the NW


    • #3
      Great looking horses! Good luck with them.

      From the looks of things, Lad will be super in the 1.20s.
      Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


      • #4
        I think your plan sounds great and is right on track. For at home I would start with gymnastics. Re introduce yourself to the height and build confidence before delving right into coursework. Since you've done the height and are well educated it's a lot about just getting that feel back.
        There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
        inside of a man.

        -Sir Winston Churchill


        • Original Poster

          See I agree 100%. We're good at coursework but I don't want to pound his legs, so I do believe gymnastics are the way to dabble at the height more without over jumping him. And I have no fear of the height, just trying to re acclimate my eye and body positions.

          That said, can anyone suggest a good grid?

          My mind is thinking an x 21 ft to a swedish oxer (to catch his attention) then 2 strides to a bigger parallel oxer might be the way to go. I have my handy dandy Wofford book of Gymnastics and have been perusing it "Ooooo"ing and "Ahhhh"ing.

          Any additional thoughts?

          Many thanks for all the kind remarks. They're both very nice boys!!

          "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


          • #6
            Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post
            See I agree 100%. We're good at coursework but I don't want to pound his legs, so I do believe gymnastics are the way to dabble at the height more without over jumping him. And I have no fear of the height, just trying to re acclimate my eye and body positions.
            I think gymnastics are mostly good for 2 things:

            1) teaching a horse to jump gymnastics
            2) helping a rider with riding/balance/technique issues
            and to a much lesser degree (and related to #1): 3) helping a horse with specific technique issues

            I think the absolute most helpful thing you can do for a horse's technique is ride a single fence in a particular way. It just requires a lot more riding and input from the rider, and for a lot of people it's easier to use gymnastics in place of that.

            Additionally, you won't be seeing them in the ring, so I think that if you're planning to course around a 1.20m course you need to be playing around courses (i.e. single and/or related fences) at that height. Don't get me wrong, gymnastics can be a great way to do the height the first couple of times if the idea of cantering up to a 1.20m oxer makes you nervous. But I wouldn't equate being able to go through a gymnastics at that height with being able to do a course. And IMO, gymnastics = more "pounding" on the horse than jumping courses/single fences.

            In regards to body position.....you shouldn't have to change anything from 1.10m to 1.20m. It's an additional 4". Your horse could, of course, be an exception, but the average horse doesn't change much in terms of style and jump from 1.10m to 1.20m.

            The way I typically bump my horses up is by building a 4 or 5 stride line and increasing the height and spread on the out fence. Having a related distance that I don't have to think about helps MY confidence and I still get the ability to have input as though it is a single jump.

            Good luck to you!
            Flying F Sport Horses
            Horses in the NW


            • #7
              Emily I wish you were closer!!! I'd say come play in the Jumper Ring at Deep Run with us!!!
              Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
              Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
              Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
              Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook


              • #8
                I agree with the above poster. I more just suggested gymnastics as a starting point. Follow the progression of flatwork, gymnastics, related distances, to course work.

                You have the flatwork down I'm assuming.

                As for the type of gymnastics I prefer trot in to a bounce with two tall cross rails, 1 stride verticle, 1 stride oxer. I usually start with just the bounce and build it each time. Do just the bounce twice. Add the verticle. Add the oxer. And then increase the height gradually (usually about 3 times for me...increase once, increase to max height second time, and then do it at the max height again to fix straightness etc.) It's inviting, only takes 2 or 3 times to get right (if your horse is used to gymnastics), and presents all the elements to build confidence. Maybe switch the oxer and verticle if preferred. My horse is super with his front end but weak with his hind end so I like having a big square oxer for him to have to really try over at the end. If you're horse is bad with his front end put a tall airy verticle as the last jump. I don't think that is over jumping at all. Gymnastics is the sole focus and if you total up the jumps is about 21 jumps at most. That's the equivalent of one day at the horse show in the jumpers (2 courses with ~12 jumps a course), it's on a straight line, and isn't all at the max height. Plus it's not wasted jumps. Your horse is learning to be straight, jump correctly, and you are both building confidence.

                After 1 solely gymnastics jump school move on to singles and related distances but keep the gymnastics fully built (and a friend close by to put the height up). I would "warm-up" over the gymnastics, but build it quicker (only going through it by itself about twice). Maybe start with the bounce and verticle and then add the oxer. Then set the gymnastics to 1.20m and add elements of a course on the end. So...go through the gymnastics at the height (on quarter line or something), go to a single oxer on the diagnal, 4-6 stride line on the outside, and a roll back to single verticle on the end of the ring. That's just an example, but you get the point. End with that or fix only the parts that you didn't like.

                The next jumping session I would go straight to singles and related distances. Work on a single first at the height you want (after warmup jumps of course!). Do what ever your horse needs to work on. For my horse it would be big oxer with approach and landing rails (remember this is at home!). Then move on to the course. Mix in 1.10-1.20m. Maybe having the 1.20m jumps be the big oxer at the end of a bending line or the tall verticle single on the diagnol. End as soon as you have a good course. No need to fully build the height immediately.

                Next jump school just warm up, go straight to the course work, adding more height. Then set them all up to height and do a full course. Again fix only the elements you didn't like.

                After that go back to jumping small and work on difficulty. Maybe put the jumps up once or twice before you go to the show where you expect to do 1.20m (which I don't recommend to be your first show but I think you already mentioned your "show plan")
                There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
                inside of a man.

                -Sir Winston Churchill


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by woodhillsmanhattan View Post
                  After that go back to jumping small and work on difficulty. Maybe put the jumps up once or twice before you go to the show where you expect to do 1.20m (which I don't recommend to be your first show but I think you already mentioned your "show plan")
                  Awesome info everyone. And greatly appreciated. Kind of a "DUH" moment when I realized all my experience in jumpers was residual showing, success etc from Eventing instruction. I have had success and I got jumper people to help me "here and there" but never in a dedicated consistency of "ok here's what you need to learn, school, train" to do well in jumpers.

                  So hey luck has been very good to me. LOL. And I think now I want some real education to round out what has heretofore been just gut instincts.

                  Yea see the show schedule is another issue altogether. Simple problem really. Pros who do jumpers are assumed by the show schedulers, to be actual full time equine workers. And so the divisions I should/want to show in happen during the week. One catch.... I am an office manager. LOL. I teach lessons on weekends and during the week as needed but my bosses are very tight and we have no set vacation time. Worse, I have been shifted to hourly pay so if I am not there, I am not making money. Sooooo I show on weekends. And that has taught me to look far and wide for schooling, lower rated, or shows that have at least 3 classes on a weekend at our height.

                  Thankfully I am in the right corner of the world so I do have options. And hey schooling shows don't have near as many fees and the courses are just as fun.

                  Last edited by Xctrygirl; Jun. 21, 2012, 07:45 PM. Reason: Spelling
                  "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries