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oxer issues and grid work suggestions

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  • oxer issues and grid work suggestions

    Backstory... we got in a new guy at the beginning of summer. He had been jumped very lightly before but had a lengthy time off, a year or more (not due to any type of injury but due to previous owner's personal issues). Once we bought him we spent a couple months working on basics, improving fitness, getting in some show experience in the 2'6"- 2'9" hunters (he had never been shown before), getting lead changes, etc. We also show in dressage (1st and 2nd level) which has significantly improved rideability.

    Now we are moving into the jumper ring and need to begin some more 'sophisticated' jumper education. This horse has lots of scope (been free jumped to 5'+) and often over jumps (we are currently showing in the little 3' jumpers). He is now adjustable enough that he will ride to the base of a vertical and has gotten pretty good with those.

    The problem: Oxers, especially wide, rampy ones, are challenging for him. He does not like to get very close at all to the base of them (or what would be considered a "normal" distance). He likes to jump from farther out, over jump them by a foot or two at the apex, then land far away. So essentially he just makes a REALLY big arc. This of course makes lines and combinations VERY challenging, not to mention he spends way too much time in the air to be efficient on the clock.

    I am thinking about working with him over some grids to encourage him to move in closer to the base. Maybe vertical-one stride- oxer- one stride- vertical. Hopefully the deeper distances will tidy up his front end. When he over jumps he tends to hang his legs a bit. Of course, we aren't in danger of knocking any rails but it would be nice for him to learn that he can pick up his feet rather than launch his entire body.

    Any grid work suggestions? Anyone else struggle with over jumping oxers?

  • #2
    I'd be really careful putting an oxer in the middle of a grid on an overjumping horse who backs off the base. Generally, a grid backs off a horse even more. On one that backs off on its own, and overjumps, you are really challenging the heart by making the oxer a B element in an ABC combination. I would personally trot a lot of small oxers to the base, with trot rails, and gradually increase the height, instead.


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by CBoylen View Post
      I'd be really careful putting an oxer in the middle of a grid on an overjumping horse who backs off the base. Generally, a grid backs off a horse even more. On one that backs off on its own, and overjumps, you are really challenging the heart by making the oxer a B element in an ABC combination. I would personally trot a lot of small oxers to the base, with trot rails, and gradually increase the height, instead.
      Thanks for the insight. I have heard it both ways- that grids can help horses find the deeper spots or that they can help back them off. I had another horse with similar issues (though that mare wasn't quite as round in the air) and had a BNT suggest the vertical-oxer-vertical (starting with ground rails for the verticals and working up) to get the mare to step up a little deeper to the oxer and not hang in the air after. But this horse is a bit different which is why I am looking for suggestions.

      I've done a fair amount of trotting jumps (both verticals and oxers) on him at the beginning of the summer. He usually has no problem at a trot but we will certainly revisit that and maybe it will help after more repetition.


      • #4
        A gymnastic that I really like for the young horses is this...

        3 trot poles 4'6" apart
        9 foot to a xrail
        18 feet to a smallish oxer
        19 feet to a mediumish oxer
        21 feet to slightly larger oxer
        (make them low and wide and rampy)

        if the one stride becomes a problem, set a canter pole in the dead middle of the distances so he has to regulate his stride.

        With real greenie I would make sure I have a good ground person to set jumps for me and build this up slowly one element at a time.
        Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


        • #5
          My trainer develops a lot of young jumpers and does a lot of work with a similar gymnastic to the one TR suggested. He may switch up the crossrail for a cavaletti, and maybe one of the oxers for a vertical, but the distances are similar and he uses landing rails in the middle of the one strides almost always.
          Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 30's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique


          • #6

            can he canter to the base of a vertical?
            breeder of Mercury!

            remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by Carol Ames View Post
              can he canter to the base of a vertical?
              Yes, he has gotten pretty comfortable with verticals

              Thanks TR, that sounds like a great exercise for this guy.