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Getting a "flat" fit horse, "jumping" fit - Any suggestions?

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  • Getting a "flat" fit horse, "jumping" fit - Any suggestions?

    I haven't been jumping my horse very much in the past year. Just a few jumps here or there once or twice a week. I now want to start jumping more regularly again...and want to take him to a clinic soon. He's ridden consistently 5 days per week and is in decent shape...BUT we just haven't been jumping much.

    Does anyone have suggestions for getting the jumping legs back on? How much should he be jumping before I take him to a clinic with a BNT?

    (There are no injuries or rehab that I am working back from. Just a lack of a specific goals so we got out of the habit...and a second horse to ride/jump took most of that focus for a while)
    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
    Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

  • #2
    Umm, start jumping? Add more jumping on a weekly basis. In a clinic expect the jumping portion to last about an hour... most of which you will spend waiting your turn.


    • Original Poster

      Yes...I have that part figured out. But if the time is short, how much should they be jumping prior? Can I get him fit enough just with flatwork...as now I don't have a place I am willing to jump (thanks rain. Grrrr)?

      I'm second guessing my decision for the clinic, but I really want to go and don't know if I can have my horse ready in time. (it's two weeks away at this point, and I've been working up from a few singles to about 3 small courses every other day until last Thursday. )

      Gack. I hate this. I have to have goals to really ride with focus...and I haven't had goals this year. The local showing scene is lackluster...and I won't take any horse I own to a number of places due to their poor footing either in the ring or in the warm-up areas....so I just putter. Now that I have something do to, I might not be able to take my horse. Sigh. I do have another horse I can take and may just do that, but I'd prefer to do it on mine.
      Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
      Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


      • #4
        As much as you want to do the clinic I'd definitely make sure you're completely ready before you go do it. It sounds like the clinic would be so much fun! But It may be embarrassing if your horse gets worn out after taking a few fences.
        You could start by working on stamina excersices, even if it's not actual jumping you could set up some poles and work on cantering the 'pole course' while incorporating lead changes, and downward and upward transitions.
        You could also just work on hill work which can help engage your horses hind end, as well as lateral work. The hind end is very important in jumping after all! I'd start working in this sort of order [ Hard flat work one day, Easy jumping/pole work one day, Easy Flat day, Long/harder Jumping day, etc. ]
        I'd just make sure that in the end your horse is comfortable and not being pushed too hard, I'm sure you'll be able to tell when enough is enough, or when your horse can take a little more work.

        Hope it all works out and you get to go to the clinic!
        Save The Date 08-15-2011


        • #5
          Seconded on poles and hill work. Fitness comprises more than just stamina, though- an unfit horse (especially unfit to the jumps) can injure more easily, especially if footing is less than ideal.


          • #6
            I would think it depends too on what height you're planning on doing at the clinic. If you entered like a 2'6" session, I probably wouldn't be too concerned about doing a ton of jumping fitness since thats basically a canter step for most horses. However, if its 3'6" or something I might be more concerned.


            • #7
              Maybe your horse is different than mine, but their fitness is all about strengthening the hind end and getting aerobically fit. It I have those two things, the jumps just happen (I do jump 3'0 and under). I know Somerset is fit when I can do 20-25 minute straight of trot, on the bit, and he's got something left in the tank to canter/jump after he takes a walk break. I build up doing 10 minutes for a few days, then 15 for a few, then 20-25 for a few-- and then he's pretty fit. It's not even really the jumping for me, it's having him not get winded/tired immediately and THAT seems to be ALL about lots of steady, no-breaks trot work for me. Adding groundpoles/cavaletti accelerates the pace of strengthening.
              "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


              • #8
                When did you say the clinic was?

                I agree, a lot of poles (3 or 4 trot poles, placed 3'3" - 4' apart are great to start that mild concussive force back into their legs). Truthfully, working in cavalettis and a couple small jumps into your everyday flatwork won't hurt him, especially since he's been in a good, consistent flatwork regime.

                Perhaps designate one day a week to build a simple gymnastic exercise (trotting in to 18' to 21' is pretty standard), and another day to do more coursework-oriented exercises. Two designated jumping days, and that "flatwork with bonus jumps" for most of the others will suffice just fine with any horse.

                Of course, you know your horse best, so just be aware if he needs some time to recover. No use making him sore and sour because of his legs being overstressed in the beginning. Have fun!


                • #9
                  I think it really depends on your horse. Does he require a lot of fitness to do his job or is he one that is more naturally fit?

                  Mine is one I don't worry too much about his cardio fitness, but I do spend a lot of time building strength. He gets flatted 4-5 times a week for about 45 minutes, then he does one jumping lesson per week. He actually gets quite a few walk breaks, but when he is working, I do work in lateral work, collection/extension, poles, cavelletti, and maybe an occasional low jump. When I was trying to fit him up for jumping, I would just add in a few low jumps here and there during some of my hack days, then slowly build up in my lessons.

                  You know your horse and the level of fitness he needs, but if the clinic is going to be at a height that is comfortable for him, you should probably be ok since he has been in consistent work even if he hasn't been jumping a lot. The three small courses you are doing -- are they at the height you want to do at the clinic?


                  • #10
                    If you are doing alot of correct flatwork where you are keeping him coming from behind and hitting all the extensions, collections and laterals? Unless you are jumping 3'6" on up? He should be pretty close to fit now.

                    I'd do as you are now, jump every other day...but try to avoid courses, they get over drilled and you are, basically, wasting them on what they know already. Maybe jump about 15-20 fences each session, start with low grids, then a few spreads and higher verticals. Work with just 2 fences hitting it in 4 strides, then 5 strides then back to 4 then down to 6 then back to 4 and finish with 3. That's a pretty basic excercise most clinicians do-and it's hard but interesting for both of you. Get alot with not to many repetitions.

                    Thinking back on all the clinics I did, I don't recall ever jumping more then about 30 fences max in a 2 hour session with most of them low. They were more flatwork followed by taking the flatwork over the fences rather then how many jumps they could jam in.
                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                    • #11
                      If your clinic is anything like the one we had, the jumping will be more mentally challenging than physically strenous. He didn't have anyone jumping huge jumps or really significant numbers of reps or anything. Most of the jumping exercises were of a more "figure this out" variety over smaller fences/singles strung together etc. than really intense huge courses.
                      "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                      • Original Poster

                        Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                        If your clinic is anything like the one we had, the jumping will be more mentally challenging than physically strenous. He didn't have anyone jumping huge jumps or really significant numbers of reps or anything. Most of the jumping exercises were of a more "figure this out" variety over smaller fences/singles strung together etc. than really intense huge courses.
                        That's kind of what I'm hoping.

                        I have been doing most of what every listed...it's just getting close and I'm getting nervous that we aren't going to be ready. We are easily doing 15+ minutes straight of trot work and about 7-10 minutes straight of canter....less if I'm doing some jumping that day..but I haven't been able to jump since last Thursday. We have been doing poles and cavaletti on non-jumping days.

                        Part of the issue is getting horse and I together as a team. I have to get back in the right mental space for him and that requires more jumping, which I haven't been able to do. This clinician is known for more gymnastics over courses, so that is actually to my advantage.

                        I'll just keep plugging away and make a decision which horse the morning before. Nothing like keeping things up in the air.
                        Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                        Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                        • #13
                          I think you'll be okay, IMHO. And it would benefit you and Elf to choose him for the clinic.
                          "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                          • #14
                            I think we get too involved with Is he ready? I know I do. Its my way of saying I could just bypass this show,clinic, lesson or whatever event because I get nervous the closer the event comes.

                            He's ready, really, he's fine just go, and if he gets tired stop.
                            You good, so is he.
                            FYI if you haven't done alot of jumping in the past year what seems to go for me is timing and getting the horse to move forward out of the turn, so pratice poles are great for that, to get you ready!


                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by Summit Springs Farm View Post
                              FYI if you haven't done alot of jumping in the past year what seems to go for me is timing and getting the horse to move forward out of the turn, so pratice poles are great for that, to get you ready!
                              I've been jumping, just not as much on my horse. I've been riding my friend's horse and doing a lot with him. He's completely opposite of mine in a lot of ways: to the point that I try not to jump them on the same day because the one can screw me up for the other, although I am getting better at that. I just have to remember to be comfortable with a little more forward and that the less I do the better.
                              Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                              Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                              • #16
                                My last clinic was years ago. I was ready with my guy, in fact the instructor loved him-he was forward and soft. Well, we jumped only one line the first day and he fell and was still ouchy, sore the next day. Sooooo, I rode a horse I had never ridden before for the jumping portion of the clinic. I learned alot.


                                • #17
                                  nothing will gettoo big,and remind me to post video of ths last Joe clinic i did. i know i need to. its all precise drillwork then gymnastics