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Looking for training exercises

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  • Looking for training exercises

    I have a small barn and a riding club. Most of the girls have fixer upper horses - green and in need of groceries etc. There are two that are advancing like the others but their issues jumping ... I just wondered if anyone had specific exercises that target these two issues:

    1. First horse is solid in her flat work. She was bred to event. She is very sweet and IS a mare but one of those sweet, gentle sorts. SHe has a powerful hind end - but her front end - she jumps 90% of the time confused about her striding. Rarely asked over 2'6" - we do a lot of gymnastics and use a canter rail before and after a lot of the single jumps - but her front end is usually rescued by her hind end. She is only 5 but her flat work is very solid - she is totally ready for this work. Anyone know any exercises besides the gymnastics and canter rails that can help?

    2. Second horse is 7 but he is much greener than the 5 year old. But he also carries himself naturally in a way that means he needs more training overall - he is SO athletic but alllll over the place. He has come so far in 3 months. But he also gets so bored and loves jumping. I am only having her jump a few things at the end of her lessons 2-3 times a week - most of the work is flat work. The little bit of jumping though makes him pay attention better and try a little harder - he gets super bored with the flat work. I am teaching the rider how to do leg yields and shoulder fore - I know this is key to helping him collect. We do a lot of transitions too - but a little jumping I think is good to throw in. This is not a horse with confidence issues and ultimately he is going to do jumpers and some eventing. He travels so crooked sometimes and bounces around like a bunny sometimes.

    Besides the basic dressage basics and conventional transition and yielding work - is there a jumping exercise that is for beginner horses to help them straighten their bodies? Its a little tricky - most of the kids cant afford to pay me to train their horses. I would just ride the horse and keep him straight - I get on them periodically but I cant train their horses for free and they cant afford to pay me. So I am looking for some exercises they can do that help them train their horses.

    They are coming along with what we are doing now but wondered if anyone knew any magical exercises!!!!!! =)~

  • #2
    For the first horse I would start setting up grids, if you feel she & her rider are ready for it. If the rider is not ready for a grid you can have the horse free jump it. I would start with something like a cross rail two strides to a verticle, then move up to one stride inbetween. Then add another jump to make a combo like cross rail, one stride, verticle, bounce, verticle. Of course take it slow to give the horse time to get used to it & so she doesn't start to rush. I think this will help her to tighten up her front end & learn to pick up your front legs. Plus since the jumps come up quickly in a verticle she cannot rely on her hind end to save her.

    For the gelding I would set up a jump in the middle of ring, something low to start out with, but then I would put poles (four total) around the jump. Two on the take off side and two on the landing side.

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    like this with the ground poles laying verticle to the jump. Then after each jump move the ground poles in to make it tighter and tighter. This forces the horse to take off and land straight so her doesn't hit the pole. It also gives the rider a visual to maintain straightness. Eventually you would have something like this:

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    For the falt work with this horse I would try lots of counter bending and counter cantering to try & get him straight. Also try incorporating differnt routines into the lesson so he doesn't get bored. One day just set up cavaletti work and another day switch it up.

    I hope this helps. Good Luck!


    • Original Poster


      The first horse already does those grids - I tend to call them gymnnastics. But I guess I can add on to them more and just keep it up.

      The other horse - I will try the rails in like that. I thought about that yesterday - I was thinking the way he is I may have to elevate them too. If we do the counter bending work - I will have to get on him. The rider/owner is not advanced enough to understand counter bending in a way that - she can ask my trained horses to do it but she doesnt know how to position a green horse that athletically argues he already knows better.

      SO THANK you so much for the exercises. The one with the poles I will try next lesson with her!


      • #4
        I think the book 101 jumping exercises would help your girls out, it certainly has helped me! It is gradual with easier stuff advancing to harder. It almost sounds like the first mare may not necessary need to be jumping but set up a course of cavaletti so that she can get rid of her confusion by taking a step back, but your still asking her for certain strides.
        - paintmare

        Horse Eden Eventing - A Virtual Eventing Escape