Jumpers Exercise: Breaking the Routine

Tonight was a super fun lesson! We changed things up and did some jumpers exercises. It was great because it made everyone – horses and riders both – pay attention and focus on the task at hand instead of going into autopilot over the same old lines we normally do.

The setup: three low fences set up at nearly 90-degree angles making a U-shape. Two are in a regular 4-stride line (making the two upright sides of the “U”), and the third fence is set up perpendicularly, in between the two left-hand standards (making the bottom part of the “U”).

ImageThe exercise: At a canter, come around over Jump A, then turn 90 degrees and take Jump B. Circle around and take Jump A again, turning 90 degrees to the right to take Jump C.

The trick: When you’re going to turn sharply to the left, take Jump A on the right side of the jump. That gives you a slightly wider angle.

It’s sounds pretty simple, but it’s hard! When you and your horse are used to essentially straight hunter lines, it takes a few tries to get the sharp turns down. But then comes the moment when it clicks for both of you and you suddenly are in gear. Then the fun begins! We did some zig-zag lines, too, and it was just a blast! This kind of jumping is more fast-paced and athletic-feeling (not that any jumping is un-athletic!).

Sometimes it’s nice to break the routine – for both the rider and the horse. Husky has been very unfocused and unbalanced since he had a week off. When he gets like this, an interesting job helps sharpen his focus and clicks him into gear. That was the case tonight for sure! Here’s hoping that will carry over into our next ride (and the next show).

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