Look, Ma! No Hands!


We had our first lesson of our Horse Book Club series! The book is Modern Gymnastics by Jim Wofford. We had prepared by reading the first several chapters and dove right in.

We began with basic ground poles, trotting straight over four poles placed 4’6″ apart, then continuing to four more poles on a bend, placed so the center would be 4’6″ apart. If you were too far to either side, your horse would have to either shorten or lengthen their stride based on the angle of the curve. It was a good warm up.

Then, because we’re trapped inside, we had to do a shortened version of the gymnastic. It went as follows:


It was a good athletic gymnastic for both horse and rider. The trick was having the right amount of impulsion and power coming into the trot poles.

We went through several iterations of different combinations, ending on this one:


We did this from both directions, starting with the pole/bounce one way, and starting with the two stride the other way. One of the girls in my lesson asked if we could do it with no hands, and we did! I love that feeling. It’s like flying. And I have video because my mom was there to watch! Thanks, Mom!

It was a really fun lesson! I liked reading about it first to get an idea of what we would be doing and how to ride it. One recommendation was that you shouldn’t try to give a “good” ride to the fences. Rather, have a looser contact and allow the horse to figure out his balance and takeoff. It’s also a really nice opportunity to work on my own riding. Especially when we did it with no reins, I could focus on really feeling my lower leg and keeping it steadier, as well as keeping my upper body balanced using core strength alone.

Next week, the plan is to build on this same sort of grid setup but add in oxers. I think gridwork is so great for maintaining fitness and improving technique. And it’s fun!

Do you use gymnastic exercises?

8 thoughts on “Look, Ma! No Hands!

    1. This was seriously incredible to watch. Makes me excited to see all the fun the future holds for you in this new discipline. Thanks for bringing me along for the ride!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Weeee, look at you go! I like the horsey-knee-tuck!
    I do some mini gymnastics with my mare. Nothing like this. I would, if we had more equipment and I ever had some help on the ground though…


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