In this new category of articles, I will suggest, every month, a jumping grid-type exercise. This can be useful to vary your work, to address a particular jumping problem or simply to perfect yours and your horse’s technique. If you have suggestions or if you have a specific problem, please let me know!
Target : Improve straightness and accuracy over jumps
Start by setting up a crossrail in the middle of the ring along with four ground poles, at a 45° angle from the jump, one stride away.
- Start by jumping the crossrail on a straight line, going between the poles, from both direction.
- Once this is done, aim to jump the cross rail at an angle. To do that, go over one pole, then the jump and over the second pole, on a straight line. Do this from both leads and direction. At this stage, it is essential that the horse stays straight throughout the exercise, going over the middle of each element.
- When the exercise is easy on a straight line, we can start turning. Go over a pole and the jump, like in the previous step, then turn and go between the two poles after the jump. The horse must follow where your eyes are looking and turn easily before proceding to the next step.
- Finally, the last step is to go over a pole and the jump, then turn and go over the second pole in its center (for example, get the first pole on the right lead, then make a U shape over the exercise to finish on the right lead). Do it from both direction.
Some horses might need a few sessions to be able to do the whole exercise, especially the last step. For the first session, the first two steps might be enough or be used as a warm up before other exercises.