Category Archives: Keeping straight

Grid with oxers

A show jumping grid to improve balance, technique, straightness and strength.
A grid with oxers to improve technique, strength and straightness.

Grid with oxers

Improve technique, balance and strength.

Jumping grids, especially a grid with oxers have many benefits for both horse and rider, and is definitely something to include in the training from time to time, especially if you need to improve on the horses technique over a fence.

The rider also benefits hugely, the focus must be on keeping the horse straight. It is also great for the more cautious riders as a way to introduce bigger fences. As the exercise starts in trot, with a trotting pole and a bounce chances are pretty good for the rest of the grid goes to plan too. The focus can be on keeping straight rather that seeing the stride which often can pose a problem.

Build

Build this grid in stages. Start off with trotting poles, for a horse use the distance 1,2 m between the poles. Trot over the poles a few times turning both left and right. Add fences as sketch above, one at a time (cross pole, upright, oxer and oxer. If you want to practise height of fence build the first oxer as a parallell /box oxer and the second one as an ascending oxer. This way you can put the back pole up a bit to get the feel of a bigger fence.

Ride it like you own it!

Ride the grid a few times each time you add a fence. Think of:

  • Look at the first pole through the turn, to arrive at the grid smack bang in the middle.
  • Once at the grid lift your eyes to look straight ahead.
  • Keep your posture straight, do not fall for the temptation to lean forwards. This is an important one! If you start to lean forwards the horse will pick up speed and the grid will feel short towards the end.
  • Keep straight, coloured poles help. Also go straight after the last fence.
  • Concentrate of your balance and the ability to give the horse enough rein over each part of the grid.
  • Enjoy!! I find grids very satisfying, once you are in them they just flow. This is really a very good opportunity to practice your balance.

Outcome

This exercise should help you find your balance. It should also force you to look up and concentrate on keeping your horse straight. If you are a bit cautious about bigger fences, and did try to put the last one up. Do get off your horse and compare to yourself the height you jumped. This will give you no end of confidence next time you walk a course.

The horse equally benefits from grids. It has to think and speed up the legwork . This will make your horse quicker, more scopey and last but definitely not least a lot stronger. This is a muscle building exercise. Your horse should also feel more supple after the exercise. Lazy and unresponsive horses often wake up when jumping a grid, as the exercise helps them get stronger and fitter chances are you can end up with a more responsive horse. Forward horses also benefit as they have to slow down to get the footing right.

Don’t forget to cool down after exercising your horse, walking the horse is underestimated and a big part in keeping your horse fit and healthy.

More exercises…

Keep straight

Jump a course

Bounce

Would you like to lead a healthier life?

Here’s how we did it!

This article is written by #stinaharvidsson with the inspiration of Eddy Andersson

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Stand off

A show jumping exercise to improve technique, make the horse stand off and prevent drifting.
Exercise to prevent drifting, to slow the horse down and to improve the technique over a fence.

Stand off the fence and don’t drift.

This exercise has a whole bunch of benefits. It is created first and foremost for horses that are rushing their fences. The V pole will make them stand off the fence.

This is not the only benefit though. This exercise will also help horses that drift and horses that need to improve the technique over a fence. It will also make the horse “think” more and assess the situation.

Setup

Put a vertical fence in the middle of the arena as shown above. Construct a V-shape with 2 poles, with the V resting on the top rail of the fence. Put a ground pole about 40 cm in front of the fence. If drifting is your problem you can reinforce the exercise with 4 cones (as shown in picture above).

Exercise

Show jumping exercise to prevent drifting
A. Leave a wide opening in the V to make the fence more attractive to the more novice horse.
Narrowing the gap between the V poles in a jumping exercise
B. Once the horse gets used to the fence you can start to narrow the gap between the V poles.
C. V poles touching. For the more experienced horse and rider.

Start off with a lower fence and a wider V (picture A). If you ride a novice horse you can approach this in trot, but continue into canter as soon as possible. Try out both left and right canter, note the difference, has your horse got more of an issue on one side? Write down your experience in a notebook, it can help you with future training sessions.

Once your horse has understood the task, start to narrow the gap between the two poles in the V until they touch (picture B and C).

If your horse is more experienced you can start with the poles touching (picture C).

Note!! This exercise do not suit horses that stand off the fences. It should also be used with caution when dealing with nervous horses.

Result

Done correctly this exercise should make the horse back off the fence a little, which in turn should make it possible for the rider to ride with a softer hand. The horse should also use a better technique over the fence, especially the front leg action. Focus on the fence should also improve along with straightness over the fence.

Want to practise some more??

Bendy, bendy

Supple with a bounce

Keep it straight!

Which way?

BETA

Disclosures

Written by @stinaharvidsson with inspiration from Eddy Andersson

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Keep it straight

Showjumping exercise to keep the horse straight over a fence. Learn to jump at an angle
Stay straight and shave off valuable seconds in the jump off! Jump at an angle.

Beat the competition!

Jump at an angle

To be able to shave off valuable seconds in a jump off you will have to be able to keep your horse straight and jump at an angle. This simple exercise will up your skills and help your horse feel comfortable with what is expected.

Continue reading Keep it straight
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