By Wiola Grabowska
Caitlin Thorpe on Nugget
Sofija Dubianskaja on Jack
Really good exercise for both young/inexperienced and older, more experienced horses as well as riders learning to jump.
Benefits for the horse
- improves athleticism & reaction time
- encourages the flexion and “tucking in” of the pelvis to produce a better bascule over the jump over time
- quickens reactions of “slow” horses
- encourages thinking and focus in “quick” horses
Benefits for the rider
- focuses the rider on straightness on the approach and in the grid
- improves the jumping seat as it magnifies any issues like unstable lower leg, busy upper body, fixed hand, stiff knees, overall anxious behaviour between the jumps to name a few
- teaches the rider to stay out of the way of the jumping horse
- is fun!
The set up
You’ll need three jumps of which the first and the last can be in form of cavaletti as they won’t be changing heights and should be kept low (60cm is plenty).
The distances between the jumps are bounce distances and need to again be adjusted to individual horse. I usually set mine at 3.5m.
In this exercise you don’t want to be increasing the distance but it can be beneficial to shorten it to encourage a more experienced horse to work harder.
The middle jump can be adjusted in height to suit the experience of the horse and rider but should be higher than the other two to create a “staircase” like effort. Or think of dolphins jumping in and out of the sea 😉
If you do go for a higher middle jump (like I set for Jack and Sofija) don’t additionally shorten the distances because a bigger jump produced by the horse will automatically land him closer to the next element.
Have fun 🙂