Exercise of the Month

January Ultimate Exercise – “The Curve Ball”

Welcome to our Last exercise of the month, how time flew!! From the reaction from all you guys loving & sharing our exercises over the last 3 weeks, I feel like it would be quite rude not to keep carrying them out into February… What do you guys think?

This week was a difficult one, I had an exercise all set up to go & well it failed miserably! Dante couldn’t get the hang of it & well to be honest I lost the plot & gave up. This is ok. Sometimes I find myself maybe pushing Dante & myself too far with some exercises, so I took a step back & evaluated the situation.

Which brought me to this weeks actual exercise, and YES it is all about jumping!! How many of your faces have lit up reading that? Of course, I have tried to use what we have been doing in previous exercises and tied it into this one, keep scrolling to see what I have in store!

What You Will Need?

You will need an arena, or a field as always. There is a bit more set up this week, which will require you to have 3 x sets of wings & 9 poles.

Alternatively, if you dont have wings, blocks or barrels can be used in place to create your jumps! I kept the height to 80/90cm, with the fence in the centre at 90/1m. Adjust these to best suit your horse & their ability. Keeping in mind that they don’t need to be big fences.

I have the set up in the diagram below. For each fence, I have put a ground pole on either side. This will allow me to approach the fences from both directions.

The Curve Ball Exercise

What Is this Exercise Good For?

  • Maintaining a collected canter
  • Balance
  • Perfecting tricky lines into fences
  • Flexing your horse around your leg

How To Ride This Exercise?

  • This exercise was one of my favourites. When I got to the end & managed to get the hang of it, I could easily of spend hours perfecting this exercise.
  • Begin by warming your horse up as usual. This week for my warm up, I focused more on holding Dante together on the short side for a collected trot & pushing him out for an extended trot on the long side, the same in the canter (this proved quite difficult & needs some work!)
  • I also began to incorporate, 15m circles in canter, encouraging Dante to hold himself together better in smaller spaces. Once you begin this exercise, having a collected bouncy canter will be what you aim for, giving you more control on your approach and as you land around the bends.
  • Once you are satisfied with your warm up, begin by jumping each jump section by section. See Diagrams below.
  • When you are happy with how your horse is approaching both fences, making sure there is no rushing after or towards the fence, you can then begin to piece this “curve ball” together.
  • Try to keep your bends as smooth as you can, & remember to use as much of the arena as you wish to give your horse more space.
  • On my approach to the first fence, you may have noticed from the video our Instagram, that I didn’t approach either fence bang on centre. If I was to do this my curve to the second fence would be rather sharp, so try approaching your fence at an angle, this will help set you up nicely for your second fence. See Diagram below.
Piece part 1 & 2 together to create your “Curve Ball”
  • Once you are happy with how your horse is jumping over the two angled fences, then you can add in the last section of the exercise.
  • This is where your practice of your 15m canter circles comes into play. Landing after your second fence, you are aiming to land, circling into your fence down your centre line. As you approach your fence, aim to keep your horse collected & balanced in the canter. See Diagram Below for Final Layout
Piece the entire exercise together
  • Dante found this quite challenging as he got himself used to bending and flowing through his corners in the canter, to then having to hold himself together on the straight, a lot of leg was needed to keep his canter flowing & from stopping him from breaking.
  • Again, once you have jumped this exercise off both reins, & are happy with your finish, finish up on that good note. Don’t over do it if your horse is finding the bends difficult, I know Dante found it harder on one rein over the other!

And there you have it, our final January “Ultimate Exercise!”. I wont lie to you all, finishing with a jumping exercise was ideal, this is where I excel most, and well who doesn’t love a good jump!

I have been pleasantly surprised with Dante’s progress over these last few weeks with the exercises. I think it is something I may continue to do, not only for you guys, but for myself also, each week it gave me something to focus on, picking aspects of my training to focus on and perfect. Dante has slowly began to perfect his flying changes, the focus point of most of our exercises, which has helped us massively with jumping a course of fences!

What was your favourite exercise of the series? And what would you like to see us tackle next? I wreakon a few of you are wondering what the original exercise I scrapped at the beginning was to?!

Keep your eyes peeled for more!

Until Next Time,

Darielle

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