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The gymnastics saga continues!
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The gymnastics saga continues!

This marks the third post of jumping gymnastics. These are designed for a few scenarios:

1. Green horse new to jumping
2. Unconfident horse needing to gain muscle strength, coordination, and confidence over fences
3. Horses coming back to jumping work needing to build up strength
4. Horses who need to refine their skills and polish their jumping form (the first few lessons will be refreshers for this horse)

SO at this point your horse should be confident and comfortable over trot poles, canter poles, and a simple gymnastic of trot poles to a small cross rail. You should also know your horse's most comfortable tort distance (usually close to 4' for most horses) and their most comfortable distance for canter poles on the ground (usually close to 9-10'). 

Once you have mastered these basics, the options are endless. I will continue to post variations and complications to the task to improve you and your horse's ability, connection, relationship, balance, eye, coordination, the list of benefits goes on and on!!

I like the next step to be adding to the end of the gymnastic. Using the "trot in" aspect of 3 trot poles helps the horse to look at the obstacles and analyze what is coming, rather than just rushing to the base to try to get through it quickly. So lets set the symple gymnastic and add a canter pole on the backside. This is also known as a placing rail. A placing rail on the backside of any jump encourages the horse to land an appropriate distance after the jump, prevents her from running after the jump, and rebalances the horse back onto their haunches quickly after the jump, further increasing hind end strength. 

Heres what it looks like:



Remember as you are working through the gymnastic that the horse's job is to jump. Your job is to stay out of the way. Being careful about the measurements, making changes to the distance, THAT is what teaches the horse what to do. Let the equipment show the horse what to do. Most riders prefer to just hold a half seat or two-point position throughout this exercise. If you attempt to change from sitting to two point over each pole/jump, its very easy to get left behind. This could easily discourage your horse, as the discomfort from you wiggling around can be distracting and sometimes a little painful. 

The next step is to add some canter poles after the jump. This increases coordination for the horse and encourages an even stride after jumping. This should ONLY be done once your horse is comfortable with the single placing rail after the jump. Rushing into this can end up being dangerous to the horse, if they are not paying attention or not coordinated enough to canter over poles without a jump, they can easily trip and possibly injure themselves. 



Remember the important bits: rhythm, straightness, confidence, forward motion. Stay out of your horse's way, let the poles do their work. 


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