Fun Exercises to Challenge You and Your Horse

Fun Exercises to Challenge You and Your Horse

Show jumping training doesn't have to be all about repetition and drills. Injecting some fun and creativity into your training sessions can keep both you and your horse engaged while still improving your skills in the arena. We like to try some of these fun excercises at home:

  1. Gymnastic Gridwork: Gymnastic gridwork is a fantastic way to improve your horse's jumping technique while also sharpening your own riding skills. Set up a series of jumps in a grid pattern, incorporating a combination of bounces, one-strides, and two-strides. Focus on maintaining a balanced position, supporting your horse through the grid, and riding accurate lines. Gymnastic gridwork encourages your horse to use their body effectively over fences and promotes adjustability and responsiveness to your aids.

  2. "Around the World" Course: Create a mini course in your arena using a variety of jumps, turns, and challenges. Designate specific areas for trotting, cantering, and jumping, and incorporate tight turns, rollbacks, and bending lines to test your horse's agility and responsiveness. Challenge yourself to ride each course with precision and accuracy, focusing on maintaining rhythm and balance throughout. Vary the course layout and obstacles to keep things interesting and to address different training goals with each session.

  3. Pole Maze: Set up a maze of ground poles or small cavaletti in your arena and challenge yourself and your horse to navigate through the course with precision and control. Incorporate serpentines, figure eights, and other bending exercises to encourage suppleness and engagement. Focus on maintaining a consistent pace and rhythm while guiding your horse through the maze, using your aids to encourage straightness and balance. The pole maze is a fun and effective way to improve your horse's responsiveness to your aids and their ability to maintain balance and coordination.

  4. Novel Obstacles: Introduce some novelty into your training sessions by incorporating unusual obstacles or challenges into your jumping exercises. Set up a water jump using a tarp or plastic pool, or create a "scary" fence using brightly colored poles or decorative elements like our Staircase Jump Fillers. Challenge yourself and your horse to approach each obstacle with confidence and determination, focusing on maintaining forward momentum and straightness. Novel obstacles not only add variety to your training routine but also help build your horse's confidence and courage in the arena.

Do you have a favourite excercise that you do with your horses? What are you going to try?