January 4, 2019

Sunday Jump Fun

So far, so good, on my goal to jump or do cavaletti once a week this year.  In my schedule, I'm referring to these as "fun" rides - whatever we end up doing, it needs to be a brain break - but NOT a quality break.  If he's not on my aids and feeling good, we don't jump.  This was last Sunday.

See, only nine jumps.  But that was enough.

So far, I've kept the jumps so low they would be cavaletti to anyone not riding a horse shaped like a dachshund pony.  They're tall enough that he makes an effort, but small enough that we don't get into trouble doing this on our own.  Which is like...8".  Don't laugh.  Okay, I'm laughing.

How did I ever jump 2'7?  Gotta keep reminding myself the height is not the point of these.

I'm not the best at setting distances, but the only way to improve is to do it, right?  In the grand scheme of me creating jumping exercises over my life (which has not happened often), these actually rode really well.

I did fix this one so it was at least centered after I took this picture.

I left up what was already in there, and added some poles a few strides out from the jumps.  The yellow and white pole was set on a sharp bending line to the fence on the diagonal, but that same pole could be ridden on a shallow bending line on the fence on the centerline, which had a pole one stride out as well.

I ended up riding both exercises in both directions in a collected canter.  The lines were tricky but very productive and fun, especially when I rode the sharp bending line on the diagonal toward the rail, which rode like the 1-3 canter loop, but sharper, and with a fence thrown in the way.  Doing THAT in anything but a very controlled canter just straight up wouldn't have worked.  

But - that's why we're doing this, right?  To improve the quality of the canter, and his strength in the canter, and his coordination at the canter.  He felt fabulous on the tricky direction of that one.

PS - didn't jump this, but he found this jump to be TERRIFYING.  Even though he's totally jumped it at the old barn.

I'm trying to jot down notes in the Equisense before I leave the barn this year.  This was Sunday's:

Some small part of my brain thinks that since this is the first time we'll have ever done poles/jumping consistently, maybe we'll wake up one morning 8 months from now and he'll be totally comfortable over starter level fences without either of us even noticing.  And the other small part of my brain knows we're just doing this to improve his Dressage and for a mental break from Dressage.  Either way, however it ends up, it feels like a win to add something like this in once a week.


  1. I need more cavaletti in my life, this looks great!

  2. ppl love to tell us how dressage improves the jumping.... but with charlie, introducing jumping made a HUGE difference in his flat work. something about the immediacy and physical reality of an obstacle really helped him understand what it actually meant to be adjustable in his stride, and to lift his front end vs plow through heavy on the forehand. it also helped me be more definite in my riding, bc we couldn't just keep going and going ad nauseum to achieve whatever canter i wanted - that pole was *right there* and we better be ready for it!

  3. I like tiny jumps, so I can focus on straightness and quality of the canter (or trot) without having to worry about the jump itself :)
    Is that scary jump meant to be jumped as one with the brick wall and panel in front of it?

  4. Sounds like a lot of fun, and will definitely help improve the canter. I've taken a handful of lessons over the years with a local dressage trainer (who was actually very successful back in the day) and she said that she often uses small jumps to train her dressage horses. So you're not alone in the idea!