Monday, January 16, 2012

Grid jumping.

I saw this on a friend's facebook this morning, and it made me anticipation of this year's first dressage test.
A. -- Enter in working trot.
X. -- Halt.
G. -- Try to halt again.
C. -- Freeze in horror at judge's ferocious glare. Salute hurriedly. Track left.
H. -- Rustle of spectator's crisp packet.
H.X.F. -- Extended bolt.
F. -- Track right. (Just.)
F.A.K.E. -- Working gallop right.
E. -- Circle right 20 metres strange polyhedron.
E. -- Freestyle pirhouette, change rein.
E.K.A.F.B. -- Counter canter, cross canter, camel canter.
B. -- Medium bird shuffling in bush.
B.X. -- Working spook left.
X. -- Freestyle piaffe.
X.K. -- Freestyle half pass (backwards).
K.E.H.C.M.B.F.A. -- Working trot (bouncing).
A. -- Veer right.
A.D.X.G. -- Extended walk.
G. -- Halt. Attempted immobility. Trembling salute. 

But this post is not about dressage-ing, it's about jumping.

alone in the shade while everyone else grazes in the sunshine.
I set up a baby grid for Robert that I got from a HI article. Ground pole, 9' to xrail, 18' to veritical, one stride to oxer. If someone wants to explain the 18' to me, please do. I always thought a bounce "stride" was 12' and one stride is 24'. No? It rode like a bounce as long as he went over the xrail perfectly, which was hard for a greenie lacking in jumping skillz.

grid from the front.

from the back. look at that huge oxer!
We spent a long time warming up since it was fuh-reezing out. I wanted to steal Bobby's booty blanket and wrap it around my own butt. He seemed a little stiff starting out, but was going along as well as he usuallly does by the time I started feeling warm. He might have been cold, too. Standing in the shade at the top of a hill in the wind when its twenty degrees out can do that to you. Retard.

We started the grid with just the X set up and the other two jumps as poles. It took two tries for him to figure out his footing, then he bounced right through it. The tiny vertical went up next. The first few times we both had to figure out how to go through it. I had to find the balance between a strong half-halt coming to the X and then letting him out to a big canter over it so he could get over the vertical easily, and then half-halt a little again to make the one stride to the pole flow.

Once we got the hang of that, the baby oxer went up. This thing was literally a foot tall, but Bobby hasn't done much grid work and I wanted him to find it easy and not have to worry about big scary fences. The first time through, I gave him too big of a half-halt and he dropped to a trot and popped over it. The second time, I didn't give him any half-halt at all and he fell apart, rushed the jump, and went over awkwardly. Third time was the charm and he went through it pretty well. We finished off going through it one more time without too much fuss.

He definitely wanted to rush through the whole thing the whole time, but he was very responsive to my aids and it was all about me riding it well. I know grids are supposed to be about the horse figuring his own feet out, but I don't think this one was really set up for that. I think if I had just pointed him at the line, he would have crashed through all three fences and not learned anything. I also am trying to figure out how much jumping to do  with him at once. I get bored quickly of doing the same exercise over and over, but I don't want to short him on figuring things out by not being able to work through it lots of times.

That might be a moot point for a bit because as we were finishing up, I circled him at the far end of the arena and, without thinking, trotted him right through the half frozen, chopped up part where the hired "help" lost control of the hose to water down the arena and did a "wonderful" job cleaning it up. Bobby took a wonky step through it, head bobbed, and seemed a fraction wonky trotting out.

I spent a lot of time going over him back at the barn and didn't find any heat or ouchiness. I think the culprit was his princess feet. Now that the ground has finally frozen, he's been a little mincy out in the paddock. He's got front shoes on, but he has dreadfully tender toes. I gave him a little bute and ordered him Biotin (and MSM) Friday. I started him on Biotin when I first got him and yanked his shoes for the winter. It helped him out a lot and had his feet not started chipping up like crazy from all the road riding, I probably would have left him barefoot. Hopefully it will take out the tenderness this time around.


  1. Yay random ouchiness! Here's to Bobby working out of it quickly.

    I think the 18' would be one stride accounting for landing and takeoff, assuming the jumps were worth standing off from? That would give you a 12' stride, plus 3' for each jump.

    But then, I didn't set the grid, lol.

  2. Loved the dressage test! And, will be doing same with ground poles...

  3. Just like SprinklerBandit stated, the extra 6' is for the landing and take-off.
    I find when you're doing smaller jumps, it's ok to snug it up just a touch (perhaps a foot or two) since the landing and take-off points won't necessarily be those 3'.
    That grid is a pretty good one, particularly to introduce the oxer, and helps with strength. I've never heard a jump-stride-jump be called a bounce, I've always heard them referred as an "in and out". Then again, perhaps that's just what they're called in Canada..?


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