Jumping Away With My Heart

Folks. My heart is so full right now.

One of the issues I isolated on Saturday boiled down my own lack of miles jumping. It had been 3 weeks since my last lesson and I haven’t been jumping at home since starting to ride with AB early in the summer. Which is fine for the level I’m at but it also poses the issue of fitness and muscle memory. After it taking a few fences to get my body sorted out, I decided that I needed to jump at least once a week meaning that on my non lesson weeks I need to be jumping at home.

With that in mind I searched online for an exercise I thought was doable, fun, and would also address the other big issue of him taking off after the jump. I knew I didn’t want single fences. I’m also not super comfortable at setting up combinations since I’m not quite sure what distances to set and I don’t want to punish him by setting up something wonky.

After a few minutes of scrolling I found exactly what I was looking for:

The first jump was removed because I couldn’t find my 8th jump standard. It worked out fine to have the top three only and took the guess work out of striding between 1 and 2

Yesterday evening was cold and windy. Eeyore had every right to be up but he wasn’t. In fact, he was a bit pokey and I joked with M (built in jump crew is pretty awesome) that I need to invest in a crop. Because of this I kept the warm up pretty short. I did a couple laps of trot and canter each direction and then got down to the exercise.

The two far fences are set on a pretty steep angle but this picture doesn’t really show that. It made for a fun bending line between each fence.

AB’s words of wisdom ran through my head as I came off a left bend to the first fence: sit up, make him wait, keep him balanced in the turn, once he looks at the jump get out of his way, go over.

And you know what? It took some core strength but he stayed waiting until the base and then we popped over no big deal.

He tried to take off after but again her words came into my head: sit back, leg on, keep my core engaged and bring him back to me instead of me leaning forward into him and be patient.

Love this guy with every fiber of my being

And you know what? It worked. He definitely thought about running off into the setting sun but I kept myself strong and my body patient and he came up in front and waited. We went over #2 like it wasn’t even there.

He landed in a nice canter but I have zero clue how to influence which lead he lands on and flying changes are not in my repertoire, so I brought him to a trot for the bend to fence 3, kept him balanced in that turn and patient to the base and over we went.

He was being so good that Wyatt asked to ride him for the first time ever. Eeyore wasn’t thrilled with this task. I led him at the walk a little bit and called it a night.

He knew the game by now and immediately locked onto fence #4 (previously fence #1), trying to take off in the process but I just repeated everything I had before and it worked like a charm to give me a lovely effort over the last fence.

I was so thrilled!!! We did it one more time but he was being so darn good I didn’t want to drill it. M hopped on for a quick walk and trot both directions and then Wyatt did a short lead line walk before he got to go out for the night.

Being a Bestest Good Boy

This ride was so stinking fun! I loved the exercise because it really highlighted everything we need to work on: balance in the turns, patience to the base, a quick recovery on the backside and then refocus for the next effort. Eeyore finding his brain again really helped in the success of the ride but so did the fact that my own brain remained functional and I listened to my inner AB. It was really rewarding to feel him respond to me in the 5 strides between fences.

I can’t wait for my next lesson to show AB that I did learn from Saturday’s outing!

24 thoughts on “Jumping Away With My Heart”

  1. Awesome! you are doing amazing with him, the two of you are becoming a great team! My Pat was short and really long backed. Made for great striding, but flying changes were not her thing. You can drop weight into which ever hip you want the lead to be as you go over the fence. Pony will strike off that side canter to carry the balance shift.


    1. Some days LOL!! When we jump he is enjoying life and will listen if I do my job correctly. When I ride like I did out xc he blows me off. It’s a good lesson to learn. On the flat though…that’s another story. Even if I ride correctly he still will blow me off because he hates it. Hates it. HA!


  2. thats such a good exercise, especially because it’s truly valuable at any height.

    another thing that helped me a lot was working on cantering a single pole. youd be surprised how REALLY FREAKIN HARD it is and how much it helps you start ‘seeing’ a distance.

    I’m glad to see you guys making progress on your own!


    1. I’ve been having a lot of fun with a 2 canter pole exercise set at 4 strides. It really helped me with the whole engaging my brain thing and taught me about counting then holding or pushing for the right striding. I’ll take one away and see how it goes as a single pole!


  3. Love this exercise, we do it a lot and I always get something out of it. I love hearing about what great progress you’re making too!

    Agree w Megan on the single pole – it helps my eye immensely too. I started with trying to count one stride out, then two, three, etc. until I could find my distance from 4-5 out. I still don’t have the best eye but it helps! Plus Sharon White always schools us over ground poles because she says it’s the exact same as jumping, just change the size of the pole/jump!

    You can also try halting straight after the jump to keep him from running away with you. The other exercise Sharon taught us that is AMAZING, is doing a short course, but circle after every jump. Jump, circle, then continue on, jump, circle, repeat. It was amazing how it helped so many things and when we rode the full course straight through it flowed beautifully.

    Annnndd (longest comment ever?) if you have trouble walking off distances, buy a measuring wheel! You can find the distances for most grids and courses online and then just use that to set things. I have that and a PVC jump measuring stick and they’re perfect.


    1. I may try the circle technique. AB isn’t a fan of the jump then halt or at least not for us right now. She wants to teach us both that forward, up, over, away is the answer every time and not get him nervous about what will happen on the backside by halting. But maybe that changes with this new behavior? I’ll ask her!


  4. Depending on how far apart the fences are set to get the horse waiting and listening for instruction halt (sometimes back, and halt again) in the middle of the exercise and then pick up the trot (or canter) and jump – change it up ad naseum so they always come back to the rider for input.


    1. I need to talk to AB about this. Historically she has been very anti halting between jumps. From the get go our mission has been to teach Eeyore that forward is always the correct answer. There is a reason behind that and maybe I’ll make a post some time but in the end she wants him to always and forever keep going forward. Now that conversation may change with his new found confidence so it is worth me talking to her about it again.


  5. I love it when fun exercises work out like that!! Love what you set up too, simple but effective and so versatile ! Sounds like Eeyore likes it too 😉


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