Wednesday, June 20, 2018

gymnasties

I could tell our lesson last weekend was gonna be a fun one when I got up to the ring to see three separate lines of gymnastics set up. Yessss haha.

Grids felt like the perfect exercise for gettin in our groove with something Charlie's good at and knows well. We warmed up over a simple 1-3 triple combination, first trotting in and then cantering in, before moving directly into the gymnastics.

he's basically a pro at one stride grids
First up was a looonnnng line of jumps all set at short (18') one stride distances. We obvi didn't start with all of them set up - instead building up one fence at a time. Jump 1 was just a cross rail, and we trotted in every time. Jump 2 I think was a plain vertical, but all the rest were oxers.

count 'em, that's 5 jumps in a row
We built up quickly to a full line of 5 fences, and I was very pleased with how Charlie handled them: he stayed very straight and actually surprisingly soft through the line. Tho haha he kinda got half way through and was like, "Christ there sure are a lot of these things!" lol...

These were the only jumps of the ride that got any height to them - finishing around 2'9ish. Considering the technicality and intensity of lots of gymnastics, we opted to keep everything else smaller.

#norespect for this itsy skinny in the two stride grid
The next line was actually a two-fer. Four jumps in a row, set at short (30') two stride distances. Ridden in one direction, the first jump was very skinny and each was progressively wider. Ridden in the other direction, you started wide and finished skinny. Definitely tricksy!

I kinda biffed my turn to the skinny a couple times, but Charlie jumped it just fine. He's not quite as good at two stride lines as he is with one strides, so we had to repeat it a couple times. Nbd tho. Coming the other direction from wide to skinny was definitely more of a challenge lol, and Charlie kinda had a "wtf!" moment but was a good boy and jumped it anyway.

slightly more feelings about the skinny barrels lol
Final line was the hardest of the bunch, especially considering Charlie actually has very very very limited experience with anything skinny. The line was set as two barrels 18' apart, with V poles as guide rails. Then 3 strides to a skinny chevron with no wings.

Charlie was kinda "wtf" about the barrels the first time - wanting to jump sideways over the guide rails instead of directly over the barrel. And I had a little trouble keeping him straight.

whoopsies!!
Then another confused oopsie moment at the chevron. Pretty sure Charlie just didn't really realize he was supposed to jump it. We figured it out tho with the help of a guide rail, after which Charlie was able to put the whole line together a couple times in a row nicely.

nbd, he figured it out
For his final trip too (no pic but it's on the video) we took off the guide rail again, and Charlie was still foot perfect. Actually, I honestly kinda under-rode the whole thing and we got to a sliiightly gappy distance, but he still just up and jumped it. That's my boy!



Obvi I love doing a lot of course work in our normal lessons, but it's a lot of fun to switch it up to more technical type exercises. Especially with the introduction of the skinny fences - something that I always find surprisingly challenging haha, bc they really keep me honest about straightness and balance, particularly in my turns and approaches.

Plus I seriously credit grid work with Charlie's education over fences. Like this past winter when we did almost exclusively grids during the months spent indoors. It really helped Charlie figure out what to do with those giant clumsy limbs of his lol!

Do you ever do grid work? Or even cavaletti type exercises? Do you like introducing unusual elements like barrels and whatnot into your rides? Is there any one type of configuration you've found has been particularly useful or fun for your horse?

27 comments:

  1. Looking good! The barrels to the chevron line looks HARD lol

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    1. lol trainer P was like, 'so far we've had a few try to jump the guide rails instead of the barrels, but everyone has jumped the chevron!!' which, ya know, maybe charlie kinda thought that sounded like a challenge ;)

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  2. New Trainer does so many grids. All the time. Although, I am going to hide this post from her. The barrels to the chevron sounds really hard hahaha

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    1. that's awesome! my trainer P very often likes to find ways to incorporate a single one stride grid in our courses bc it's so so so useful, but it's fun to do bigger and more complicated grids too! hopefully May likes them as much as charlie!

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  3. Those are such cool grids. I have to ask- who sets all this up??

    He was sooo good over the barrels/chevron! You guys definitely have your groove back :)

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    1. he's such a good boy, he basically just wants to get the answers right. the issue at plantation was never about the jumps (i feel like i keep having to say this haha) - it was about going forward away from the crowd.

      and my trainer sets up the exercises in our lessons ;)

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  4. OMG I love his "feels" over the barrels the first time LOL. Like WTF is this?! Haha! He's SOOOOO solid tho in those one strides! He's looking really super, and you two look great. Once he figured out the barrels and chevron he was on it! Plus, he absolutely smashed that vertical in the two strides. Charlie smash! lol

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    1. lol yea he was definitely not at all convinced i knew what i was doing our first time through the barrel line... possibly i should have been a little more prepared for that, but eh. he figured it out! he seems to like grids a lot bc repetition and puzzles and whatnot seem to make sense to him once he's got them figured out (despite the occasional smash lol)

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  5. Fun! His head seemed more in the game for this lesson. Grids turned Gem into an angry shewtich so we never did many of them. Seriously the easiest way to piss her off was do a grid. Or really any repetition at all. She basically decided once she did something that it was offensive to be asked again. Haven’t gotten that far with Sir Gimpy and who knows when we will wthmour current sore feet issue.

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    1. lol yea - charlie definitely agrees with Gem when it comes to things like flat work exercises. like, 'but i already gave you a nice canter depart, why are you asking again??' luckily tho he seems to like the jumping and enjoy the sorta 'puzzle solving' aspect of grids in particular that he does well with the repetition. here's hoping E's feet toughen up asap so he can start playing with more fun stuff too!! have you tried keratex hoof hardener? it's been (knocking on wood) a huge help for keeping charlie's feet in good order so far this season

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  6. I love gridwork. Good for rider and horse. Now if only show gymnasties were a thing...

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    1. lol right???? like compared to all these grids we do, the simpler show jumping combinations seen in novice and training seem like a cake walk lol

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  7. jumping barrels like that is sooooo hard... even with guide rails... I had it tossed in a lesson a couple times and my response was always "what are you nuts!!!"

    definitely shows gaps in rideability and straightness tho!

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    1. lol yup! like once charlie understood that they were actually jumps to be jumped, as opposed to say... random obstacles accidentally placed in his path (bc let's remember, this is a horse who can and will accidentally run into mounting blocks, jump standards, shrubs....), then he was totally on board with jumping them. but possibly he needs to learn that not every jump is going to right away look like a jump, but he's still gotta figure out how to get over!

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  8. Lol I like that term gymnasties - I hate them. I know it's supposed to actually be easier but I find it unnerving that the jumps come up that quick - not much room for recovery if one doesn't go right!

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    1. lol yea it can certainly be a bit overwhelming, with a lot to look at!! but that's why you start the horses out small and just build up one jump at a time. and most of these are designed to be trotted into, with the first portion of the exercise specifically designed to get the horse where the horse needs to be for the rest -- like how they use grids for free jumping horses and what not. the idea is that it's pretty hard to seriously mess it up, but still pretty educational for the horse!

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  9. I've not done very many jump lessons since Murray and I got back to it, and we've been mostly focused on coursing. I'm very excited to get back to grids!

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    1. oooh yes you definitely should! it's fun to shake it up every now and then, esp considering the grids can give us a lot of information about how our horses are doing sometimes!

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  10. You say you enjoy the the exercise yet you title your post “gymnasties” ! Doesn’t sound like you find them to be nasty😙

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    1. haha very true! idk why i love calling them that lol, but yea, definitely don't think they're truly nasty. they're super fun!!

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  11. What a awesome, technical lesson. Sometimes the smaller, more complex jumps are so much fun. They are so hard though!!

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    1. definitely hard, but definitely fun! i've had some trainers in the past who would build entire lessons around nothing more than glorified cavalleti and you better believe we'd be sweating our way through it haha!

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  12. I legit don't even know if I could decipher where I was supposed to go in that ring! LOL SO MANY JUMPS. I do love the rainbows, though.

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    1. lol yea, luckily it's actually all just a bunch of straight lines, done once at a time! it makes more sense once you're in there checking it out yourself ;)

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  13. We used to practice jumping barrels, they are great for finding out how good your steering actually is!

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    1. ha definitely!! charlie steers pretty well these days, but he's more like a cruise liner than a sports car so.... yea apparently i need to be better at planning ahead!

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