Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gridwork

Grids are by far one of my most used/favorite tools in my Toolbox for Success. They can be used for almost any level horse that knows the basics of jumping and can be manipulated in infinite ways to suite the horse and rider. A grid will increase athleticism, as well as improve rhythm and balance. By utilizing what grids have to offer, riders can improve their mounts form, take off distance, teach and correct striding, strengthen, and help horses learn how to properly jump and carry themselves over fences.

I've been doing grids with Yankee since he was 5 years old. He used to have all sorts of issues (most OTTBs do) and grids gave him a focal point for his energy and improved his over all straightness, impulsion & balance. When he had a baby brain, we used lots of ground poles and cross rails, switching up the long distances (2-4 strides) to keep him on his toes. As he progressed, we shortened distances to occasional bounces, 1 & 2 strides and integrated oxers & verticals. Today, I vary it every time, but he is more than competent to tackle multiple bounces, verticals, varied striding, and oxers.

Yesterday, this was our classroom:

I consider myself a master at pulling jumps out of my ass, and with Jackie's assistance, set up this lovely grid. Our goal was to get him to set back on his butt and use himself, lifting through the shoulders and challenge him with verticals and bounces. The first is a simple crossrail, 2 strides to a 2'3 vertical, 1 stride to a 18in. vertical, bounce (no stride) to a 2'9 vertical, bounce to a crossrail, then 3 strides out to a 3'9 oxer.

Jackie had the bright idea to have a larger vertical to a smaller, to a an even larger vertical to a cross rail to help set him back even more. By giving him the chance to regroup over the lower vertical and crossrail before the oxer (physical break), we alleviated the chance of excessive brain stress (mental break)-which I feel is imperative for a successful training session.

Obviously, we started all of them off as crossrails or groundpoles, and each time he moved through successfully (impulsion, balance and not knocking any down) we raised them-usually 1-2 holes. At first, he was having issues staying balanced( drifting majorly to the right) and maintaining impulsion. The key for Jackie (as with all riders through grids) is to maintain stillness and let the horse figure it out. Occasionally riders can assist with a well placed leg aid but normally, it is up to the horse. That is why it is important to progressively make the jumps higher.



The final jump


Looking very composed and tidy

I had his striding memorized yesterday but it completely slipped my scattered brain today. The standard formula for a canter stride is 12 ft plus 6ft for take off and landing, so
Bounce = 12'
1 stride = 24'
2 stride = 36'
3 stride = 48'

However, Yankee is a complete weirdo and none of those worked out for him. He is a rather short strided TB and I'm pretty sure it was
Bounce = 1o'3
1 stride = 16'3'
2 stride = 32'
3 stride = 48'

Weirdo.


He is LOVING the hackamore. This is his, "locked onto a fence" look

Overall, we were happy with how well he did with the challenge of the bounces and verticals. He whacked his hooves twice through but otherwise, he was a gem and really accomplished what we set out to do-set back on his butt and work it!





I also wanted Jackie to work him over the horse eating barrels I had trouble with on Sunday, so I set up the fence and asked her to simply swing him around to it after the line.


Cake.

He seemed to be mocking me with this move...


AW YEAH, TAKE OFF FOUR FEET EARLY, YEAH!



I'm pretty sure its just Jackie's awesomness as a jumper. She has no hesitation or frumpy shoulders, like I do, hah. Must emulate.



6 comments:

  1. LOVE grid work and am excited to start doing it with CP.

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  2. I use to really hate grid work. Like really really. Then somehow I started loving it. Pippi also loves it along with my mini Chance. Yankee of course looks awesome.

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  3. Awesome grid and yay yanks! Barrels are a little freaky.

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  4. Awesome!!! I guess you weren't riding because of your jaw? When can you ride again? Is it healing up?

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