Hey guys! This is my first post, and I hope that no one has posted something similar to this recently. I was just wondering what your favorite exercises on the flat are. Ones that help your horse jumping would be best, but anything! I have access to more flat riding than jumping right now, (flat 4 days a week, jump once in lessons). Any good exercises? Thanks!
What i do, in my early days of riding, and still now because i have a thoroughbred who basically needs training from ground up. I do alot of leg yeilding. To make him move off my leg instead of my hands and his mouth. That way when it comes to jumping. It would be better to move him off your leg and into the jump. Also alot of beinding. Figure eight work is GREAT for bending. Because for jumping. Theres alot of movement. And a horse that is stiff one way, when he's bending. is not going to go well during the round. So alot of circles, bending. Also caveletti work. Like me, i have a whole COURSE of them. All close together, different hights (only going up to 18") but practice even with poles, just to get him to bend and move off of his shoulder and rear end. the pole and cavelletti work will help. put poles and cavelletis together one after another and get him to move off of his hind and shoulder.
thanks for the reply. I do everything that you said (leg yielding ect.) but just feel like everything is very repetitive. My horse and I have mastered the leg yield, haunches in, haunches out, counter canter and stuff like that. We do it every time, but i just wish that maybe there was a more exciting way of doing it if you know what I mean.
Sometimes I pratice lengthening and shortening the canter stride. I will have a long stride down one side, and collect the stride down the other stride.
Cantering down the long side and trotting the short side of the ring (or visa versa) is also helpful to practice keeping transitions smooth :-)
Think up a little "course" when working on the flat. Like I'll walk to X-spot and then go into a right lead canter. Canter to this spot and do two continuous circles, continue cantering to x-spot, come down to a trot. Trot to x-spot and then halt, etc., etc.
I also will take down a few of the jumps (because we aren't supposed to jump at all when we aren't in a lesson) and just lay the poles on the ground and practice my speed and control "over" those jumps. I try to add strides, take away strides etc. My horse has a bit of a rushing problem so this has helped us with that. I do the poles at a walk, trot and come down to a walk in the middle, and the eventually canter them. Just some suggestions.
Drop your reins and practice steering using just your legs. Its great for your balance and for getting you and your horse better at responding to signals from your legs, which can be really helpful for more intricate turns on jumpin courses.
If you have an enclosed arena, always stay off the rail. It teaches you to keep your outside leg on and when you jump, the track off the rail is usually the center of the jumps at shows. Since they usually put the standards next to the rail. :D
School a lot of dressage movements, even if you have no intention of ever riding a dressage test.
Try doing some leg yields from a 10m circle to a 20m circle; changes of bend, figure 8s, or serpentines; trotting on a loose rein (either in a circle or around the perimeter of the arena), all the while trying to get your horse to stretch down and lift his back -- it should feel like riding a suspension bridge.
Also try do do a lot of walk work -- the walk is generally neglected and helps the other gaits immensely while building muscle and not unduly taxing the joints. You'd be surprised how much 15-20 minutes active walking per ride can help!
Try some trot lenghtenings across the diagonal, as mediums and lenghtenings help with the collection needed to rock back onto the hindquarters and jump a course in a balanced, rhythmic, uphill canter.
If your horse is lethargic, do lots of transitions, particularly walk-trot-halt and variations of. If he's hot, try to use your seat to slow his tempo. Post big and try to get long, slow strides, and remember that you control the tempo, not him (or her).
But the most important thing is to ride your horse forward all the time. The walk should march, the trot should swing, and the canter should spring!
Remember that jumping is just flatwork with a bunch of sticks in the way, so even if you're only jumping 1/5 of your total ride time, make your flatwork productive to improve your work over fences too!
thanks guys. I pretty much do all of TBsPLEASE's suggestions, but I dont ever really focus on the walk. It is so true that it gets neglected. Good idea. thanks!
Lenghtening and shortening your stride at the canter and the trot. Also, if you dont have access to jumps, get 2 poles and set them a good distance apart for cantering about 4 strides and practice getting 3,4,and 5 strides in between the poles.
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