Two Grids to
Improve Your
Horse’s Jumping
Technique

30 April 2019

Improve technique to help develop your partner's athleticism and agility...

Often, a horse will show good technique from the start. If they don’t though, it’s shouldn’t be the cause of immediate despair.

 

Some horses need time to develop into themselves and others need help to understand how they can move their bodies to develop a more correct jump.

 

If your horse is young, this is even more likely – as their strength and balance improves, so will their jump. While you may struggle to completely change a horse’s jumping technique, there are definitely ways to improve their bascule, develop athleticism and agility, and help them to make a better shape over fences.

letters-3004-grids

Here are two grids you can try to develop the jumping technique…

 Exercise 1:  Tuck those knees up

Set up three bounces made up of cross poles. They should be set about 3.2 metres apart with the outer sides as high as you can make them while remaining comfortable about the height. After the bounces, set up a vertical one stride away from the bounces, followed by an oxer two strides after the vertical. The oxer should be ascending (with the back pole higher than the front) and have two poles set up in a V-shape.

 

The below picture shows the set up before the V-poles have been added:

The shape of the cross poles helps to encourage the horse to tuck his knees up, and bounces help to develop athleticism. They also ensure that the canter is short and bouncy upon landing, making it easier for the horse to round his back.

 


Guiding poles may be used on vertical obstacles not exceeding 1.30m and they may not rest on the top pole


 

The grid also ensures that the horse is at a good takeoff spot for the oxer and the ascending shape encourages the bascule, as do the V-poles. V-poles also help to keep the horse straight on the approach, which makes it easier for them to push off evenly on take off.

 

 Exercise 2:  Keeping straight

This exercise begins with a small upright and then works through oxers of increasing height to end over a Swedish oxer. To set up, build an upright followed by one stride to a small oxer, two strides to a bigger oxer and then one stride to a Swedish oxer. Add a placing pole in between the second oxer and the Swedish oxer.

The design of the Swedish oxer is similar to a cross pole in that it helps the horse to pick up his knees as the perceived height of the fence is higher. It also helps to keep the horse straight in the middle of the fence rather than jumping off to one side.

 


It's very important that your horse be directed to jump the centre of the Swedish oxer where the height of the poles in the front and back is the same*


 

The poles before and after the jumps encourage the horse to rock his weight back onto his hocks before take off, and also encourage a better hind end over the fences as they become aware of the need to lift their back legs over the poles on landing.

 

 

 

With these two simple exercises you should see a swift improvement in technique...

FEI.org is the best place for great tips to help improve your riding skills!

 

*Please Note: Swedish oxers are not permitted in the practice arena at international Jumping events

 

Words by Sophie Baker

Images by Jacqueline S Wood

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