Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Weather and Gridwork.

Sigh the weather has just bombed the last two days. Today it was so windy my parents had to hold onto the quad bike to keep from being blown down the hill. Being literally blown off of your feet as I have been a couple of times in the last two days is a truely odd feeling. i don't think I have ever been out in winds like this. It makes working an absolute mare, it feels like when you are walking into it it's pulling the air out of your mouth and it makes everything more tiring. So if there are more spelling mistakes in the post (Than normal of course, I am aware my spelling blows) blame the wind.

So anyway, a couple of days ago Kim and I built a grid for Rascal. I was pottering around bareback- getting some really nice lateral work and Connie is really starting to free up her neck from her shoulders but I'm losing some of the forward without the security of my saddle to really drive her up into the bridle. Incidently, Connie is lame now with a suspected foot abcess so that is a complete blowout. Anyway, I didn't ride for long because helping Kim was more interesting. And of course there are no photos so I'll try to use lots of describing words.

Anyway the grid looked like this to start of with- 6 rails 9 feet apart. Got Rascal walking and trotting through this- the stridings don't quite work at these gaits but it's really good to get her comfortable with the grid. It was a fairly short striding grid- I opened the last combination out about another foot later on once the fences went up to allow for the bigger landing distance. It doesn't seem like muh but with ascending fences it makes a difference. Anyway, it was a short striding grid because we were looking to get her really powering off of her hocks.

Eventually you build up the grid to
groundrail- 9ft- crossbar- 9ft- rail- 9ft- crossbar- 9ft- rail- 9ft- small oxer

The problem that arose was this firstly that Rascal was basically ignoring the first cross and making a hash of it because she was more focused on the fences to come. So I put a little wall under the first cross and though Kim had to use more leg we achieved the ideal in that she actually looked at it and jumped it well. Then we changed it up (It's important to change grids often, if they get repetitive the point is lost)

groundrail- 9ft- crossbar- 9ft- rail- 9ft- upright- 9ft- rail- 10ft- ascending oxer

We gradually built up the oxer to about 1.10m high and 1.10m wide which would be bigger than Rascal has ever jumped having had most of last season of and being only 6. She actually started to really jump which was nice to see, and to open up behind which was even better. This brought up another issue which was Kimbles (Sorry love haha making an example of you). Basically the bigger fence was making Kim change her riding, she wanted to both really drive Rascal to the oxer and to unfold to early and in doing so catching Rascal's mouth as she came down.

My theory on gridwork is it's about training the horse so ideally the rider stays very quiet and in two point, allowing with the hand over the fence and lots of leg on take-off but basically letting the horse do the job for it's self. In that way you train the horse to think for itself as well as training it's strength and agility. Once Kim could trust Rascal and stayed quiet she got some beautiful jumping out of the little horse.

Then I built this grid
groundrail- 9ft- crossbar- 9ft- rail- 9ft- upright- 9ft- rail- 10ft- steep cross

Now steep crosses are just that steep crosses- I'm talking on the top holes of the stands. Steep crosses will make your horse get his knees up around his ears but they will also back him off a lot so if your horse is really chicken to fences I don't suggest it until he is bolder. Rascal took a lot of riding to it and when she got there she jumped over the shoulder and folded her legs underneath her. Gross! So I pushed the cross back so the face of it sloped and the next time down she nearly boomed Kim out the saddle and really got those knees up! Nice!

Final grid
groundrail- 9ft- crossbar- 9ft- rail- 9ft- 1.15m upright- 9ft- rail- 9ft- oxer~90cm

Just chucked up a big upright in the middle to see how she would cope and she jumped it really nicely so we called it a day. A successful jumping session all round. I think bounce grid for this horse next time but we are severely restricted in the jumping equipment we have so the grids tend to be pretty simple.


  1. when is your first outing for the season?

    some of mine have been doing unreg winter stuff already, and the others are all back in work now
    I'm thinking Pukehu for some showjumping - might see you up there?

  2. Na we wont make it to Pukahu- Truckie needs some repairs and I just haven't had time to even breathe recently it's too early for us. Weare starting at Te Teko in the Bay of Plenty (I have family there) I guess you will see us first at Spring show in Carterton if you come that far- or Labour weekend or Wairarapa A+P.