Vertical Training – 3’9″

Kate has been doing a great job of setting up some excellent gymnastics for us.  My favourite so far has been the trot poles into an oxer — which we gradually raised to 3’6″ high by 3’6″ wide. Yes — we trotted into a 3’6″ oxer!  I never would have believed it.  And Kate figures we should be able to get up to 4′ and change.  Just goes to show that you don’t have to rush the fence — the horse can do it from a trot!

All that being said, in competition we can’t do fences at a trot.  We need to do them at a canter or gallop and so we also need to practice jumping at the height we’ll be competing and at a canter.  With all the cold weather, we haven’t really jumped much. So since today was reasonably “warm” (around 0 degrees C.), I took Gamble out and did a bit of jumping over a vertical.

We know that we need energy, straightness, balance and rhythm and today I was concentrating on energy (getting that “quality canter”) and rhythm — as well as working to set Gamble up for a good fence while letting him take care of the last 3 strides towards the fence.

Here is the video of Gamble and me doing a 3’6″ vertical (3 times) and then two clips of me doing the 3’9″ height.

I was happy with his straightness, rhythm, energy and balance getting into the fence each time.  He knocked the first attempt a 3’9″ — but without changing anything, he cleared it the second attempt with ease.  We’re letting him pick the spot at which to take off (which is really tough for me) and so occasionally he’s going to knock one — and I’m okay with that.  He’s a smart horse — so I know he’ll figure out how to clear the jumps without knocking them.

For Intermediate and CIC **, we need to do 3’11” with confidence every time, so we’ll need to continue to work up the height — and then work into oxers.  We have 10 weeks until our first Intermediate event.  Lots of time to hit that target — but just enough time to get us doing it with confidence every time.

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