Lesson Plan–Gymnastics for Bending Lines/Landing on Correct Lead

Posted on Nov 6, 2014

Lesson Plan – Gymnastics for Bending Lines/Landing on Correct Leads

Alita (Bunny) Hendricks

USPC National Examiner

Sunshine Region RIC 2014

Level: Variable (Jump heights may be adjusted)

Class Size: Variable

Time: 1 hour to 1 hour 30 min. depending on size of class

Reference: “Points for Riders- Gymnastics- Systematic Training for Jumping Horses” by James C. Wofford, pp 65-70

Equipment: 7 pairs standards, 13-15 rails

Objective: Rider will apply the aids to influence the canter lead the horse lands on to ride a bending line in balance through a progressively built gymnastic exercise.

Introductions: Briefly introduce yourself. Ask riders to introduce themselves and to include the following information: Name, Age, USPC Certification Level, Mount’s Name and Age, How long they have been a “team”, What kind of work and at what level they have been doing, On the average, how many days a week do they ride on a regular basis, Have either Mount or Rider had any illnesses or injuries recently, (i.e. just getting over the flu, or horse had colic surgery 9 months ago). These questions give an idea as to the experience and fitness levels of both mount and rider to do the work of the lesson at hand and instructor can adjust or individualize the plan accordingly.

Warm up: Walk, trot, canter asking for work and transitions to be done in half seat. Progress to the exercise set:

A.) Trot in to Ground pole; 9 ft. to Small Vertical (A)

B.) Trot in to Ground pole, to Small Vertical; 18 ft. to Small Oxer (B)

Explanation: Rephrase the objective. This is a terrific advantage when riding a course. The aids needed to ask for a specific canter lead upon landing are: Select which lead you wish to land on ahead of time (planning!). As your horse takes off for the jump, open your inside rein and move your outside rein towards your horse so it presses slightly against his/her neck. Squeeze with your outside leg and shift your weight over your inside knee. Turn your head and eyes to look to the center of the next jump.

Practice the aids for the canter leads at stand still, both right and left lead.

C.) Trot in to Ground pole, to Small Vertical, to Small Oxer, right lead/turn; 3 strides to vertical. (C) (Repeat)

D.) Trot in to Ground pole, to Small Vertical, to Small Oxer, left lead/turn; 2 strides to vertical. (D) (Repeat)

E.) Trot in to Ground pole, to Small Vertical, to Small Oxer, 4 steady strides to Oxer (E) (Repeat)

Land in a light three-point position with your hands at your horse’s withers and squeeze the reins without pulling back. Do not sit down, or lean back and grip. This will cause your horse to run through the exercise in a long and flat stride.

Lesson Extension: Do as many as possible, time permitting.

Ride the exercise as various courses:

1.)    Trot in, jump A, B, C, and then turn left (with correct lead) to canter over D in the opposite direction it has been previously jumped.

2.)    Trot in, jump A, B, D, and then turn right (with correct lead) to canter over C in the opposite direction it has been previously jumped.

3.)    Trot in, jump A, B, E, and quietly halt in a straight line.

Summary: Today we worked on an exercise that will help you land on the desired lead for course work. We used an open inside rein and supported the outside rein on the horse’s neck. We pressed the horse with our outside leg and sent more weight onto our inside knee. Additionally, we looked into the direction of our turn, focusing above the center of the top rail of the next fence. What was new or different or particularly useful or effective for you today?

Homework: Individualized suggestions.