101 Jumping Exercises Book Review

The Christmas holidays arrived, yipppeeee and so did a serious amount of rain...not so yippee! But Oscar and I could not complain, because one; we were off work, which meant playing ponies every day - pure luxury - and two; we have an indoor arena and no work meant I had the time to create some fun exercises.

I dug out my 101 Jumping Exercises book by Linda Allen, I've browsed through it at home and hand picked basic exercises in the past that I've taken to the yard in my head, but never dared set up any of the complex courses and the rain gave me and a friend at the yard a good reason to do so.

Image result for 101 jumping exercises

And although choosing more complicated exercises than we'd normally challenge ourselves to, the 101 Jumping Exercises book made them foolproof because each exercise includes instructions on;
  • How to set up
  • What equipment you need
  • The gait in which you're riding at
  • The striding 
  • Where your eye line should be 
  • A diagram
  • Tips on how to ride the exercise, things to double check, hints and ways to vary the exercise once you've got the hang of it
  • Plus benefits and problems you might encounter in your session and how to solve them
We decided on an exercise with five jumps in an X shape, this wasn't a test of height but control to jump on an angle while remaining central and not letting Oscar run onto the third jump - often one and two are controlled, then Oscar gets the hang of an exercise and can get low and rushed before I have even thought about lifting my shoulders back. Oscar needed to listen to me because to throw in a curve ball, the exercise could also be ridden as two simple straights. As it was an X it could be ridden successfully on both reins and put together to allow you to continue jumping on and on and on...I loved it!

So much so the book made another appearance a few days later, this time jumping on a shallow loop. Three jumps, the first and third parallel and the third slightly off centre to create the shallow loop shape, this exercise was ugly in trot, but once canter was established it was beautiful to ride and I loved it because I could keep going around and around, I like to do an exercise a few times, especially if it isn't quite spot on the first time, I don't like to rest, I'm happy to keep on cantering and prepare to correct where I went wrong. This exercise was such fun, Oscar felt confident because it asked less questions than the X above and it was easy to ride, so much so, we changed the cross poles to straights.

As always holidays have to come to an end, I returned to work on Tuesday 5th and to keep the motivation high one evening set up a simple cross pole on a 20m circle, warmed up, put Oscar into canter and worked on the circle, popping the jump, the focus on settling into a rhythm and maintaining it. Winter weekday evenings often see Oscar and I concentrate on our flatwork but I am going to make an effort to throw something super fun in weekly/fortnightly. I don't have the lighting to jump complex exercises but the book contains pages and pages of pole and simple jump combinations! 

101 Jumping Exercises was purchased from Amazon, I chose the plastic comb option but they vary in design/new/used and cost as little as £7.04. A small price to pay for instant inspiration, why did I leave it at home for so long? It is now a permanent feature in my tack room, long may it rein.

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx

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