Monday, September 9, 2013

Grid Pro Quo Gems

I'm in the middle of a writing frenzy currently, trying to get a bunch of Grid Pro Quo articles written before things get too crazy this fall.  While I was writing Sally Cousins' piece last night, I kept going back to this one paragraph we wrote about how she likes to warm her horses up.  That got me to thinking.  Would everyone find this piece of advice as useful as I do?  Or would others latch onto different tips? Of course this is assuming that anyone actually reads these articles!  In any case, I thought it would be fun to share some of the gems of information that riders have shared with me over the past 2 years of writing.

Sharon White's Article
"When teaching, I always tell my students to not bring the problems from their dressage work to the jump ring.  If I have a horse that have trouble doing a reinback, or has trouble staying connected through a right lead canter depart, I might just let that go for the day. I don't want to start my jump school with a negative attitude, so I will instead concentrate on the flatwork exercises that my horse does really well, and build from there." ~ Sally Cousins, Sally Cousins Eventing [stay tuned!] ~

 "The successful training of a horse comes from building on something that they understand. So taking a little time in the beginning will reward you in spades at the end." ~ Sharon White, Last Frontier Farm [Issue 7, 2013] ~
Robert Costello's Exercise

"We need to condition ourselves that riding into a combination really just requires us riding in good rhythm and balance on a straight line to a single jump. If we can achieve that we’ve done our job. The rest is up to the horse. Of course this easier said than done, so like anything thing else it demands practice (practice, practice)." ~ Robert Costello, ROC Equestrian [Issue #7, 2012] ~

"The big key is create a good canter and keep that canter through the turns.  The fences should really just come up as you canter your [exercise]." ~ Courtney Cooper, C Square Farm [Issue 6, 2012] ~

"When horses jump with the most confidence, they trust in their ability to let go in their bodies, which means they soften their jump. If a horse is tense, nervous, spooky, or not sure of something, they tend to be very tight in their bodies, not just their brains, which can manifest in a variety of ways." ~ Jenn Simmons, Jenn Simmons Eventing [stay tuned!]~

"Having your horse really straight is one of the hardest things to do because every horse (just like every person) has its own quirks or areas of soreness and will inevitably travel a little crooked to compensate.  But some horses also use crookedness as an evasion or disobedience.  And, depending on your horse, it depends on how adamant they will be about staying crooked, and for what reason--disobedience versus soreness.  But as you go through the lines, be aware of your straightness and you'll be surprised by how much it affects your horse's rhythm and regulation." ~ Jon Holling, Holling Eventing [Issue #3, 2013] ~

"So, you're probably wondering what you, the rider, are supposed to be doing through this exercise.  The answer is pretty simple … as little as possible.  This is the classic case of letting the exercise do all the work and staying out of your horse's way so they can do their job." ~ Katie Wherley, Rock Solid Training [Issue #3, 2012] ~

Laine Ashker's Article
"You’ll notice that some of the best riders in the country could be considered the least interesting to watch because they are doing the least. These are the riders that are interfering the least with their horses, and therefore their horses are able to keep a good rhythm throughout the course." ~ Laine Ashker, Laine Ashker Eventing [Issue #6, 2013] ~ 

"One of the best things you can do as a rider is watch as much as you can.  Think about it … watching riders warm up at shows is free! And most clinics have a nominal auditing fee. So the next time you have a spare weekend, find a local show or clinic and spend a day watching.  I bet you'll come away inspired to go home and practice what you saw." ~ Stephen Bradley, Stephen Bradley Eventing [Issue 1, 2012] ~ 

Skyeler Icke-Voss's Exercise
"[When warming up] The focus is on bending the horse through the ribcage and not just the neck. This helps make sure that your whole horse is between your aids." ~ Skyeler Icke Voss, Morningside Eventing [Issue 8, 2013] ~

"For the rider, I like to focus on keeping their leg on through the line to produce a straighter horse and a quality jump." ~ Kelley Williams, A Bit Better Farm [Issue 2, 2012] ~

"As riders make their way through the exercise, I am looking for straightness above all things. It takes a certain level of concentration to keep looking ahead to the next jump." ~ Kerry Blackmer, Miles Ahead Farm [Issue 5, 2012] ~

"The rails are not there to try to trip them in up in effort to sharpen them. Rather, the rails are there to spell things out a bit and give them confidence." ~ Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch, SRB Equestrian [Issue 4, 2013] ~

Steuart Pittman's Article
"Learning to ride the canter well, be it sitting, two-point, or a half-seat, is a skill that we can all stand to practice." ~ Steuart Pittman, Dodon Farm Training Center [Issue #10, 2012] ~

"The reality of our lives as eventers is that we are jumping solid obstacles 50 percent of our competitive careers. So it is imperative that when things get tricky, your horse has the ability to think for itself and get you both to the other side safely, and you have the ability to stay balanced and out of his way. Good horses become great horses when they are able to take care of their riders while doing their job flawlessly at the same time. Good riders become great riders when they are able to allow their horses to do their job." ~ Will Faudree, Galivan Farm [Issue #2, 2013] ~

"When you are looking down this long line of fences, it can look imposing, but after you break the exercise down and take it one jump at a time, it is quite doable. Then, when you have successfully completed the exercise, you look back and feel good about what you have accomplished." ~Danny Warrington, Danny Warrington Equestrian [Issue 1, 2013] ~

Katie Ruppel's Exercise
"It is easy to stay straight over the skinny rail when it is the first part of the exercise, but it is easy to drift to one side when you have to jump first. This is when, as a rider, you have to hold your position and stay committed to the line." ~Katie Ruppel, Yellow Rose Eventing [Issue #9, 2012] ~

"As any trainer will tell you, adjustability is one of the best tools you can teach your horse when it comes to competing.  You'll find that just as you're teaching your horse adjustability, you as a rider will also learn to adjust more quickly and effectively to get through the exercise well." ~ Valerie Vizcarrando, Blue Clover Eventing [Issue #8, 2012]

Val Vizcarrando's Article
"[T]he regularity of this canter grid will help you develop your eye a bit.  This way when you're at a competition you can take a deep breathe and not worry about finding the perfect spot because you will have spent time schooling the right canter." ~ Molly Bull, Plain Dealing Farm [stay tuned!] ~

"The goal is for the rider to complete the exercise without a loss of rhythm or position.  I am also looking for the riders to "ride less," meaning that I don't want them working too hard." ~ Imtiaz Anees, Springtown Stables [stay tuned!] ~ 

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