What Is The Spiral Jumping Exercise
This exercise is done on a 20 meter circle. On one side of the circle there is a ground pole set. On the other, there are three jumps right next to each other. With no space in between. So it’s a line of three jumps reaching from the outside of the 20 meter circle to almost the center.
Why Do This Exercise
There are quite a lot of benefits to doing this exercise for both horse and rider. Read on…
Riders Preparing For Their Next Fence
By having to go to a different jump on the circle each time around, the riders have to be constantly looking up and planning for the next fence.
Keeping The Horse Between Leg and Hand
In order to make it through the spiral, you have to have your horse going in between your hand and your leg. He has to be in front of the leg and taking you to the jump. The riders practice turning their whole bodies, as they turn around the circle.
Push Around The Outside Of The Circle, Instead Of Pulling Around The Inside
When riders use their whole bodies, you get the feel that by turning your body you are guiding the horse on the circle. He feels your outside leg and your hands moving in. This makes what is happening feel more like pushing around the outside of the circle rather than pulling around the inside.
Pulling your horse around the inside of the circle leads to crookedness. For both horse and rider.
Maintaining A Steady Tempo In The Canter
The spiral jumping exercise requires the rider to concentrate on so many things to effectively get around the spiral. Maintaining a nice steady canter is one of those things. Remember, it is much easier to see a distance to a jump on a horse that is cantering in a steady rhythm than it is to see a distance on one who is rushing or being sluggish.
Spiral Both In And Out
Cantering the course while spiraling both in and out are both very effective techniques to help horse and rider learn these multi-tasking skills required for riding in general and especially while jumping courses!
Why The Ground Pole On The Opposite Side?
Since the horse is hopefully in a nice, steady canter. He should take the ground pole just as a canter stride. It is a way to help maintain the rhythm as they ride around the circle continuing towards the spiral.
Beginners Can Do This At A Walk Or Trot With Ground Poles
Beginners can do the spiral at a walk or trot with ground poles. It will help their steering, remind them to keep their eyes up and if they are trotting checking diagonals after poles.
Once they are ready, you could always set up the spiral with cross rails and have them trot it. That adds working on two-point and checking diagonals!
The Demo Videos
Don’t Expect Perfection On The First Try
Their is a lot of multitasking involved in this exercise, which is one of the reasons that I think it is so great. That being said, it is hard! Give yourself a chance with it, and don’t expect perfection on your first try. It is just a exercise to throw into your bag of tricks for arena work. The more you practice it, the sooner you will get it right! Don’t give up!
I Love This Exercise
Any exercise that has this many benefits for horse and rider is a keeper in my book. My students seem to have fun with it too. Especially when I put the middle jump up a hole higher than their normal height!
Being a good rider and horseman is all about constantly learning. Trying new things and being open to new ideas. So, here is a new one for you to try!