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It’s been quite a while since I have written a blog here, let’s just say, since COVID-19 I’ve had a nice break away from my laptop!

As lockdown starts to ease, let’s talk about how it has affected us here at Eventful Eventing. So just before lockdown I started to work from home, which was lovely as it cuts out the big commute which takes up around 3+ hours a day, so this allowed me to have more time with the horses. So before work, me and Cino would go for a long rein around the block, and after work, me and Bailey had a ride. Then boom, lockdown hit and I was furloughed, which has really opened my eyes, and makes me sooo grateful for what I have and where I live. I did still hack bailey out and did a bit of schooling work and some small jumping, but I didn’t want to push us too hard, to keep the pressure of the NHS.

Looking back, I wish I done more around the stables but when the weather is that hot it really sucks the motivation out of me. But I did do one thing that I’ve been putting off for a very long time now and that was to wash the trailer, inside and out, which I really should do a lot more often as it took 2 hours! But it’s very nice and clean now. My tack had a deep clean too, and all my saddle cloths are now organised in colour order.

So now that lockdown is easing and venues are starting to reopen, but with a socially distanced approach, we are falling into the ‘new normal’; new ways of training and socialising, new ways of competing by doing more virtual shows, and the new ‘normal’ way that shows will run.

This year, the plan was to really push ourselves out eventing by doing at least one a month and finishing the season on completing at least one BE100. Whereas now I can’t see myself doing an event this year, because even if BE does start back up again, it’s now out of scope for my budget. But this just means I need to make the most of this year and turn it into a fun year by adventuring out and going places we haven’t been before, alongside doing more dressage and show jumping shows.

A little update on Bailey - he has had his 8th birthday while on lockdown and has been working very well. Once venues reopened, we did pop out to Hickstead XC and discovered we have lost a bit of nerve... I say ‘we’, I think it is more ‘me’! So we are going to try to go out as much as possible to help get this back. Stay tuned to hear what training we will be doing to help us regain our confidence in XC again, and keep up to date on how we are doing.

In the meantime, here’s an exercise I found that I just had to try... and it’s amazing!


Jumping exercise with 4 Jumps

What you’ll need;

  • 8 wings/blocks
  • 4 poles

How to set it up;

To set this up is very easy and if you set it up right in the middle of the school, you will be able to do much more than just go up and down the grid.

It’s a simple 4 jump bounce, but you set every other jump staggered half way to the side.

How to ride it;

Blue line - single fence (good for a warm up jump)
Red line - one stride
Gold line - one bounce diagonal
Green line - row of bounces

Normally, with grid work, all the poles are down apart from one, and you build up each jump. But due to this great layout, you can set it up and then put all the jumps up before you start, so that when you’re warming up you can pop over the end jumps (blue lines) to warm your horse up gradually over a single fence. Once bailey feels good, I then move on to the one stride (red line), going over them in both directions and from both sides. Then, I move on to doing the angled bounce (gold line) followed by the row of bounces (green line). Once I’ve been over all the different ways to approach this, I start tying them together to loop round from one to the other.

This exercise was great with Bailey. Bailey is one for locking up on a jump and ignoring what you’re asking of him, and once he has done something once, he thinks he knows what you’re going to ask, so just goes and does it anyway. Due to the amount of different angles and variations involved in this exercise, I found it really kept him on his toes and made him listen to where I wanted him to go. This can be quite daunting if you use large jump wings but it will really help you focus on keeping straight.

This is a great exercise where height does not matter - you can do this with cavalettis, jump blocks, or even jump wings - which makes it a good exercise for all types of horse, from ponies and dressage horses to eventers and all rounders.

Although this is an amazing exercise, I would not recommend doing this on a green/novice horse or if you lack confidence jumping. If you do lack confidence, I would suggest trying this with just 2 jumps.

Top Tip – do this with 12ft poles (no shorter)

Rachael Skinner - Eventful Eventing
Horsemart Brand Ambassador
Published on 10-06-2020
Rachael is an amateur Event rider from Kent and Bailey is a 7 year old 17hh gelding, and together they go by the name of Eventful Eventing. Rachael says "I may not be at the top of the game, doing 4 star Eventing, but I am a realist. I like to include the lows as well as the highs in training and competing, and general yard to yard activities. Although our main aim is within Eventing, I like to dabble in other disciplines too."