Exercise 3: Adjacent Oxers
Exercise 3: Adjacent Oxers
Setup: Two oxers set side by side at the end of the ring with a ground pole 18 feet (one stride) in front of each oxer
After riders went through Exercises 1 and 2, they cantered down the long side on the right lead to the other end of the arena where Exercise 3 was set. They cantered over the ground pole closest to the center of the ring, took one quiet stride, jumped the oxer, then made a left circle before they approached the ground pole and oxer closest to the rail in the same fashion. Riders then executed a rollback turn to the right, again as in Exercises 1 and 2, heading in the opposite direction the horse would anticipate.
“You can make a circle in between, you can turn right after the first one, you can halt after the first one,” Kent said. “It doesn’t matter to me. I want you to think about the horse that you are riding, how you are setting him up for the course you’re going to do tomorrow and what’s going to be productive training.”
When Olivia jumped Exercise 1 and halted, Kent told her that on her hot horse she should have transitioned down to walk or, even better, a very slow trot to keep the mare’s mind quiet.
“There’s no rush, there’s no time limit here, just train the horse,” Kent said deliberately as he asked Oliva to make a circle before approaching Exercise 2. “It’s really important to me when I’m schooling a horse that I’m not on a clock for anything. You’re thinking about how to make this horse better for your course tomorrow,” he continued, referring to the mock Nations Cup scheduled for the following day. “She has to be obedient, slow, on a longer stride than she naturally wants to carry while, at the same time, being relaxed.”
After Exercise 2, Olivia trotted down the long side and made a circle at the canter before approaching the oxer. “Perfect,” praised Kent. “I like that. There’s no limit to what you can do. You make it work for your horse. If you need to make a circle or make two circles, it’s no big deal.”
In contrast, Kent reminded Caitlyn Connors, whose horse was “a bit slow off the spur, hanging off the back pole [of the crossrail in Exercise 2] and almost landing on the ground line” to be ready with a cluck so that he moves. “Make sure you’re covering the distance by using your leg or your cluck, not by getting there with your shoulder,” he warned.
When the horse hung on the bridle and tried to go right after the crossrail in anticipation of heading to Exercise 3, Kent had Caitlyn turn him left and make a half circle. “He wants to go to
Olivia Woodson and Stairway to the Stars soar over the oxer closest to the rail in Exercise 3 after just jumping the oxer closest to the center of the ring while heading in the opposite direction.