My First Grid

I’m trying to get in as many lessons as possible before my next show. Even though I still have to get through my three nervous experiences before getting a good experience, I’d like to make the next one as not nervous as possible.

Tuesday, was the first of my two lessons this week. But, instead of working on courses, my trainer built a grid. It was horrifying. I’ve never done a grid before.

The most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen.

It started with just a crossrail. That was simple. Then she added a ground pole. Still easy. Then she made that into a vertical. The first time I did it, Berry didn’t mind, but the second time, it was like she suddenly realized it was there. “Egads! Who put this here?!” and slammed on the breaks.

Then she added a third pole, which started as a little vertical. At first, I was having issues with straightness. Zig-zagging is not appropriate for this exercise, so she dropped the pole on the ground between jump 1 and 2 to keep me straight. Then she dropped a flower box between 2 and 3 on the opposite side. Not wanting to land on those was pretty big motivation for getting it straight.

Then jump 3 got raised. And then it was made into an oxer. The first time, she decided to lengthen her stride and go from 2 to 3 in one stride. It took me a while to get it smoothly, but I had to shorten her step, and get her to do it in 2. I’m kind of questioning if it was me doing anything at all, or her just deciding it made sense to do it in 2, and making the executive decision.

At one point, I got left behind on the first jump, my foot jammed too far into my stirrup, and was overall frazzled. Usually when such a thing happens, I will pull out, stop, and restart the exercise. In the grid though, that did not seem to be an option. Once started in motion over the grid, the grid must be finished. So I didn’t even think of stopping, I just powered right through in my weird feeling position. But this earned praise!! And since I could sustain myself entirely off of praise, I was quite pleased.

Then the jump went up more, until it was a 2’6″ oxer. And we did it smoothly!! (although probably thanks to Berry being smarter than me). I am very excited that I did a 2’6″ oxer with my horse. Yay!!!

Berry got lots of pats and praise, and then zoned out while I helped my trainer dismantle everything. She was tuckered out, and I am so proud of her for giving such a great effort.

My trainer told me to look forward to lots of grid work over the winter. It will be good for my position, will strengthen Berry, and work on adjusting her for the strides. Right now, I would estimate this exercise being about 10% fun, and 90% terrifying, but I’m sure those numbers will change when I do it more. At least I’m hoping!

In non-horse news, when I got home, I gave scratch to the chickens and accidentally dumped a bunch on Fluffers. But she’s not a chicken that will let things like that keep her down!

“It’s fine, I eat food off my back all the time.”

She’s such a classy chicken.

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  1. I love grids. You just point and shoot and you can really work on your own form as your horse goes over the jumps. It also helps your horse figure out how to manage their own feet.

    How does your white chicken stay that white? We used to have one and it always looked like dirt.

    1. Hopefully it will help Berry with her feet. She’s kind of klutzy haha.
      To keep your chickens their whitest, use one teaspoon of oxyclean in a gallon of water, apply liberally and then rinse after about 20 minutes. Chicken sleezy’s during the day, and if your chicken is a low rooster, at night too.
      But actually, I have no idea. She’s just a lady like that. She’s almost never dirty.

  2. omg Fluffers!!!! sometimes i feel that way when i accidentally drop crumbs down the front of my shirt…. tmi? oh well…

    anyways tho… yay grids!!!! my trainer *loves* them to the point where i’ve had no choice but to love them almost as well myself. and the difference they’ve made in my horse is undeniable – she definitely understands way better now how to find the fence, and how to rock back and push from her hind end. sounds like Berry enjoyed it too!!

    1. haha it happens to all us ladies/hens!
      I’m hoping I will learn to love them! Right now it just feels like I’m clinging on a roller coaster coming off its tracks. It did seem like Berry liked it, once she figured it out!

  3. Grids are fantastic for helping the horse sort things out. There’s no stopping, you have to keep leg on and just let them work it out. I would do grids every lesson if I could!

  4. Grids are the perfect exercise for every hunter/jumper. It helps you to learn more, staying sharp and keep from falling into lazy routines.

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