Apr 16, 2020

One Grid, Four Exercises with Mary Schwentker

I use this layout a lot for clinics. The exercises can be made easy enough for the D1 pony clubber and challenging enough for the most advanced horse and rider. All exercises work with poles on the ground or small jumps. I usually keep the height of the jumps under 3 feet, even for the upper level horse and rider.

Exercise 1 - The Serpentine

  1. Work on riding well balanced turns, in a rhythmical canter. Ask for the new canter lead while the horse is in the air. School this until the exercise is smooth.
  2. To make it harder, add in a rollback turns for the top and bottom jumps.

Exercise 2 - Counting Strides and Adjustability

  1. Canter the 60’ distance on each lead until the number of strides is consistently the same. I call this “your homebase canter.”
  2. Create the same number of strides between the jumps on both the right lead and the left lead and make that number is consistent so that the canter is balanced in both directions.
  3. Now add a stride between the jumps. Be able to repeat the added stride on both leads. Be able to go back and forth from the homebase canter to the added stride.
  4. Now, from the homebase canter, leave a stride out to the next jump. Be able to go back to homebase canter between the jumps and then leave the stride out between the jumps.
  5. Work to be able to have all three canters available as desired.

Exercise 3 - The Wheels

  1. Canter top four jumps. Work on keeping the circle round and jumping in the center of each jump.
  2. Now work to have the same number of strides between each jump. Be able to switch from top wheel to bottom wheel, keeping the circles round and strides between jumps equal.
  3. Want to make it harder? Try to add a stride between the jumps. Want it harder? Do four strides, jump, then five strides, jump, then four, then five, working between your homebase canter and added stride canter.

Exercise 4 - The Slice

  1. Angle each jump on centerline staying inside of the other jumps.

About Mary Schwentker

Janet Gallay Photo.

Mary Schwentker has successfully competed at multiple international events including the Kentucky Three-Day Event. She has been an ICP Certified Instructor since 2003 at Level II, is an “A” level graduate of the Manada Creek Pony Club, and holds USDF bronze and silver medals. In 1999, Mary was short-listed for the United States Equestrian Team for the Pan American Games. She served on the USEA Board of Governors from 2010-2015. Mary graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science from Wilson College. She has served as the DC for Blue Ridge Hunt Pony Club since 2011. She has been a National Examiner for USPC for more than 10 years and is currently serving on the USEA membership committee, USPC show committee, and USPC national testing committee. She is married to Andrew Schwentker and has two sons, Nicholas and Drew.

Feb 28, 2021 Profile

Now on Course: Heartbeats and Hoofbeats

My name is Tayah Fuller and I’m 14 years old. “On course” to me is a phrase that makes my heart pump fast and my excitement go wild. There is no better feeling than galloping through a field or flying over cross-country jumps with my heart thrumming along, especially when it is with my best friend. You see, I was born with a congenital heart murmur. While it has never really affected my athletic abilities, the one time that I notice it is when I am riding through a cross-country course with my horse.

Feb 27, 2021 Association News

Beware of Phishing Attempts and Other Types of Fraud

Please always remain vigilant when it comes to sending any personal communications via email or text. Every year we receive reports of members and leaders of our sport receiving phishing attempts both online and by phone. These are often communications disguised as being sent from USEA staff or other leaders. As the years go on, the phishing attempts appear to be more directed and tailored.

Feb 27, 2021 Education

Top 10 Tips for Leather Care with Bates Saddles

Tack cleaning is one of those barn chores that might not be our favorite but is certainly necessary for keeping our equipment in top shape. Aside from caring for your tack so it lasts for years to come, regular tack maintenance is important for safety. The last thing you want is the potential for a stitch, zipper, or buckle breaking while you're out on course.

Feb 26, 2021 Rules

Update on Appendix 3 Rule Change Proposal

Following feedback from our membership to the rule change proposal for the USEF Rules For Eventing: Appendix 3 – Participation In Horse Trials, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Board of Governors voted to modify the rule change proposal, but still to recommend the establishment of rider licenses and increase Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) to the regulating authority of the sport US Equestrian (USEF).

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