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.

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For seasoned and novice riders alike, it is always good to revisit the basics. Serving as the foundation for any eventer, the positions used on the cross-country course differ from those in the dressage or show jumping ring. The USEA tuned into five-time Olympian, three-time World Equestrian Games rider, two Pan-American Games rider, and USEA ECP certified coach Karen O'Connor as she walked coaches and students at the USEA ECP Symposium through the basic positions for effective cross-country riding.

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USEF New Phone and Fax Number

The USEF's main phone number and fax number have changed. We wanted to notify you so you continue to get the support you need.

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With the recent wrap-up of the 2023 Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) Symposium in Ocala, Florida, USEA Podcast Host Nicole Brown chats with ECP Faculty Members Jennifer Howlett Rousseau and Robin Walker about all things related to the ECP. From the USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels to the benefits of pursuing certification, selecting the best coach for you, recapping this year's Symposium, and more - this week's USEA podcast is the perfect educational tool for coaches and riders alike!

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3 Steps to More Successful Saddle Time in 2023

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