Bounce on Bounce on Bounce

Short lesson recap!

We decided to move my lesson to Tuesday so Frankie could have a couple days to not jump before the show. Actually, starting next week I’ll be lessoning on Tuesdays in my new private spot! But this week there were two of us there.

I hopped on and actually had a moment where I thought Frankie might be sore or NQR. And then I realized that he was just being lazy and slow. And the reason I thought something was wrong is because I don’t think I’ve ever had him be lazy and slow before.

Legit my horse slows down a bit and I’m like DID HE BREAK?! Spoiler alert: no. The shift in temperature combined with his high workload made him tired. Kinda funny that 6 months in, this is pretty much the first time he’s been slow.

But he felt great once we got moving a bit more. I’m asking more and more for him to keep that poll high and come onto the bit, and it’s coming together. A better rider than I could definitely develop that more quickly, but Frankie doesn’t have a better rider as a mother. He has me. So we’ll get there when we get there.

You don’t get a diagram today, because it was gymnastic day so my rich vocabulary and vivid descriptions should serve you just fine.


We started out warming up over a crossrail and some canter poles. And then more poles started getting lifted up off the ground and I’ll save you the progression but what we ended up with was a gymnastic on the outside- one stride x-rail to vertical, one stride out over oxer- and then four jumps on the quarter line set to be fairly tight bounces.

That’s right folks, we made the Amazing Leaping Alpaca do three bounces in a row. I am the meanest mom in the world and made him pIcK uP hIs FeEt WhY1??!11/1? He was such a good boy about it though! Required TONS of leg to get through it and it definitely wasn’t his favorite exercise, but was very game every time.

Literally exactly like this

We ran into the exact situation my trainer warned me about- we’ve been working SO hard on packaging and collecting with our flatwork, but once the jumps go up we need to get that spicy forward motion back. That delicate balance between packaged and energetic. I don’t want to run Francis at the jumps, but I can’t be holding him together the whole time either. We need to get the energy up and get him tuned into my aids so that we can package or extend as the need arises, and don’t get stuck exclusively packaging (which is what happened in our lesson).


Trainer ended the lesson the way she likes to end most gymnastic lessons- going to a larger single jump set on a long approach. I think Frankie was quite happy to open his stride out after all those bounces and very obligingly brightened up to it. It was a nice physical and mental decompression from the grid work we had been doing, and the bigger height made him actually stretch a little bit.


Bonus: I’ve started to get better about not changing my ride based on the height. I used to run my horse at bigger fences which was SUPER counter-productive, but I’m getting much more comfortable waiting to see the spot and then riding to the spot. You know, like you’re supposed to do. Doiii.

Really though, that bounce exercise was SO good for Frankie. I plan to incorporate raised cavaletti/pole work often over the winter so we can have a low-impact way to practice PICKING OUR FEET UP ALL THE WAY, HORSE.

ALL the way up.

Frankie is already at the showgrounds this afternoon and I’ll be there tomorrow morning bright and early! Planning to follow pretty much the same schedule as last time- tomorrow is a 0.90m to get us warmed up and thinking, and then our first Low class will be an hour or so after that. Updates as events warrant!

What kinds of grids do you like to use? Have you found bounces to be helpful to get your own pet llama to pick their feet up?

10 thoughts on “Bounce on Bounce on Bounce

  1. Jenn 09/29/2016 / 1:42 pm

    The only thing that can be concluded from this post is that you win the GIF game this week.


  2. Centered in the Saddle 09/29/2016 / 1:42 pm

    Bounces and grids are the best! We use them a TON, especially over the winter, and occasionally as a tune-up during the summer.


  3. Monica V 09/29/2016 / 2:04 pm

    GOATIES < 3 I almost died watching it over and over because I forgot to breathe because they're so cute OMG

    You know I love me some grids and bounces. Bounces for days


  4. Micaylah 09/29/2016 / 2:32 pm

    I want that moose! So cute! Almost as cute as Frankie 😉


  5. shelbyrallen 09/29/2016 / 2:36 pm

    I like bounces! My llama is pretty good at keeping his feet out of the way, but sometimes forgets how to use his entire body properly over the fences. A lot of times my jump trainer will have us warm up over some sort of bounce cavaletti, and randomly later in the jump lesson when we’re working on courses, she will have us do the bounce cavaletti in the middle of the course to keep us sharp. GOOD LUCK THIS WEEKEND!


  6. Stacie Seidman 09/29/2016 / 3:14 pm

    My horses LOVE that game! We call it Lame or Lazy. Usually the answer is lazy.
    These GIFS are so perfect, kudos to you!
    Good luck and have fun!


  7. carey 09/29/2016 / 5:11 pm

    “I used to run my horse at bigger fences which was SUPER counter-productive, but I’m getting much more comfortable waiting to see the spot and then riding to the spot.”


  8. Heather 09/30/2016 / 10:20 am

    Oh hey that running at the fences thing is how I ate dirt last weekend. Lol. I’m pretty good at waiting at home, but somehow dressing up makes it way harder to ride well or something.

    I have a love hate relationship with bounces. On the one hand, they’re super useful for getting a horse snappy. On the other hand, If I do too many, Val gets so snappy with his knees that his back gets hollow. Just a matter of finding a balance.

    Also I legit watched that alpaca take off from the fence like 5 times and giggled out loud every time while sitting at my desk at work.


  9. Liz 09/30/2016 / 3:41 pm

    The sheep don’t want to be seen with you and your bouncing alpaca!


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