This is the page where Elizabeth and Barry will share training tips
and give updates on the horses currently in training at the farm.
Each weekend the boarders and the "Friends of Bits & Bytes
Farm" do a group training lesson either at the farm or on the
Gymnastic Training at Bits & Bytes Farm
The weather was perfect on Sunday for a gymnastic lesson. Gymnastics
are good for both the horse and the rider. The rider's position and
timing will be improved. It also will develop the rider's 'eye for
distance' to the fence. At Bits & Bytes Farm, everyone enjoys
getting together for the Sunday lessons. They learn a lot from watching
other horses and riders to see what is actually happening when they
This week we had six riders and seven horses: Wiseguy's
Out with Lauren, Big Money and Gertjan,
Two Thumbs Up and Marie, Joe
and Paula, Broadway Joe and Rachael and we had a
guest rider Betty Morgan on Our Boy Darcy.
Barry's "Special Reserve" horse
Our Boy Darcy with guest Betty Morgan.
Working over grids and poles teaches the horses to judge the distance
on jumps and how to bascule properly. The goal was to keep the horses
calm, regular and at a balanced pace with loose contact. Rhythm, balance
and regularity was stressed for the strides over the obstacles.
Two Thumbs and Marie over the trot poles.
We started with a series of four ground poles at a distance of four
and a half feet apart to make the horse produce a working trot. Each
horse circled around the arena in a line going over the trot poles
several times in each direction.
Two Thumbs Up impressed us all with his jumping
ability. It was his first time doing grid work and jumping combinations.
Look at how happy he is.
Next, we moved from that distance to another group of four poles
set at five feet apart to give the sensation of an extended trot.
This exercise was repeated and then we moved to a group of poles set
at just four feet apart to produce a collected trot. Then we alternated
between different sets of poles so that the horses were doing a working
trot, extended trot or a collected trot. At the end of this exercise
the horses were changing the length of their strides without fuss
and their gaits were even and rhythmical. We were ready to add jumps
to the poles.
Big Money and Gertjan. Big Money was a former
Bits & Bytes Farm horse for sale last year.
Using the four and half foot distance poles we set a cross rail nine
feet away. Each horse trotted through this until everyone had it down
pat staying straight and quiet. Next we added another fence 18 feet
away which was an oxer. The horses learned to canter quietly to the
two fences after entering the poles at a working trot. Even the horses
that had never jumped combinations were enjoying the exercise and
staying quiet. It was a fun lesson for all the participants.
Wiseguy's Out and Lauren working the grid.
Paula did double duty coming back after the lesson for a private
lesson for Grayboo.
It was his first time doing the grid work and he loved it!
Grayboo and Paula.