It has come to my attention that, while many trainers and coaches seem to use them frequently, grids are not something that I am ever inspired to set up in the jumping arena. So I thought I should have a think about why I don’t tend to use them.
My jumping training is based around making the horse as self-sufficient as possible. I believe that his sense of self-preservation is second to none, and figure I might as well harness this to help keep me safe while jumping. I believe that horses are the most incredibly brave creatures if given a chance to learn their job and we MUST furnish the horse’s innate ability to look after himself.
For this reason, I spend a lot of time in my jumping training, especially on the young horses, letting them get to the base of the fence wherever their canter (or trot as the case often is) happens to get them there. From here, I want them to learn to do whatever footwork is required to safely negotiate the obstacle. They may put one foot down (a quarter stride) or two (a half stride), or they may chip in a whole stride – whatever they do is up to them, my job is to stay out of the way and in the best balance possible.