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Eventer Hayden Hankey shares a simple gridwork exercise and answers some burning questions…

March 16th, 2021

fools in love in dc morgan ridden by hayden hankeyJPG“An exercise I like to use to teach my horses to shorten and lengthen over their fences as well as develop a strong core and give them confidence, is grids!” Hayden explains.

“I like to mix it up a lot but I always use poles on the floor to encourage understanding of what I’m asking; raised poles coming in (three human strides apart) to create the canter; single poles between fences to create the stride I want.

Sometimes double poles two feet apart to encourage a bigger longer stride; and a landing pole (four human strides away) to encourage the horse to reach, and keep travelling after the fences.

I always use a soft Bombers snaffle like an Eggbutt Happy Tongue or Eggbutt bomber Blue 2 WM

Bomber Blue (right) to encourage them to take the contact forward and use themselves; then I just keep a soft hand and try and go with them, letting them work it out.

If I need to keep them rounder, I might use a Bombers DC Dressage or DC Morgan Bomber Blue bit.” (Below left).

The DC Morgan Bomber Blue Swivel Bit is designed to remove as many pressures as possible. It creates a safe, responsive and comfortable communication between horse and rider.

The key feature of the cheek pieces is the loose ring which is attached to the cheek piece of the bridle which also can rotate, ensuring the poll and cheek area is relieved from any rein engagement.

DC Morgan Bomber Blue SW 2 WMHayden’s burning questions:

What’s your best piece of advice and why?

heads up hayden hankey Set yourself goals, and plan a path to achieving them.

Goals are what takes us forward in life and keep us motivated.

They’re the first step on the journey to where we ultimately want to be. Remember though, the road to success is never a straight one!

What’s your ultimate riding or training goal?

To be competitive at the world’s biggest 5*’s, Badminton and Burghley, as well as be selected for the championship teams!

What will you be doing in 20 years’ time?

20 years time is a long time away!

Hopefully I’ll have achieved some of my goals and still be living the dream, riding the most wonderful horses, day in day out!




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*England, Wales and Scottish Lowlands