Jumper Nation Clinic: Max Amaya & Stonehenge Stables

Jumper Nation Clinic continues with a new exercise to try at home.  Jumper Nation has teamed up with top, respected riders who we love for both their horsemanship and their creativity with exercises they use at home.  Each week, we’ll be bringing you a new grid or exercise to try at home.  You’ll be primed and ready for the show ring when we are able to get out there again!

This week’s featured grid is courtesy of Max Amaya and Stonehenge Stables.

Diagram courtesy Max Amaya.

This exercise consists of:

  • Two cavalettis/trot poles set with 3.2′ between them.  These help the horse and rider to enter the grid at the right distance and pace
  • Two cross-rails set as a bounce with 10′ between the two
  • Three fences following the cross-rails, set at 20′ to a vertical, 22′ to an oxer, and 31′ to the final oxer

Max Amaya instructing student Caroline Annarella at Stonehenge Stables in Wellington, FL. Photo by Jump Media.

Max Amaya, founder and lead trainer of Stonehenge Stables, explains: “This grid is designed to trot into, to ensure that you do not start out with too much pace for the short distances. Your entrance to the grid should be smooth and even, allowing the horse to handle the short distances and not feel rushed.

“The bounce and the first short one-stride to the vertical encourage the horse to work on a collected stride while beginning to activate their hind quarters. The short one-stride and the two strides to the two oxers really encourage the horse to push from behind while managing a short distance.

“It is crucial for the rider to let the exercise do the work, but also to remain supportive and ready to encourage the horse with a little leg pressure or their voice if the horse starts to overreact to the grid or to demonstrate that they are lacking confidence in the exercise.

“I usually introduce this grid to a new horse with all cross-rails and slowly build it to verticals and oxers once the horse and rider understand the exercise and feel confident. This exercise does not require a lot of height to accomplish its goal, even for big jumping horses.” 

About Max Amaya

Max Amaya began riding at the age of nine in his native country of Argentina before relocating permanently to the United States in 2000. With the help of his friend, Joe Fargis, Max was introduced to Stacia Klein Madden of Beacon Hill Stables in Colts Neck, NJ, and Max joined the Beacon Hill team to bring his international show jumping experience to the students competing at all levels from the children’s and adult jumpers through to international grand prix.

Simultaneously, Max earned the ride on Church Road, an Irish Sport Horse that would become his horse of a lifetime. With Church Road, Max competed in the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, where he holds the record for the highest placed Argentine in history. In 2007, Max concluded his successful career with “Goldie” by participating in the Pan American Games held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In addition to their individual success, Max and “Goldie” had the honor of competing in Nations Cup competitions on behalf of Argentina on 15 occasions. Max has shared his remarkable success with his students, many of whom are ranked among the Nation’s top riders in the junior, amateur and professional divisions.

Max is pictured here with his dog, Poncho. Photo by Jump Media.

About Stonehenge Stables

Stonehenge Stables is a leading hunter and jumper training program located in Colts Neck, NJ, and Wellington, FL. Stonehenge’s program is focused on building a strong riding foundation rooted in traditional equitation principles, leading to success across all levels.  Stonehenge Stables is easily accessible from New York City and the tri-state area. Students of varying levels come to train at Stonehenge from across the United States. Stonehenge provides a range of training from short stirrup to grand prix, but one priority is always shared: the horses always come first.

To learn more about Stonehenge Stables, click here to visit their website, or find them on Facebook and Instagram

Missed previous weeks’ grids?  Check out them out here:

Go Jumping!