Cavelletti and other training games: - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 08-02-2011, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Cavelletti and other training games:

Levee and I are doing lots of ground work, to occupy his mind and exercise his body. Hes not sure what I want him to do on the lunge line and he continues trying to come into the center of the circle to be with me. Im going to get someone more experienced with a lunge line to help me, but in the mean time, Im working with him in-hand and spending a lot of time jogging beside him. Yesterday, I taught him voice cues walk, tee-rot, whoa and back and he picked them up very quickly. Within 2 circuits of the arena, he had figured out that I wanted him to jog beside me as soon as I said tee-rot. Needless to say, I was sweating by the end of the work out and he was quite proud of himself.

While jogging with him, I spotted some cavelletti in the corner. Would it be too early to introduce him to cavelletti? Not jumping, but to teach him how to place his feet and step over the poles? How far apart should I place the poles for walking and trotting? He has a fairly long stride, but Ive never been completely sure of how far apart I should start the cavelletti. Hes not clumsy, but I want to engage his mind as much as I can. Hes almost TOO intelligent and he gets bored very quickly. Ive found that he concentrates better on other lessons, like tying and hoof cleaning, after a half-hour work out and Id like to take advantage of this. Do you have any exercises that I could do with him in the arena that would be fun and engaging for him, while teaching him ground manners and other important things hell need to know?
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post #2 of 5 Old 08-02-2011, 01:59 PM
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How old is Levee? I ask because if he is really young you would make his lessons shorter in time than if he was older.

I take Mac up to our "arena" (read very bumpy grass pasture with assorted old jumps and barrels scattered about) and send him over cavaletti, around barrels, have him sidepass along a cavalletti, etc. Being able to "send" your horse places on the leadline is a very important skill.
This means that you can make the horse go ahead of you, move away from you, back up away from you, go ahead over a stream/jump then turn and wait for you, go through a gate ahead , and more. Can you "send" your horse places on the leadline?
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post #3 of 5 Old 08-02-2011, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Levee is a yearling and the majority of our lessons include just walking around and practicing leading. We did just a few circuits at a trot. I'm usually at the barn for a good 3-4 hours a night and I've found that doing a couple 10 minute lessons over the course of a few hours is beneficial for him. For example, I groom, lead him out to graze and then spend 10 minutes working on heeding. The I graze him for a bit on a patch of grass that is surrounded by 'scary things' - lawn chairs, tables, some garbage bins. An hour or so later, he follows me into the indoor arena and we do some walking and trotting exercises. We typically walk around the arena for 15 minutes, trot for 5-10 and then walk for 15 more. If he's in a playful mood, I take him off the lead line and we play tag for a bit. Then he grazes, I groom and he's tucked in for the night.

On a lead line, he is very good. He follows me calmly through doors and gates. He is starting to back through a combination of lead line pressure and voice commands. If I point at his hindquarters and walk toward him, he shifts his bum away. If I walk away, he follows me with his muzzle at my elbow. I can spin him around in circles by approaching his rump alone, with no contact necessary.

He's actually better at moving away from me in the round pen, off a lead line. I think the majority of that is my fault, because I'm pretty uncoordinated and it's still slightly beyond me to handle a horse, lunge line and whip, while remembering to stand in just the right place to drive him forward and away and keep him moving. So for now, I'm choosing to work him without a lunge line so I don't let my bad habits and inexperience sour him against it.
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post #4 of 5 Old 08-02-2011, 02:38 PM
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It sounds like he's being worked with well and learning proper ground manners at a good age.

I honestly wouldn't worry about lunging right now at one. I would lightly introduce that more into his two's when he's older and more built in his legs and joints.

As for now, I would just walk him over cavalettis, and that should be enough for him.

I understand overly intelligent horses. I own one. They do indeed get bored very easily. With a horse like that, I'm telling you through experience DON'T overdue a session. Short, sweet and productive with them. You end up with a very sour horse, if they keep doing the same thing for thirty minutes. If they do it right once, praise them, leave it alone, and move on.

Mine is 14 now, and has calmed down considerably, and really settled into his work routine. But I still have to mix it up for him. It can be something as simple as weaving through cones to satisfy him for about five minutes. Nothing is over the top with him.

You can spread the poles all over the arena, and as you go, keep making up patterns. Introduce things like tarps and flags, to get him used to that. Get him respecting pressure to the line. You can work on bending already with some side stretches. At a year old, you have to be concerned about over working their still soft and sensitive joints and tissues, but there's still sooo much to do with them.

When you say spread out ten minute sessions- that's perfect. Again, short and sweet.

"You're just as sane as I am."~Luna Lovegood.
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post #5 of 5 Old 08-02-2011, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Tonight, I found that backing up through a door intrigues him. He's only ever gone through a door twice... once to get into the arena and once to leave... tonight, I backed him through. Wow. He didn't even hesitate, just went slowly and carefully. My BO was quite honestly shocked.

I do bending exercises with him every day, especially before we go jogging. I grab hold of his lead line with one hand and his tail with the other. Very gently, I guide his head around and then release. He's not very flexible, but we're getting there.

With him, I've found it takes three tries to cement an idea into his head. One to introduce the idea, two to teach it, three to reinforce. He learned 4 voice commands in the span of 10 minutes, simply by matching his pace to mine while I narrated what I was doing. Heh.
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