Looking to add some new things to our flatwork sessions, we have been doing a set of four or five raised cavalettis at a trot, a line of ground poles and doing different striding in between, and little ground pole courses. Any other good exercises to add?
The first one, is one I learnt from an Olympic Eventer when she came to my area for a clinic. You can start out with ground poles, and then eventually up them to cavaletti's and then up them to actual fences.
The key is control, outside aids and keeping your horse under you. You can also add more aspects to the ground poles after as well.
Here is an example - this was taken eons ago, this is my Husbands horse Zeus and I, our first clinic with Dorothy Crowell...
My trainer actually has had us doing a lot of cavaletti/ground pole work with all our horses, from the greenies to the intermediate/advanced eventers.
Basically she has set up something similar to this (pretend that I have some drawing skill with lines) >
The green poles are set at, basically, walk distance (trust me, you don't walk them) and the red poles are set slightly longer than regular trot poles. The blue poles are set on a 15m circle angle.
First just start off going over the red poles. The goal here is to maintain a consistent relaxed contact and to encourage your horse to really lift through their back, push from behind, and lengthen their stride through the poles while maintaining their self carriage. Do them both ways until you feel this consistently.
Then go through the green poles on their own. Here you want to achieve a shorter, more collected stride while again maintaining the self carriage and impulsion from the hind end as well as the relaxed connection through the horse's mouth. When the horse has started working consistently through these you can start to string the red and green poles together.
Start off in the easier direction of green > red poles. You want to achieve the shorter stride BEFORE reaching the cavalettis, just as you want to have your horse moving forward into a more lengthened stride BEFORE they get to the red poles. Basically you're working on a) adjustability, b) consistency, c) suppleness. After you've gone through green > red several times successfully you should go ahead and do the red > green. Keep in mind this is harder. You have to maintain the impulsion as you shorten/collect as well as maintain the self carriage and lightness. If you need to make a small circle in between that's fine too, just try to work towards straight from one to the other.
The circle ones you can add in after going through them a few times on their own. The key is to keep your circle consistent. Don't come into the poles on an angle. Just ride your circle as if the poles aren't there. Your horse will figure out where to put their feet. This is a great exercise for nervous horses or horses that worry easily (we have a few of those) because they can stress themselves out before or after and they'll just keep coming back around to it. Eventually they get into the rhythm and relax into the exercise.
You can string all of the sets together in multiple ways. You can add in 10m canter circles before and after sets of poles for more advanced horses, as one idea, as long as you trot through the poles, since they're at trot distances.
Check out 101 jumping exercises for horse and rider..I bought it used on amazon.com for like $15 and it's sooooo worth it! It has alot of good groundwork/cavalleti exercises as well as jumping and coursework. Posted via Mobile Device
this is so simple just to get a horse to pick up his legs I geuss it makes them look pretty lol I try this with horses sometimes and they get pretty high hock action lol at this excercise umm you can set up a circle I geuss well this has nothing to do with what you probably want but I use like ground pole and I make a L and try to back up through it lol it is fun cause it is hard and you can do fun stuff like trot it and then walk it and it is good for like pleasure horses because most time they ask you to back up
1) Start with one pole on the ground, walk the horse over it, calmly with the head down, then build up to seven poles at the lowest height.
2) Raise the 4th pole to medium height (6-8”) and walk the horse through 3-4 times
3) Raise the 2nd pole to med height and move the first pole 10 cm (4”) closer to the 2nd
4) Walk through 3-4 times, or until the horse negotiates the course calmly with a lowered head.
5) Raise the 6th pole to med height and bring the 7th pole 10 cm closer to it. Repeat #4.
6) Raise the remaining cavalettis one at a time, walking the horse through them each time, that is raise the 5th, 3rd, 7th and the first, keeping the spacing the same.
7) With more experienced horses, repeat the above steps raising the poles from med height to maximum height.
This will require the horse to concentrate and consciously put out the effort to move his legs correctly.
Another one I do sometimes when my horse like starts to act up
Set up like a figure eight and walk the poles do like a couple cavelettis then like a few strides and like a ground pole or like make up a pattern like trot to the cavelettis walk over the line of cavelettis go to this then that it is quite fun