Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Gymnastic Tuesday

If you've been following my blog for a while, you may remember Gymnastic Sundays from a couple of years ago.  The instructor I was working with at the time offered these amazing cavaletti/ground pole lessons every Sunday during the winter months, and I was able to take quite a few of those lessons.  They were a ton of fun, in part because of the instructor's personality, in part because of how challenging they were, and in part because I watched Nimo's confidence really improve during the time that we did them.

Unfortunately, my current instructor does not do work over cavaletti because it isn't really part of the Science of Motion methodology, but the trainer that works out at the barn where I board Nimo does often set exercises up.  They are simpler than what I did with my last instructor, but still fun and Nimo will actually seek them out in the arena so he can go over the poles:)

The barn instructor is on break for the holiday, but before she left, she set up a cavaletti/ground pole pattern, along with a few jumps and a small dressage arena so her students could continue to work on their skills in between lessons.  I thought I would share the cavaletti pattern because I've had a ton of fun doing it with Nimo, and it's easy enough that even beginners can do it, but there is enough to it that more advanced horses could enjoy it as well.

Note: The x's denote cavaletti  and the straight lines are for ground poles.  But you could easily adjust the height to match your horse's capability.
The red and blue sets of poles are set at trot distance while the yellow poles are set for canter.  However, if your horse isn't up to cantering the yellow poles, you can still set them at canter distance and trot them (the horse will just do a stride of trot in between each set of two poles instead of the "bounce" effect you get if you canter them).  According to Ingrid and Reiner Klimke's Cavaletti book, trot distance is 4 feet 2 inches to 5 feet, while the canter distance is 11 feet.  However, depending on your horse's stride, you may need to adjust.  I've actually been able to trot Nimo over canter poles as if they were trot poles, which means instead of doing a stride in the middle of each set of poles, he did them in stride.  I'm not sure that every horse would be capable of that, but Nimo is big and trotting is really his thing.

Anyway, if you're like me and looking for ways to add variety to your schooling sessions this winter, this exercise hopefully gives you some ideas:)  Happy schooling!

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