March 12, 2018

Playing with Cavaletti

When I got to the barn on Saturday, there was a jump exercise left over in the arena from one of the eventers gearing up for Heartland.  I thought it might be fun to treat it like a cavaletti exercise within my Dressage ride, so I modified the second element from a tiny oxer to a tiny crossrail.

This line was set up for a big moving warmblood gelding and the distances were wrong for Connor, which I actually liked.  There was no "right" for us in this exercise: we would either have to shorten or lengthen the canter - AKA what is really hard for us right now.
Side view

In the canter lately, I've continued to work on following forward with my arms better, as well as sitting more on the outside hind and using my seat to encourage him not to dump so far onto his forehand at the end of each stride, a la this Mary Wanless video my trainer sent me.

The girl on the left is basically me.

The coolest part about the exercise didn't really happen within the line itself, although it rode really well for us in both the short and long variations.  The coolest parts came in between.  I've never had great adjustability in the canter, and most of the time when we were jumping in the past, I'd have to either bring him back down to the trot to regroup the canter after a line like this, or cowboy up through the line a second time with a splatty canter.

December of 2016.  Splat splat splat SCRAMBLE jump WHEEEEEE
Imagine how cool it felt on Saturday then, when I was able to land, ask him to put himself back together, feel himself actually put himself back together, and proceed to do the line a second time with a quality canter.  It felt like he lifted underneath me and shifted his weight back rather than running along strung out like we were both used to in the past.

Equisense totally backed me up on that too.  13.5cm elevation in the canter is 1-2cm higher than our usual average.
For some reason, I can feel the inside hind better when I make the turn to approach a line like this too.  In between doing the line both directions, I played with counter canter and boy did he get straight.  We actually did the 20m half counter canter circle from 2-2 for the first time in its entirety on Saturday!

Bottom line: we need more cavaletti in our lives.  Super productive ride!


  1. Cavalletti are so awesome for just working on things. I love all the breakthroughs you've been experiencing lately!

  2. Fun! At all the camps we went to last year and this year, Lisa did not change the stride for the ponies. Everyone did the same length. It is a great change of pace.