January 25, 2021

Cavaletti Sundays: Keeping it Simple

I'm trying - t-r-y-i-n-g - to structure Connor's weeks with some intention lately, and that includes making sure I'm not drilling him even when what I need myself is absolutely being drilled.

He appreciates it, I'm sure

That includes doing cavaletti and poles 1 or 2 times a week, or jumping if Mary is around. I'm not overthinking it. I'm not doing insanely complex exercises. I'm just Doing The Thing.

Yesterday I wanted to do some canter poles, and I hoped to set it to where the distances would fail miserably if I came in with too much pace and on the forehand. To do this (see my previous statement about being intentional), I measured with my new fiberglass tape reel and then texted Mary to make sure I was in the ballpark. I really have very little experience setting poles or jumps of any kind.

If I'm working on learning how to set poles for the first time in my life, I'm not going to learn how to do it wrong. I'm going to use this AND pace off the distance until I really get a feel for pacing off the distance.

I used my barnmate's triangle as the first pole because I'm lazy, and then had a two stride to a one stride. Just as I hoped, when we came in all disorganized to the first one, Connor took the opportunity to overachieve with his new "super comfortable jumping thanks" body. It felt a lot more wild than he ended up making it look in the video.

Where we started

So next it was okay, how do I collect the canter without pulling? And you know what, for the first time, I feel like I'm starting to get this concept. Sit up, keep the leg, and follow a little less with my seat. And try to half halt, although that concept is still a work in progress for me on Connor (but not on Aeres, who has the lightest easiest half halt on the planet).

Where we ended up

All in all, it wasn't perfect, but we both learned something and it was a good change of pace.


  1. I love setting poles for specific distances! There is a great book called 101 Jumping Exercises that is actually at least half pole exercises, with measurements and everything. It's great if you're looking for some specifics and some more variety.

    1. Years ago one of the teens at my barn set up one of the exercises from this book (it was actually reprinted in Practical Horseman I think, but it was from the book) for her prelim-level horse to do some footwork. She misread a distance though and had her ground poles set at 6' instead of 9' for canter strides. She was so angry and frustrated (lol teenager) that her horse was struggling so much with this pretty basic exercise and then was even angrier when I pointed out that she'd goofed on reading comprehension. Ahhhh teenagers.

  2. I miss doing any poles or cavallettis my heart desire.

  3. I still bust out the tape measure for any distance shorter than three strides. And ALWAYS for trot poles. I can't seem to walk those accurately...
    Sounds like fun, and it looks like Connor is enjoying himself too!

  4. That first time through was very extra! :D