Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Cavelletti 101"

" Cavelletti 101"

This past weekend we accomplished some good basic training over cavelletti. One single pole on the long side and three in succession down the opposite long side were set up.  We mostly got the distance in correctly, although my eye seems to need some reeducating.   It’s been several years since I actually had to find the correct distance to a jump, but all in all I didn’t do too badly.  Except for this one time when we got in very close, Dusty trotted the first pole and jumped the last two.  I can’t blame her for that one -- it was my fault.  I’m sure she thinks she jumped a huge oxer and so, of course, an unauthorized canter was in order to show how proud she was of herself.  The thing I’m most pleased about though is the fact that, when asked, she came right back to trot and was willing to listen to my cues, making her pace to the cavelletti more easily adjustable.

The exercises Dusty performed -- and I use the word performed in the most glowing of terms -- seemed so effortless for her now that she is listening more and fighting less.  We did intermittent sitting trot and rising trot on circles and serpentines with a few figure eights thrown in for good measure on our way to tackling her gigantic trot jumps. I can’t call them mere poles or she wouldn’t think it was challenging enough for a horse of her caliber.  In order to mix it up and make the lesson more interesting for her and also to keep her from anticipating the next step, I think this form of training works best for her.  Dusty is definitely one of those horses who believes (knows?) she’s smarter than her rider. In my opinion, cavelletti work in the garden of  ‘arena of good and evil’ made use of her clever mind and helped her natural talent for learning to surface.

Ending on a good note for the weekend: Dusty looked and felt like a superstar as she rounded her back and neck over the last set of cavelletti, came on the bit with a forward pace and placed her feet correctly. The feeling was just right so we ended on a good note. It doesn’t take her long to learn the correct way of doing things, provided you can find a way to make the lesson genuinely appealing to her delicate sensibilities.
As a result, we’re on our way to more motivating lessons, and hopefully Dusty is having as much fun as I am.

Until next time

Quote for Today
It is the difficult horses that have the most to give you

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