Friday, February 1, 2013

Fun With Cavaletti

Yesterday, Brett set up poles in the arena; some on the ground, some on trash cans, some close together, some far apart.  He worked with Mufasa on some sensory stuff and trotting over the poles.  Mufasa was a good boy, trying to do everything, licking and chewing when he got it right.  Brett said Mufasa did a lot of licking and chewing. 

Flash is slowing down and on some days even easy work is an effort for him.  He is still firmly in alpha position with the herd, monitoring the comings and goings of the residents on our street and in our community. 

This morning before work, I worked with Winston.  I didn't want to do anything too intense because Gayle comes up for lessons tomorrow and I don't want him tired.  Since the poles were already in the arena, I set up some cavaletti. 

I set two poles on the ground toward the middle of the arena, so we would cross them on the diagonal whenever we changed direction.  Winston walked over them without blinking.

On one long side I set up two poles, a few inches off the ground, spaced quite far apart.  The object of the raised poles is to get the horse to lift his hocks, creating some suspension, while lifting and stretching across his back.  Winston did very well with lifting his legs and not quite as well with stretching over his back.  Eventually, he relaxed and stopped hollowing his back but it took awhile.

On the opposite longs side of the arena, I set up two poles closer together.  This required him to think about where his feet were and to adjust his stride.  No problemo.

After he was working well at trot in both directions, we picked up the canter.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to go over the raised poles at a canter.  Winston is quite the jumper, he was started as a jumper, and he has talent.  But I'm 52 and my bones break easily and my balance isn't what it was when I was a teenager jumping bareback over logs.  So, we picked up an easy canter and rode to the inside of the poles.  Winston tried as hard as he could to go to the jumps.  He leaned, he tried to turn, he desperately wanted to go over them.  So, we did.  Just the ones that were spaced far apart.  He jumped them clean and neat.  It was really fun.  I felt safe.  He didn't get silly at all.

I think we'll do this more often. 


  1. Winston and you look great in these photos. Nice exercises.

  2. REALLY great photos! I love the first one, you both look terrific :)
    Your cavaletti work sounds like a lot of fun, AND you went over little jumps - well done!
    Sorry to hear Flash is slowing down some more, maybe its the cold damp weather you are having there & he will improve again once it warms up.

  3. He certainly knows how to pick up those feet! That close-up shot is cool.

    I agree that those are some great cross-training activities to add to your training plan.

  4. Lovely relaxation in the canter shot. "It was meant to be."

  5. Me thinks you've found the job he loves!! We do the same types of work with agility dogs (especially the big ones) to help them learn they HAVE back feet and to get them to understand more how their body works.

  6. I just love that you let him jump! You look great on the horse.


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